Peter Phillips, the queen’s eldest nephew, will separate from his Canadian wife Autumn, who emerged Monday evening.
The queen was said to be “upset” by the news, which follows a few turbulent months for the royal family.
Mr. Phillips, 42, the son of the Royal Princess and Captain Mark Phillips, was flabbergasted when his 12-year-old wife told him he wanted to split up, according to The Sun.
The couple confirmed that they separated in a statement Tuesday morning, saying it was “the best way for their two children to act and friendship continues”.
A statement released for them says, “After informing HM The Queen and members of both families last year, Peter and Autumn agreed to split up.
“They had concluded that this was the best course of action for their two children and the ongoing friendship. 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 Savannah (nine) and Isla (seven).
“Both families were naturally sad about the announcement, but fully supported Peter and Autumn in the joint decision of their children’s co-parents.
“Both Peter and Autumn stayed in Gloucestershire to raise their two children where they were housed for a number of years.
“Peter and Autumn have asked for privacy and compassion for their children as the family continues to adapt to these changes.”
The Sun newspaper quoted a friend saying “Peter is absolutely devastated by this and has not seen him arrive.
“He thought he was happily married and had the perfect family with two adorable daughters. But now he is in shock.
“Autumn is a wonderful wife and mother and a very intelligent woman, but for some time now she has been telling her friends that there have been problems.
“It’s the last thing she (the queen) needs after all her recent problems and you have a feeling that the royal family is falling apart a little.”
The 93-year-old monarch is said to be very fond of Ms. Phillips, 41, and made a rare public appearance alongside her at the annual Highland Games Gathering in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, in September.
The couple are not expected to attend the Queen’s annual Christmas dinner at Buckingham Palace in December or the church service on Christmas day in Sandringham. In January, Phillips was pictured visiting Queen Norfolk’s estate without his wife.
A friend claimed that Ms. Phillips may wish to follow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to her native Canada.
But sources insisted that no other party was involved in the division.
In the event of a divorce, Phillips will be the queen’s first nephew to do so.
The couple have two children, Savannah, nine and Isla, seven, who have united Canadian-British citizenship.
They met during the Montreal Grand Prix in 2003, where they both worked. At the time the then autumn Kelly, who was born in the city, did not realize that he was the queen’s nephew.
She was acclaimed for being a “normal” girl who had attended state school; the daughter of a hairdresser whose twin brother, Chris, was a bricklayer.
After graduating from McGill University in Montreal with a degree in East Asian studies, she worked as a model and bartender.
Raised Roman Catholic, she renounced her faith just before their marriage so that the future husband could keep his place in succession.
The couple married at St George’s Chapel in Windsor in 2008, but wooed controversy when they sold their wedding photos to Hello! magazine for £ 500,000 reported. Palace aides made it known at the time that the queen was not happy with the decision.
Liberal Democratic MP Norman Lamb called the move “a serious error of judgment”.
After the wedding, the couple lived in Hong Kong, where Phillips worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The queen became a great grandmother for the first time when Savannah was born in December 2010.
The couple tended to avoid the spotlight, living discreetly in a cottage on Princess Royal’s Gatcombe Park Estate, not far from Mr. Phillips’ sister, Zara, and her husband Mike Tindall. Neither Peter nor Zadar have been awarded HRH degrees and do not perform real tasks
But Mr. Phillips attracted headlines recently when it emerged that he had swapped his royal ties to advertise milk in China.
He now runs his own sports event management company, which was paid £ 750,000 in 2017 to organize an event on the Queen’s 90th birthday.