Jemima Phillips

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Jemima Phillips
Born North London, England
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Harp, violin, piano

Jemima Phillips is an English-born Welsh harpist.


Born in North London,[1] her father Robert was an arboriculturist in the London Borough of Camden, and her mother, Jenny, an actress who starred in Steptoe and Son and was once in a film with Ronnie Barker.[1] Her younger brother Jerome was physically and mentally disabled (died when she was aged 14); and younger sister Genevieve was severely autistic.

The family moved to a farm in Gloucestershire when Phillips was seven, and from aged nine she was raised in Ebbw Vale and Monmouth, Wales.

Phillips played Suzuki violin from aged three, and piano from aged four. She started playing the harp from the age of 9,[2] Initially educated at the private Hereford Cathedral School,[1] Phillips was a semi-finalist in the BBC's Young Musician of the Year competition. She attended Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls and the Royal College of Music, London.


Phillips was appointed Official Harpist to Prince Charles in 2004, replacing Catrin Finch.[3] Phillips was the only musician to play at the wedding reception of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, performed at the wedding of Autumn Kelly and the Queen's eldest grandchild, Peter Phillips; and featured in the first concert to be recorded in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace. During her tenure as Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales, she performed at the reception hosted by Her Majesty the Queen for the London bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.[4] In 2007 Claire Jones from Pembrokeshire took over the role.

Personal life[edit]

Presently living in St Briavels in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, she teaches and plays harp professionally.

In June 2009, Phillips and former boyfriend William Davies, 40, were brought in front of Cheltenham magistrates with three charges of house burglary on three houses allegedly committed throughout May,[5] and a fourth count of fraud by false representation. Her subsequent trial was halted on 22 October when Judge Michael Harington told the jury at Gloucester Crown Court they were being discharged for reasons that were not explained.[6] The trial restarted on 30 November; on 2 December, Phillips in her evidence confessed to being a Heroin addict, and had been during her time as Royal Harpist.[7] Having admitted one count of attempted fraud, Phillips was found guilty of handling stolen goods on 7 December 2009.[8] Phillips was given a 12-month Community order and sent for drug rehabilitation.[9]


  1. ^ a b c MacFarlane, Jo (27 December 2009). "Drugs had me in their grip – it was horrible: Prince Charles' former harpist describes her descent into addiction". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  2. ^ "New harpist relishes royal role". BBC News. 29 August 2004. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  3. ^ Appointment of "Jemima Phillips Official Harpist" Check |url= value (help). Prince of Wales website. Retrieved 2004-07-14. 
  4. ^ FixTheMusic. "Jemima Phillips — Profile on FixTheMusic". 
  5. ^ Coles, John (2 May 2009). "Charles harpist 'raided' houses". London: The Sun. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  6. ^ Harpist in court: Trial suspended South Wales Argus Monday, 9 November 2009
  7. ^ "Royal harpist tells of drug abuse". BBC News. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  8. ^ "Harpist guilty of handling goods". BBC News. 7 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  9. ^ "Prince of Wales' former harpist given drug rehab order". BBC Wales. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 

External links[edit]

Court offices
Preceded by
Catrin Finch
Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales
Succeeded by
Claire Jones