We here at Canadian Living Moms love Kate Middleton. But we really love our Canadian Kate Middleton. Yep, you read that right, there’s a Canadian commoner who fell in love with a prince, just like Kate did.
Autumn Kelly was born in Montreal, Quebec and went to McGill to get her Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. One day she met the Queen’s eldest grandchild, Peter Phillips, who is the son of the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne. Their love story unfolds from there. Meet Autumn Phillips, our Canadian Kate Middleton.
The secret prince
Autumn and Peter first met in 2003 at the Canadian Grand Prix and hit it off immediately. They began dating but Autumn didn’t know that Peter was royal—yes, this seems like the typical plot of a romantic comedy. Peter and his sister Zara do not have royal titles as their mother chose not to give them to her children. So it’s really not surprising that Autumn didn’t know who Peter was. Autumn revealed in an interview that she discovered Peter was royal while watching a show on the royals. She saw Peter standing next to Prince William and after a quick internet search realized her seemingly normal boyfriend was actually royalty.
A wedding with a sacrifice
The couple continued to date for many years, with Autumn moving to London to be with Peter. There were many signs their relationship was serious, including Autumn attending the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations and going on a cruise with the royal family. Royal girlfriends aren’t invited to family events until they’re engaged, so obviously both Peter and the Queen were fond of Autumn despite her not officially being a part of the Firm.
On July 28, 2007, Peter and Autumn made it clear how serious their relationship was by announcing their engagement. Peter had planned to propose on a romantic hot air balloon ride, but thanks to the pouring rain the ride got cancelled and he instead proposed on walk in the rain—how very British!
But before the couple could get married, there was one slight problem. Autumn was Catholic and Peter couldn’t remain in line for the throne if he married a Catholic—doesn’t this seem like a plot point from a Jane Austen novel? Weeks before the couple’s wedding Autumn gave up her religion and joined the Church of England so Peter could maintain his place in the line of secession—he’s currently 12th in line.
The couple married on May 17, 2008 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The bride wore a white satin dress with a lace bolero designed by Sassi Holford, a British bridal designer. Typical of a royal wedding, the couple left the church in a horse drawn carriage. And as a nod to Autumn’s Canadian heritage, the couple’s wedding cake had maple leafs on it. Fun fact, the couple’s wedding was actually the first time Kate met the Queen—meeting the Queen is a huge step for royal girlfriends and boyfriends.
Two new maple leafs
Peter and Autumn are now the parents of two beautiful little girls. Savannah is three and Isla is almost two. Their daughters are 13th and 14th in line to the throne, making them the closest a Canadian has ever been to the throne. Both the girls were baptized in the Windsor family’s christening gown—the same gown Prince George wore for his christening. I’m sure the girls will be excellent playmates for their cousin George. Little Savannah is already quite a fan of his dog Lupo as she was photographed playing with him and Kate back in 2012.
I know Kate is one of Canadian Living Moms favourite Moms, but Autumn wins for me as my favourite royal mom. Have you seen her try to wrestle a hat onto little Savannah. That’s such a typical mom moment, where your kid just doesn’t feel how frigid it is outside and refuses to bundle up. And isn’t it crazy how much Savannah looks like her great granny the Queen?
A royal touch
Peter and Autumn may not be the future King and Queen like William and Kate, but they do have a special relationship with the Queen and Prince Philip, even going on theatre dates with them. Peter and Autumn were even asked to ride in the Queen’s carriage in 2013 at Ascot. This is a privilege that hasn’t even been bestowed on Kate.
I absolutely adore Peter and Autumn, they seem like a very normal couple living a rather royal life. Frankly I love them even more than Will and Kate. You can’t beat a love story with a hidden identity and a royal sacrifice. And a maple leaf touch is an added bonus.
Who is your favourite royal?
Photos courtesy of Keystone Press.