The royal exes who weren't invited to the Queen's funeral

Royal exes Autumn Phillips, Serena Snowdon and Captain Mark Phillips were absent from the funeral because it’s not ‘protocol’ to invite former spouses, expert claims – but Fergie was a ‘personal friend’ of the Queen

  • The Duchess of York paid her respects to the late Queen on Monday, joining Princesses Eugenie, 32, and Beatrice, 34, and former husband Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey yesterday
  • However, Sarah Ferguson was the only royal divorcee to make the guest list for the historic event, with Serena Snowdon, Autumn Phillips and Captain Mark Phillips not present at the historic event
  • Peter Phillips, who divorced Canadian-born wife Autumn in 2021, attended the services with his children Savannah, 11, and Isla, 10, – with the Tindalls taking care of the girls while he joined the procession
  • David Armstrong-Jones’ wife, the Countess of Snowdon, was also absent, despite enjoying a close relationship with the Queen during her 27 year marriage to the Earl of Snowdon, which ended in 2020 
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

 While the Duchess of York attended the Queen’s funeral, despite her marriage to Prince Andrew ending 30 years ago in 1992, other former partners of royal family members didn’t receive a similar invite.

Sarah Ferguson, 62, who shares daughters Princesses Eugenie, 32, and Beatrice, 34 with the Queen’s second eldest son, has remained on close terms with both her ex-husband and senior royals, and according to one royal expert, is an exception to protocol. 

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, told FEMAIL: ‘Because it was a state funeral protocol had to be enforced. All the Heads of State, Commonwealth leaders and foreign Kings and Queens had priority over friends. 

‘The committal service at Windsor was more for family and friends and former and current staff from the royal households. So Fergie was invited as a personal friend of the Monarch as well as the mother of Beatrice and Eugenie the only two of the Queens grandchildren to have been made Princesses. 

‘Unless they remain close for other reasons, the line is usually drawn at former royal husbands or wives.’ 

Here, FEMAIL looks at who might have been expected at the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey – but didn’t appear on the 2,000-strong guest list…  

History: The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in a Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre arrives during the State Funeral Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday

The Duchess of York has showed its possible to maintain harmony with the royal family after a marriage breakdown; despite her divorce from the Queen’s second eldest son in 1992, Fergie was present at yesterday’s services


Happier times: Serena, Countess of Snowdon, and David Armstrong-Jones, pictured in 2019 before the couple announced their marriage of 27 years had come to an end. Serena didn’t attend the Queen’s funeral on Monday

Many would have expected the Countess of Snowdon, who was firmly a part of the royal family for the 27 years she was married to David Armstrong-Jones, the Queen’s nephew, to have been in attendance at Westminster Abbey

Instead, the Earl of Snowdon attended the service with family members. Pictured: Royals follow the bearer party carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II into Westminster Hall; from left, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Gloucester, Prince Edward, Earl of Snowdon and Meghan Markle

David Armstrong-Jones holding forth with the Prince of Wales, left, and Prince Harry, right, as Princess Anne, front, walks by

Upon hearing the news in 2019 that her nephew David Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon, was set to divorce his wife Serena after more than 27 years of marriage, the late Queen was said to be ‘saddened’. 

The Monarch had enjoyed a close relationship with both her nephew and his former wife, with the couple frequently visiting Sandringham at Christmas and Balmoral in the summer.

The couple wed in October 1993 and have two children Viscount Linley, Charles Armstrong-Jones and Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones. 

Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret’s son from her marriage to Lord Snowdon, announced an ‘amicable’ split from Serena, the Countess of Snowdon three years ago and the couple were officially divorced in 2020. 

However, many watching the Queen’s funeral service might have expressed surprise that Serena, the daughter of the 12th Earl of Harrington, wasn’t among the mourners. 

The couple’s split was, it was reported at the time ‘amicable’, with the pair releasing a statement, which read: ‘The Earl and Countess of Snowdon have amicably agreed that their marriage has come to an end and that they shall be divorced. They ask that the press respect their privacy and that of their family.’


Princess Anne’s former daughter-in-law, Autumn Phillips also didn’t attend the funeral for Her Majesty; Autumn divorced the Queen’s grandson in 2021 after the pair were wed in 2008

While the Phillips’ two daughters Savannah, 11, and Isla, 10, attended the funeral with their father Peter Phillips, their mother (pictured at Royal Ascot in 2019) was not at Westminster Abbey. The breakdown of Autumn and Peter’s marriage was considered as particularly painful for the Queen, who enjoyed a close relationship with her grandson’s wife

Just weeks before the Earl of Snowdon announced he was separating from the Countess of Snowdon, Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips announced his own separation – from long-term love Autumn Phillips. 

