Peter and Autumn Phillips intend to become neighbors after the divorce, according to friends who yesterday denied that their breakup was linked to “Megxit”.
The queen discovered the separation of her nephew from his 12-year-old Canadian wife last fall, more than three months before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they would step down from royal royalty to move to North America.
Last night, sources close to Mr and Mrs Phillips insisted that Autumn had no intention of returning to his native Montreal, revealing that the couple still live together in the family home in Gloucestershire and plan to “live nearby” a once the divorce has been finalized.
“The idea that this is somehow related to Megxit is ridiculous,” said one insider. “Autumn has no intention of returning to Canada. He is very happy in Gloucestershire and wants their daughters Savannah and Isla to be as close as possible to Peter and his family. They still live together and intend to remain nearby. “
The couple currently live next to Peter’s sister Zara and her husband Mike Tindall, a former English rugby player, at Aston Farm on Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park estate. Savannah, nine and Isla, seven, are described as “incredibly close” to Tindalls’ daughters, Mia, six, and Lena, one, while Anne is said to “dowry” over her granddaughters. “Autumn is close to Zadar, the cousins are all riding together and obviously they got used to grandmother who lives on the street, so it would be a huge key to move them,” added the source.
There are a number of converted cottages and barns on the 730-acre estate near Minchinhampton, which was bought by the queen for Anne and her then husband Mark Phillips in 1976 and is thought to be easily accommodated in autumn on a nearby property. .
Confirming the split yesterday (Tuesday), a statement issued on behalf of the couple, who married in the chapel of St George, in Windsor Castle in May 2008, read: “After informing HM The Queen and members of both families there ‘last year, Peter and Autumn together agreed to separate.
“They had concluded that this was the best way for their two children to act and friendship continues.
“The decision to divorce and share custody was made after many months of discussion and although sad, it is friendly. The couple’s first priority will remain the continued well-being and education of their wonderful daughters. “
The statement added that: “Both families were naturally sad about the announcement, but fully supported Peter and Autumn in the joint decision to be the parents of their children.”
A source said that Peter, 42, had been “blinded” by the separation, saying “It wasn’t a surprise for him – they got to the point where they both decided it wasn’t working.”
Another insider suggested that financial pressures may have contributed to the breakdown, after Peter was forced to form ties last year with SEL (UK) Ltd, the sports management company he helped create in 2012. The company was paid £ 750,000 to organize a street party to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.
Peter was accused last month of “cashing in” his real status after appearing in an advertisement on Chinese television.
A spokesman confirmed that Peter was “pursuing other projects”, in addition to continuing as director of the Festival of British Eventing, an equestrian event held in Gatcombe every August.
Meanwhile, Autumn, 41, has embarked on his career path after creating Super Cars Great Britain in 2015, offering guided tours for luxury car owners, as well as his consulting firm and a company that organizes pheasants and partridges.
A friend said, “They don’t get public money, so they had to go out and earn a living like anyone else. They faced some financial pressures. If Peter had a lot of money he wouldn’t have done the milk concert. He needed a good payday, especially now that divorce is on the cards. “