LONDON (Reuters) - It has all the ingredients of a proper British royal wedding: romance, tradition, rain, and a gossip magazine feud.
Peter Phillips, 11th in line to the throne, becomes on Saturday the first of Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren to wed, marrying his Canadian bride Autumn Kelly in drizzly weather at a chapel at the queen’s Windsor Castle residence near London.
Phillips, 30, is the queen’s eldest grandchild and son of Elizabeth’s only daughter, Princess Anne.
Unlike his first cousins, Princes William and Harry — or his sister, equestrian champion and Beijing Olympics hopeful Zara Phillips — he has tended to stay out of the limelight.
Nevertheless, he accepted an offer from gossip magazine Hello! to allow its photographers exclusive access to the wedding for a reported 500,000 pounds (nearly $1 million).
Hello! calls it “the fairytale romance which has bridged continents and social divides”.
But the rest of Britain’s celebrity-obsessed media was locked out, and predictably furious.
“What a start to married life for Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips — cashing in on the accident of his birth and literally selling his grandmother to Hello! magazine,” the Daily Mail thundered.
As is perhaps inevitable at weddings, speculation focused on who would be next.
Prince Harry was expected to formally present his girlfriend of four years, Chelsy Davy, to Queen Elizabeth for the first time.
Prince William’s off-again-on-again girlfriend Kate Middleton also was on the guest list, but William himself was unable to attend because he was at a friend’s wedding in Kenya.
Phillips and Kelly met in 2003 at the Montreal Grand Prix, when he worked for the Formula 1 racing team BMW Williams and she worked at the BMW hospitality suite.
He was determined to woo her on his own terms and did not initially tell her of his royal lineage. She has said she found out she was dating a royal when she saw him on a television program about his cousin Prince William.
Kelly, a graduate of Canada’s prestigious McGill University, was raised a Roman Catholic, but converted to Protestantism before the wedding. Under British law, a royal who marries a Catholic loses his claim to the throne.