THE Queen’s favourite grandson Peter Phillips is to separate from his wife Autumn.
Her Majesty is believed to be “upset” after Autumn, 41, told Princess Anne’s son, 42, she wants to split after 12 years of marriage.
A pal said: “He is devastated.”
It comes amid fears that the mum of two wants to follow Harry and Meghan to her native Canada.
Close friends are suggesting that Megxit – Prince Harry and Meghan’s departure from UK to Canada – could have hastened Autumn’s shock decision.
Sports marketing consultant Peter, 42, and Autumn, 41, who is a management consultant, have two children –Savannah (nine) and Isla (seven)..
One pal revealed: “Peter is absolutely devastated by this and just didn’t see it coming.
“He thought he was happily married and had the perfect family with two lovely daughters. But he is now in total shock.
“Autumn is a wonderful wife and mother and a very intelligent woman but she’s been telling her friends for some time that there were issues.
“It’s the last thing she needs after all her recent troubles and you get the feeling that the Royal Family is falling apart a little bit.”
Our revelation comes just two weeks after Peter sparked international controversy for advertising milk in China while being promoted as a “British Rotay”.
Those close the couple have expressed concern that Autumn might want to start a new life in Canada, just like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have decided.
A friend said: “What worries some of us is that Autumn may want to go back to Canada.
“Maybe she has been influenced by Harry and Meghan’s departure. Perhaps she thought if that can happen then I can leave as well? That might be unfair on her but you have to consider it.
No other party is involved in the split, our sources said.
A pal explained: “Certainly none of us think either Peter or Autumn are involved with anyone else.
“It just seems they have grown apart but it’s come as a bolt out of the blue for Peter and he’s very upset.”
The split is the latest problem for the Royal Family after a disastrous year, which some commentators have branded a second Annus Horribilis.
Prince Philip injured two members of the public in a car crash then fell ill. Disgraced Prince Andrew had to step back from royal duties after a catastrophic interview about his relationship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and last month it’s revealed Harry and Meghan were quitting the UK.
A senior royal source said: “The Queen must wonder what she has done to deserve this.
“Peter Phillips has always been a favourite of hers and Prince Philip and she will be crestfallen by this, especially on top of all the other bad news.
“It makes you wonder what’s going to happen next.”
Peter previously dated Elizabeth Lorio, a cod liver oil heiress from the US, and BA air stewardess Tara Swain.
He met Autumn in 2003 at the Formula One Grand Prix in her home city of Montreal.
They were both working at the event, but the Canadian beauty had no idea he was the Queen’s grandson until she saw a picture of him on TV six weeks later.
She later revealed in an interview her mother told her: “Oh, Autumn, what have you gotten yourself into.”
Peter proposed in 2007 after he got permission from Autumn’s father.
Speaking of their engagement, she said: “I certainly didn’t see the question coming.
“I looked horrible in my wellies with wet hair. I said yes straight away though.”
Autumn, raised Catholic, had to convert to Church of England before their wedding in 2008 so Peter could stay in the line of succession, where he is currently 15th.
They married at St George’s Chapel in Windsor but Peter was accused of cashing in on his family connections by selling wedding photos to Hello magazine for a reputed £500,000.
Over 300 guests saw the couple tie the knot, including Her Majesty and Prince Philip and 70 members of Autumn’s family who jetted in from Canada.
In line with tradition, the pair spent the night before the wedding apart with Autumn occupying Windsor Castle while her future husband stayed with his uncle Prince Edward.
Peter’s sister Zara Phillips was joined by Mike Tindall, who she married three years later, and cousins Princess Beatrice and Prince Eugenie.
Prince Harry was accompanied by then girlfriend Chelsea Davy but Prince William was unable to attend due to a clash with a friend’s wedding in Kenya. Kate Middleton attended without him.
But both William and Harry privately raised concerns that their then girlfriends featured so heavily in the glossy mag’s coverage, which was billed as a “100-page special”.
Peter and Autumn held their reception at nearby Frogmore House and they travelled there in an open carriage pulled by two Windsor Greys.
The venue was offered to them by Queen Elizabeth, which has added to a belief Peter is the Queen’s favourite grandchild.
Following their nuptials the couple, who lived in Hong Kong between 2008 to 2010, went on to have two children Savannah, the Queen’s first great-grandchild, and another daughter, Isla, two years later.
The pair are often referred to as playful tomboys, seen frolicking at horsey events with their royal cousins.
Peter is the son of Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips, and was brought up without a royal title so he could make his own way in the world, just like his sister Zara.
His wedding wasn’t the first time he’s used his royal connections to make money.
Last month Peter caused controversy after he appeared in an advert promoting “Jersey Fresh Milk” in commercials shown on Chinese TV.
Peter is seen holding a glass of milk in front of a stately home with the caption: “British Royal Family member Peter Phillips.”
He boasts in the advert of being brought up on Jersey milk from the herd at Windsor.
Before his milk commercials came to light, he held meetings with Chinese entrepreneur Dr Johnny Hon over a possible launch of a horse-racing private members’ club in Hong Kong.