Dreaming of marrying a prince? Beware. It’ll turn into a ...

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Dreaming of marrying a prince? Beware. It’ll turn into a nightmare

As the latest UK royal dramas show, perhaps it’d be better if royalty just started marrying each other again

Anna Tyzack

For Autumn Kelly and Peter Phillips, it was love at first sight.

They met at the 2003 Montreal Grand Prix, where Phillips was working for Williams Racing, an encounter he described as “fate”. Only several weeks later did Autumn, a Canadian management consultant and McGill alumni, discover that her new boyfriend was, in fact, the Queen’s grandson and, at the time, 11th in line to the throne. “Oh, Autumn! What have you got yourself into?” exclaimed her mother, Kathleen – but Autumn was not to be put off. Soon, she was living with him in Kensington, and in a cottage on the Princess Royal’s Gatcombe estate in Gloucestershire.

When Peter proposed a few years later, after seeking permission from Autumn’s father, Brian, an electricity company executive, the blushing bride-to-be said: “I looked horrible in my wellies with wet hair. I said ‘Yes’ straight away, though.” What could possibly go wrong? Yet, almost 12 years after their wedding in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, the Phillips have announced that they are separating. The queen, who has always had a soft spot for her eldest grandson and his pretty Canadian wife, is said to be devastated, while the rest of the UK is in shock...

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