LONDON: Queen Eliza­beth’s oldest grandchild Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn have separated and will divorce, a spokesman said on Tuesday, piling more misery on Britain’s most famous family.

Phillips, 42, and his Canadian wife Autumn will share custody of their two daughters and both remain in Gloucestershire, southwest England.

The split comes after Phil­­lips’ cousin Prince Harry and his US wife Meghan quit their royal roles last month in search of financial independence, and moved to Canada.

Queen Elizabeth’s second son Prince Andrew stepped back from all royal duties in November following a public outcry over his friendship with US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Phillips is the son of the monarch’s daughter Princess Anne and her first husband Mark Phillips. He is the eldest of her eight grandchildren.

He has no royal title and has never carried out duties on behalf of the royal family and so does not receive a public income. He was born fifth in line to the throne but is now 15th.

The royal spokesman said the couple informed the queen and their families last year.

“They had reached the conclusion that this was the best course of action for their two children and ongoing friendship,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020