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Peter and Autumn Phillips give birth to the Queen’s first great-grandchild

Posted Dec 30 2010 8:55pm

Peter and Autumn Phillips on their wedding day with their parents and grandparents

After years of a PR drought–and general public indifference–the royal family’s press officers must be jumping for joy at the unbelievable streak of excellent publicity The Firm is having thanks to the Queen’s grandchildren: first Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton, then Zara Phillips’s engagement to rugby player Mike Tindall, and now her brother Peter Phillips has had a baby girl, the Queen’s first great-grandchild, with his wife, Canadian-born Autumn Phillips. C’mon, Harry: show us what you’ve got!


Peter is the Queen’s oldest grandchild, as well as, reportedly, her favorite–the baby’s name hasn’t been confirmed yet; according to the Express’s royal reporter Richard Palmer , it took Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex 5 days to name their son James. Baby Girl Phillips is now 12th in line for the throne, knocking Zara Phillips down one slot.

If you’re not familiar with Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly’s courtship, it’s almost as much a fairy-tale as that of William and Kate!


Autumn is Canadian, and met Peter Phillips in Montreal in 2003 at the Canadian Grand Prix. He was there working for BMW; she was an events organizer. As soon as he met her, he was smitten –although he mistakenly thought her name was Megan, and humiliated himself by calling her that–and minutes later invited Autumn and her friends to the post-event party. Coincidentally, Autumn, who was still at university, had been offered a job in England that very day and had plans to move to London.

Now, here’s the good part: Peter and Autumn dated for several months before she discovered–while idly watching a documentary on Prince William while at her parents’ house–that her boyfriend Peter was actually the grandson of the Queen of England. How very “The Prince and Me“! (Her mother’s response that night: “Oh, Autumn, what have you got yourself into?”)


A few housekeeping details that are peculiar to the royal family: After Peter proposed, Autumn had to make the decision whether she would convert from Catholicism to Anglicanism so that Peter wouldn’t lose his place in the succession to the throne. (She decided to convert.) Thanks to the Act of Settlement 1701 , which is incredibly still on the books, British Royals in line for the throne are forbidden from marrying Catholics. Can you believe it?

Also, in case you’re wondering why Peter doesn’t have a title, his mother The Princess Anne asked the Queen upon his birth not to grant him an HRH–or, in fact, any title. His father Captain Mark Phillips is a commoner who refused a title from the Queen upon his marriage to The Princess Anne, so Peter didn’t automatically inherit a title–even though his mother is the daughter of a monarch, which is why she gets the “The” in front of her name. Still, the Queen has the power to grant titles at will, and if Anne had decided she wanted it, Peter and his sister Zara would have titles.

Peter is the first legitimate grandchild of a monarch in over 500 years not to have a title.

Phew! I’m exhausted now. It’s all so confusing.

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