The couple wed in 2008, but Peter divorced Canadian national Autumn officially last year and it was a surprise that she didn’t attend the funeral.  

Autumn continues to live on Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire – five minutes from Cirencester Park which hosted the horse trials – so she can co-parent 11-year-old Savannah and ten-year-old Isla with Peter.

The breakdown of Autumn and Peter’s marriage was considered as particularly painful for the Queen, who enjoyed a close relationship with her grandson’s wife.

The couple first met on a business trip at the 2003 Montreal Grand Prix, where Autumn was working as a Budweiser girl at the event. 

Not realising he was the Queen’s grandson, the pair embarked on a relationship and Phillips popped the question after a few years of dating. The newlyweds faced public scrutiny when their wedding photos were sold to Hello! magazine for a reported £500,000 fee.

Peter Phillips asked the Tindalls to take care of his daughters while he joined in the procession at the Queen’s funeral, pictured, left, with Prince Andrew

Princess Anne’s eldest grandchildren Savannah, 11, and Isla Philips, 10, far left, and second from left, were accompanied by the Tindalls for the service at Westminster yesterday

Yesterday, the Queen’s eldest grandson attended the funeral with family members only, including his daughters Savannah, 11, and Isla, 10. 

While Peter took part in the procession to Westminster Abbey, his daughters stayed with Zara and Mike Tindall, accompanied by their eldest daughter Mia. Mia’s younger siblings, Lena, four, and Lucas, one, were not in attendance.

Mia Tindall and her first cousins have grown up together on Princess Royal’s Gatcombe Estate, and stayed close to one another as they walked into the service in Westminster Abbey yesterday. 

Their mother is thought to be in a relationship with Irish construction company boss Donal Mulryan. The new couple, who have been dating since last year, were photographed together with Savannah and Isla on a Mother’s Day outing to the Cirencester horse trials in March. 

Mulryan is close friends with Prince Albert of Monaco, having lived in the principality with his socialite wife Louise before they split several years ago.

In his 30-year career, the 52-year-old London-based property magnate has built 6 million sq ft of hotel, residential and commercial property in the UK.


Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Anne pictured in 1981; the former couple who share children Zara, 41, and Peter, 44, have remained on friendly terms, although protocol might have dictated why the father of the Queen’s grandchildren wasn’t at the funeral

Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Princess Anne’s second husband has remained a constant by her side since the Queen’s death was announced on September 8th (Pictured on Monday at St George’s Chapel, Windsor)

Much water has passed under the bridge since Captain Mark Phillips, 73, and the Queen’s only daughter, 74, announced they were ending their marriage in 1992 – the same year that Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson divorced. 

While Princess Anne has been happily settled with Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence since that period, her ex-husband has also had numerous relationships, including reportedly finding new love recently with a woman thought to be in her 40s. 

Phillips, is said to be currently ‘inseparable’ from Belgian equestrian Florence Standaert, who is thought to be around the same age as the former Olympic gold medallist’s daughter, 41-year-old Zara. 

Supportive: Captain Mark Phillips was not thought to be at the Queen’s funeral but enjoys a close relationship with both of his children. (Phillips pictured with daughter Zara Tindall at Cheltenham Festival in March

Phillips divorced Princess Anne in 1992 after 19 years of marriage (pictured on their wedding day in 1973)

The Queen’s granddaughter was cheered on by both her father, who turns 74 this month, and Standaert, as she competed in the long-awaited return of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. 

It’s thought that Captain Mark and Princess Anne still enjoy a friendly relationship and her former husband might well have been on the guest list were the numbers of dignitaries, politicians and global and European royals not so closely curtailed. 

Anne’s first marriage finally fell apart after she embarked on an affair with now-husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence in the late-1980s. The couple married in December the same year she divorced Phillips.

Meanwhile, the Olympic gold medal winner married American dressage rider Sandy Pflueger, 67, in 1997, but it was confirmed in 2012 that they had separated.

Phillips, who has a reputed fortune of up to £20 million, had already become involved with another woman, Lauren Hough, 45, an American showjumper. 

Friends speculated in 2015 that he and Hough would soon get engaged, but the announcement never came.

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