Fiancée of British royal abandons Catholicism to preserve succession
Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly
Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly

.- A woman engaged to a member of the British royal family has renounced her Catholic faith to maintain her fiancée’s position in the line of succession.

The Times Online reports that Autumn Kelly, 31, was received into the Church of England.  She is to be married to Peter Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest grandson, on May 17.

British monarchs and their heirs are barred from becoming or marrying Catholics according to the 1701 Act of Settlement.  Phillips, who is currently eleventh in line to the throne, would have had to renounce his claim had she not converted.

Kelly was reportedly advised for several months before deciding to convert.  “She was not asked to do this; she did it of her own accord,” a source told the Daily Telegraph.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman confirmed the conversion had taken place and said that, "She was welcomed into the Church of England some time ago."

Kelly, a management consultant from Canada, met Phillips at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in 2003.  She moved to the United Kingdom to be with him shortly thereafter.

Her parents are said to be enthusiastic about their daughter’s engagement.  I’ve met him a few times and he’s a great guy, a really nice person,” her mother, Kathleen, told the Times Online.

She said that she did not think that there would be a problem with her daughter being a “foreigner”.

“I think attitudes to things like that have changed,” she said. “Autumn is a very serious and intelligent young woman. She may be young, but she knows the world. And he’s a great guy. Isn’t that what counts?”

It is not known whether Kelly was a practicing Catholic, though she was educated at Catholic schools.

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