CBC Digital Archives

Canadian marries into British royalty

Luxurious white bridal gowns, horse-drawn carriages, princes and princesses preparing to live "happily ever after" — for fans of the British Royal Family, there's nothing quite as thrilling as a grand royal wedding. As the spring nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton approach, CBC Digital Archives looks back at British royal weddings since 1947.

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When Montreal's Autumn Kelly weds Queen Elizabeth's grandson Peter Phillips, she'll become part of Britain's Royal Family. "It's a real fairy tale," says Suzanne Hermann, manager of Bourbon Street West in Pointe Claire, Que., a bar where the bride-to-be worked as a waitress just seven years earlier. In this 2008 CBC Radio clip, Hermann describes how the couple met and gives a glimpse into Kelly's unpretentious personality: "She's a very pretty girl, really down to earth...just a really, really nice, salt-of-the-earth type girl."
• Autumn Kelly and her twin brother Chris were born in Montreal on May 3, 1978.
  • Peter Phillips is Queen Elizabeth's grandson, and the son of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips.

• Kelly and Phillips met at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in 2003. They announced their engagement in July 2007.

• In a highly publicized move, Kelly converted from Catholicism to Anglicanism prior to the wedding. If she had remained Catholic, Phillips would have lost his place in the line of succession. Phillips is currently 11th in line to the throne.

• Before the wedding, much of the British media praised the Canadian bride-to-be for her humble personality and fresh-faced good looks. But a few tabloids made a fuss about her "working-class" roots -- her mother is a hairdresser, her brother works in construction, and she has an uncle who used to own a strip club. In Hello! magazine, Kelly defended her family: "At the end of the day, my family works for a living. They are not all doctors and lawyers, but I don't see anything wrong with what my brother, a builder, does. They all have jobs; they support their families and they are nice, normal people. If someone from a newspaper thinks that is not good enough... well, that is their issue, not mine."

• The couple married on May 17, 2008 at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. It was a fairly small wedding by royal standards, with 300 guests in attendance. Approximately 70 of the guests were friends and family of the bride who had travelled from Canada to attend.

• The Phillipses welcomed their first child, a girl named Savannah, on Dec. 29, 2010. She is the Queen's first great-grandchild and is 12th in line to the throne. The child has dual citizenship, Canadian and British. 

Medium: Radio
Program: Homerun
Broadcast Date: May 14, 2008
Guest(s): Suzanne Hermann
Host: Bernard St. Laurent
Duration: 4:22
Photo: AP Photo/Sang Tan/pool

Last updated: September 16, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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