11/16/1998 at 01:00 AM EST
London teens may swoon over trance William, but out in the horsey British countryside, it's Wills's robust, sports-loving cousin who gets the boots-and-saddle set lathered up. Battling in a rugby scrum or simply cruising behind the wheel of his Land Rover, the 5'10" Peter Phillips, 21, son of Princess Anne and her first husband, riding coach Mark Phillips, makes a strapping impression. "He's not classically good-looking in the way Prince William
is," says Majesty
editor Ingrid Seward, "but he is rather sexy. He's rugged, more Bruce Willis
than Rob Lowe."
Indeed, though Peter, who is ninth in line for the throne (bubbly sister Zara, 17, is 10th), has no title at his mother's insistence, he occasionally, beats his princely cousin in polls as the hunkiest royal. "Girls aren't attracted to him because of who he is but because of his character and personality," says Penny Taylor, who was a pal and classmate at Scotland's elite Gordonstoun school. "He is good fun to be with." Currently reined in by that charm is Massachusetts equestrian Elizabeth Iorio, 23, who is coached by Phillips's father. Peter and his American girl were spotted hugging at a Lincolnshire cross-country event earlier this year. Is it serious? Perhaps, but Phillips likely won't give up the fast track for the paddock anytime soon. "He's a young man I'd call dangerously attractive," British romance novelist Barbara Cartland once told Britain's Daily Mail
, "the sort of chap I thought only existed these days in my novels."