Lady Amelia Windsor walks the runway at a Dolce & Gabbana fashion show in Milan, Italy. Picture: Victor Boyko/Getty Images
Lady Amelia Windsor walks the runway at a Dolce & Gabbana fashion show in Milan, Italy. Picture: Victor Boyko/Getty Images

The hidden lives of low-key royals

If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking for some inspiration on how to live a low-key life away from the royal family, they need not look very far.

Many of Prince Harry's aunts, uncles and cousins have been living relatively private lives for years, carving out their own identities and careers despite their royal lineage.

Two of the best examples are Princess Anne's children Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall who, thanks to their mother's gender, were both born "commoners".

British royal titles are only passed down through the male line, so neither Peter nor Zara were entitled to the rank of His or Her Royal Highness when they were born.

The Queen reportedly offered the children titles following their births but was turned down by Anne and her now ex-husband Captain Mark Phillips, who liked the idea of raising them outside the royal bubble.

At 38, Zara is now a champion equestrian who won a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012. She also earns money as an ambassador for luxury brands, including Rolex and Land Rover.

Her most recent job, however, has been as a director for the prestigious Cheltenham Racecourse, near Gloucester.

She and her husband Mike Tindall, a former English rugby player, live nearby at Princess Anne's idyllic Gatcombe Park estate in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Tindall, who also reportedly earns a six-figure salary, married Zara in 2011, and together they have two children, Mia, 5, and Lena, 1.

Neither of the girls have royal titles.

 

Zara and daughters Mia and Lena at the Magic Millions sales. Picture: Luke Marsden
Zara and daughters Mia and Lena at the Magic Millions sales. Picture: Luke Marsden

Peter Phillips, 41, also doesn't work for the royal family.

He is currently the managing director of SEL UK, a sports and entertainment agency, but has previously worked for Jaguar, a Formula One racing team, and the Bank of Scotland.

He met his wife, Autumn Kelly, at the Montreal Grand Prix in 2003 where she'd been working in corporate hospitality.

She famously only learned his true identity while watching TV with her mother, who exclaimed: "Oh Autumn, what have you got yourself into!"

 

Peter and Autumn Phillips at the Trooping of the Colour in 2018. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Peter and Autumn Phillips at the Trooping of the Colour in 2018. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

 

Autumn was unaware Peter was a royal when they met. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Autumn was unaware Peter was a royal when they met. Picture: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Autumn worked as a bartender to put herself through university, where she earned a bachelor's degree of East Asian studies, and has since worked as a model, actress and management consultant.

The pair own an apartment in London but also spend weekends at Gatcombe. They have two children together, Savannah, 9, and Isla, 7, who also don't hold royal titles.

While Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, are full-time working royals, their children have enjoyed relatively low-key upbringings.

Countess Sophie said it was a "shock" for Lady Louise, now 16, when she learned she was part of the royal family.

"It was only when she was coming home from school and saying, 'Mummy, people keep on telling me that grandma is the Queen'," Sophie recalled in an interview with the BBC in 2016.

"And I asked her, 'Yes, how does that make you feel?' And she said, 'I don't understand'.

"I don't think she had grasped that perhaps there was only one Queen."

 

Prince Edward with his wife Sophie and their children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. Picture: Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Prince Edward with his wife Sophie and their children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. Picture: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan could also look for inspiration from relatives further down the line of succession, like Lady Sarah Chatto or Lady Amelia Windsor.

While her mother Princess Margaret might have loved the spotlight, Lady Sarah now prefers to stay out of the public eye.

She earns money as a painter and lives in a house in Kensington with her artist husband Daniel.

Lady Amelia Windsor, meanwhile, has carved out a successful career for herself in modelling, walking down runways for Dolce & Gabbana and appearing in Vogue.

The 24-year-old's grandfather is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, making her a third cousin to Prince Harry and Prince William.

 

Princess Margaret's daughter Lady Sarah Chatto prefers a low-key life. Picture: Supplied
Princess Margaret's daughter Lady Sarah Chatto prefers a low-key life. Picture: Supplied

 

In Europe, there are similar stories of royals enjoying relative mediocrity.

In the Netherlands, Dutch King Willem-Alexander sometimes flies KLM passenger jets to keep up his pilot's licence.

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf also just removed five of his grandchildren from the royal house, freeing them up to live independent lives.

While they'll likely still appear alongside the royal family at major occasions, they will no longer be entitled to taxpayer-funded money and won't be expected to perform official royal duties.

Princess Madeleine, the mother of three of the children, said in a statement on Instagram that she was happy they would now enjoy private lives.

 

"Earlier today, the court announced that Leonore, Nicolas, and Adrienne will no longer belong to the royal house," she said.

"This change has been planned for a long time. Chris and I think it's good that our children are now getting a greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals in the future."

They got married in 2008. Picture: Supplied
They got married in 2008. Picture: Supplied


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