30 JULY 2007

With several royal romances going from strength to strength it was becoming difficult to predict which couple was most likely to be first down the aisle. All bets are off, however, after Princess Anne's son Peter Phillips announced his engagement to Canadian-born love Autumn Kelly.

Although no date has been set for the ceremony, it is understood 29-year-old Peter will be the first of the Queen's grandchildren to tie the knot. The tenth-in-line to the throne has been in a relationship with the 31-year-old management consultant for three years. The pair met at the Canadian Grand Prix, where Peter was serving as a sponsorship manager for the Williams Formula One team.

Autumn later moved to Britain to be with her royal beau, who now works for the Royal Bank of Scotland. The couple - whose romance has been conducted largely out of the spotlight - share a cottage on Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire.

Described as "clever, funny and down to earth" by those who know her, Autumn has become increasingly part of the royal family of late. She was invited to attend the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations at the Ritz Hotel last December and made an appearance in the royal box at Ascot last month.

Photo: ©
The couple - pictured sharing a kiss at a sporting event at the weekend - have announced their engagementPhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
Autumn has been included in key royal family events for a while. Last summer she and Peter joined the Queen and other senior royals on a week-long cruise around the Western Isles to celebrate the monarch's 80th birthday