THE QUEEN looked solemn as she was spotted for the first time since receiving heartbreaking news about her “favourite grandson” Peter Phillips’s separation from wife Autumn.
Her Majesty was spotted arriving at King’s Lynn railway station in Norfolk, this morning. She was boarding a train as she returned to London after spending the Christmas period at Sandringham House in north Norfolk. Her appearnace comes just hours after her grandson Peter Phillips announced he was spliting from wife Autumn.
The monarch was dressed in a pale blue patterned headscarf and blue coat and carrying her trademark black handbag.
The 93-year-old head of state’s annual stay on her private estate was less peaceful than usual.
She held a “Megxit” crisis summit in early January, resulting in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quitting royal life and dropping their HRH styles for a life of financial freedom.
The Queen was heading back to London on the day the news was confirmed that her eldest grandson Peter Phillips has split from his wife Autumn.
The Queen looked stern as she left Sandringhm (Image: PA)
The couple described their separation as sad but amicable, and “the best course of action for their two children and ongoing friendship”.
The couple are in the process of divorcing, and will share custody of their two daughters.
A spokesman for the pair, who wed at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in 2008, said the decision was taken after many months of discussion, and they informed the Queen and their families last year.
Canadian-born Autumn will not return to her home country, but will remain in Gloucestershire where they will co-parent nine-year-old Savannah and seven-year-old Isla.
The Queen always stays at her Norfolk home until February (Image: PA)
The spokesman said: “They had reached the conclusion that this was the best course of action for their two children and ongoing friendship.
“The decision to divorce and share custody came about after many months of discussions and, although sad, is an amicable one.
“The couple’s first priority will remain the continued well-being and upbringing of their wonderful daughters, Savannah and Isla.
“Both families were naturally sad at the announcement, but fully supportive of Peter and Autumn in the joint decision to co-parent their children.
Her Majesty wore pale blue as she went to catch her train (Image: PA)
“Both Peter and Autumn have remained in Gloucestershire to bring up their two children where they have been settled for a number of years.”
The couple requested “privacy and compassion” for their children while the family continues to adapt to the changes.
The Princess Royal’s son Mr Phillips, 42, is the first of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s grandchildren to divorce.
In her annus horribilis of 1992, the Queen saw the marriages of three of her four children break down, with Anne divorcing Captain Mark Phillips, and the Duke and Duchess of York and the Prince and Princess of Wales separating.
The monarch stays in Sandringham each year (Image: PA)
The Phillips’ split, revealed by the Sun newspaper, comes amid turbulent times for the monarch and the royal family at the start of a new decade.
Peter’s cousin, the Duke of Sussex, and Harry’s wife, the Duchess of Sussex, delivered a bombshell statement in January 2020, saying they were stepping down as senior royals and wanted to earn their own money.
In the end, after the Queen held a crisis summit at Sandringham, it was decided that Harry and Meghan would quit royal life completely in favour of a new life of personal and financial freedom, drop their HRH styles and spend most of their time in Canada.
In November, the Duke of York stepped down from royal public duties following his disastrous Newsnight interview about his association with American convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Queen regularly catches the train to and from Norfolk (Image: PA)
Mr Phillips first met Autumn Kelly at the 2003 Montreal Grand Prix, when he was working for Formula One racing team BMW Williams and she was employed in the main BMW hospitality suite.
He invited her to a post-race party and they kept in touch when he returned to England.
But the Queen’s grandson did not tell Ms Kelly he was a member of the royal family at first.
She found out after spotting him in a TV programme about the Duke of Cambridge, and confessed to being scared at the prospect of dating a Windsor.
The Queen matched her coat with her signature style of headscarf (Image: PA)
The newlyweds left in the open top horse-drawn Balmoral Sociable carriage for a reception and dance at Frogmore House.
Born in the Queen’s silver jubilee year of 1977, Mr Phillips is the older brother of champion equestrian Zara Tindall, and was the first of the Queen’s grandchildren to wed.
The monarch stays in Sandringham each year over the Christmas period until after the anniversary of her accession on February 6, which is also the anniversary of the death of her father, George VI.
This year, she reached her 68th year on the throne and is only two years away from her platinum jubilee.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK