The son of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, Peter was the Queen's first grandchild he is tenth in the line to the throne - and is the apple of her eye. An exemplary student and head boy at Gordonstoun, he is a role model to Prince William and, in the words of his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, a "winner".
Born on November 15, 1977, at St Mary's Hospital in London, Peter is named after his paternal grandfather, rather than a member of the royal family as precedent dictates. Hoping to shield them from the scrutiny of public interest, Princess Anne
- who once said of her children: "They're not royal, the Queen just happens to be their grandmother" - refused any titles for both Peter and his sister Zara, though that didn't stop the American magazine People
from naming him "sexiest royal" in 1998.
Popular among his royal cousins, Peter inherited the athletic prowess of his Olympic equestrian parents, earning a cap for Scottish schoolboy rugby at Gordonstoun in 1995. A graduate of Exeter University, where he studied sports science, Prince Anne's eldest child is an accomplished rider and keen water-sports fan.
The sporting royal met Canadian management consultant Autumn Kelly at the Canadian Gran Prix in Montreal in 2003, and Autumn left her Montreal home to live with Peter in a cottage on his father's farm adjoining Gatcombe in Gloucestershire. Signs that their relationship was getting serious included the moment Autumn was invited to join other members of the royal family, including the Queen, on a cruise around the Hebrides in the summer of 2006.
In July 2007, Buckingham Palace announced their engagement - and Peter became the first of the Queen's grandchildren to wed when his Canadian bride walked down the aisle to kneel at his side in front of the altar at Windsor Castle's St George's Chapel in May the following year. There was more good news to follow in 2010, when the Palace announced that the couple were "delighted" to be expecting their first child together - the Queen's first great-grandchild.
Though Princess Anne and Captain Mark divorced in 1992, Peter remains close to his father. And it's not surprising that the Queen's good-natured, easy-going grandson gets on well with his mother's second husband, Commodore Tim Laurence, whom she married in 1993.
Free of a royal title which can often be a burden as much as a blessing, Peter appears well equipped to make his own way in the world. He moved up the career ladder by deciding to give up a job as corporate hospitality manager for the Jaguar Formula One racing team to join the rival Oxfordshire-based Williams team, and then went on to accept a job with the Royal Bank of Scotland.