Almost a year and a half after announcing their separation, Peter and Autumn Phillips have finalised their divorce.
Earlier this week the former couple (both 43) released an official statement revealing that all the financial aspects of their split have been resolved and approved by the court.
“While this is a sad day for Peter and Autumn, they continue to put the wellbeing and upbringing of their wonderful daughters, Savannah (10) and Isla (9), first and foremost,” the statement read.
“Both Peter and Autumn are pleased to have resolved matters amicably, with the children firmly at the forefront of those thoughts and decisions.”
Peter, son of Queen Elizabeth’s daughter, Princess Anne (70), and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips (72), is the first royal of his generation to divorce.
Although he’s the monarch’s eldest grandchild, Peter doesn’t have a royal title as Anne and Mark apparently rejected the queen’s offer of a title when he was born.
When Peter and Autumn’s separation was announced in February last year, sources close to the couple described their split as “something of a conscious uncoupling”.
“There’s no acrimony. Sadly, they’ve grown apart. They’ve been having discussions about their marriage for some time and the family have been aware that things haven’t been going well since last autumn.”
Peter and his Canadian-born wife were last seen together in public when they joined the queen and Peter’s uncle Prince Charles at the annual Highland Games Gathering in Braemar, Scotland, in September 2019.
They didn’t join the royal family for the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham in Norfolk, England, that year and Peter was seen going to church on the estate on his own in January 2020.
Peter met Autumn Kelly in 2003 at the Formula One Grand Prix in Montreal, her hometown. Peter was part of the marketing team for Williams Racing and Autumn worked in the BMW hospitality tent as a “Budweiser girl”.
There was an immediate attraction, but Peter kept his blue-blooded connections under wraps.
The pair started a relationship and Autumn travelled to the UK a few weeks after they met. She only discovered her new beau was the queen’s grandson when she was watching a TV show about his cousin Prince William’s 21st birthday and a photo of Peter flashed on screen.
Her mother, Kitty, who was sitting beside her, reportedly said to her daughter, “What have you got yourself into?”
Despite the shock, Autumn decided to pursue the relationship and even accepted a job that would take her to England permanently.
After four years together, Peter popped the question and their engagement was announced on 28 July 2007. The couple tied the knot at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on 17 May 2008 in front of 300 guests, including the queen and Prince Philip, Anne and Peter’s cousin Prince Harry.
Autumn wore a gown by Sassi Holford and the Festoon Tiara, which was lent to her by her mother-in-law. Among her six bridesmaids was Peter’s sister, Zara.
The women have gone on to form a close relationship, and during their marriage Autumn and Peter lived close to Zara and her family on Aston Farm, which adjoins Anne’s country estate, Gatcombe Park, in Gloucestershire, England.
Palace insiders say the breakdown of Autumn and Peter’s marriage was particularly painful for the queen, who enjoys a close relationship with her eldest granddaughter-in-law.
“Autumn is a favourite of the queen and I’m sure Her Majesty will be upset by this,” a source said last year.
But despite their divorce, Autumn is still very much part of the family and, according to a family friend, will continue to work closely with both Zara (40) and her husband, retired rugby player Mike Tindall (42), whose celebrity golfing events she helps organise.
“She sees Mike and Zara every day and that won’t change. They’re all close,” the source said.
“The family are sad but supportive of the situation. As for Peter and Autumn, they’re taking it step by step.”
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, thesun.co.uk, vanityfair.com, express.co.uk, bbc.co.uk