Just as the dust seems to be settling on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping back from their royal duties, the royal family has announced another big change. According to a statement released by the royal family, Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn Kelly are divorcing after 12 years of marriage. Phillips is Queen Elizabeth’s eldest grandson and the son of Princess Anne. He’s not a working royal, but is 15th in line for the British throne and the first of the Queen's grandchildren to divorce.
According to the statement, the couple had “reached the conclusion that this was the best course of action for their two children and ongoing friendship.” The couple didn’t cite a specific reason for the split, only that “the decision to divorce and share custody came about after many months of discussions and although sad, is an amicable one.” As for their children, the statement says they intend to share custody and continue co-parenting. “The couple’s first priority will remain the continued well being and upbringing of their wonderful daughters Savannah and Isla,” their spokesperson wrote. “Both families were naturally sad at the announcement, but fully supportive of Peter and Autumn in the joint decision to co-parent their children.”
This is a sad ending to what was seemingly a fairytale love story. The couple first met in Canada in 2003. Kelly was working at an event for the Montreal Grand Prix when she met Phillips, who was working at the event in a marketing capacity for the William Formula One team. Their connection was immediate, despite Kelly having no idea that Phillips was part of the royal family until she caught sight of him in a TV show about Prince William's 21st birthday. The couple maintained a long-distance relationship until Kelly took a job in England that would bring them closer together.
After four years of dating, they announced their engagement in July 2007 and were wed at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in May 2008. Over the years, the couple managed to maintain a relatively low-key lifestyle as Phillips is not one of the working royals, so they’re understandably hoping to avoid the spotlight as they go through this process. "Peter and Autumn have requested privacy and compassion for their children while the family continues to adapt to these changes," read the statement.
Here’s hoping this transition goes as smoothly and painlessly as possible for both.