Prince Michael of Kent

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"Prince Michael" redirects here. For other people named Prince Michael, see Prince Michael (disambiguation).
Prince Michael
Prince Michael of Kent (cropped).jpg
Prince Michael of Kent in 2012
Spouse Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz (m. 1978)
Issue Lord Frederick Windsor
Lady Gabriella Windsor
Full name
Michael George Charles Franklin[1]
House Windsor
Father Prince George, Duke of Kent
Mother Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent
Born (1942-07-04) 4 July 1942 (age 72)
Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire
Religion Church of England

Prince Michael of Kent GCVO KStJ (Michael George Charles Franklin; born 4 July 1942) is a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary, making him a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. He is also the first cousin once removed of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and a great-great grandson of Tsar Alexander II of Russia and his first wife, Empress Marie Alexandrovna. Prince Michael occasionally carries out royal duties representing the Queen at some functions in Commonwealth realms outside the United Kingdom. Otherwise, he manages his own consultancy business and undertakes various commercial work around the world. He has also presented some television documentaries on the royal families of Europe. He is named after Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, the younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and first cousin of three of his grandparents.

Early life[edit]

Prince Michael was born on 4 July 1942, at Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire. His father was The Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. The Duke of Kent was killed in a plane crash near Caithness, Scotland on 25 August 1942, just six weeks after his third child was born. At the time of his birth Prince Michael was seventh in the line of succession to his uncle, King George VI.

His mother was The Duchess of Kent (née Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark), a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. As a grandchild of a British sovereign in the male line, he is styled as a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with the prefix His Royal Highness.

At his christening on 4 August 1942 at the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle, his godparents were: The King (his paternal uncle); the Queen of the Netherlands (for whom her son-in-law Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands stood proxy); the King of Norway (his great-uncle); US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (for whom the Duke of Kent stood proxy);[2] the Hereditary Princess of Greece (who was not present); the Duke of Gloucester (his paternal uncle, who was absent); the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (his grandfather King George V's cousin); and the Lady Patricia Ramsay (his grandfather King George V's cousin). Because of the war, newspapers did not identify the actual location of the christening, and said instead that it took place at "a private chapel in the country."[3][4]

At the age of five, Prince Michael was a page boy at the wedding of his cousins, The Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.[5]

Education and military service[edit]

Prince Michael of Kent in 1990, by Allan Warren

Educated at Sunningdale School and Eton College, Prince Michael entered the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in January 1961, where he was commissioned into the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own), in 1963. He saw service in Germany, Hong Kong, and Cyprus, where his squadron formed part of the UN peacekeeping force of 1971. Subsequent tours of duty, during a military career that spanned twenty years, included a number of appointments on the Defence Intelligence Staff. He retired from the Army, with the rank of Major, in 1981.

In 1994, Prince Michael was made Honorary Commodore (now Honorary Rear Admiral) of the Royal Naval Reserve, and in 2002 he was made Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Benson (promoted to Honorary Air Marshal in 2012). From 2009 to 2012 he was Regimental Colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company and has been, since 31 January 2012, Royal Honorary Colonel of that regiment.[6] He is also colonel-in-chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Canada.

Career[edit]

Royal duties[edit]

As the third child of George V's fourth son, it was not expected that Prince Michael, as the only second son in the extended royal family, would undertake royal and official duties. He has performed official duties in the Commonwealth realms other than the United Kingdom and has represented the Queen abroad. He has, however, never received a parliamentary annuity or an allowance from the British Privy Purse, unlike both his elder brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and his sister, Princess Alexandra, who both carry out official royal duties in the United Kingdom and receive British parliamentary annuities. The Prince was given a grace and favour apartment at Kensington Palace upon his marriage in 1978.[7]

Prince Michael has represented the Queen at state funerals in India, Cyprus and Swaziland and, with his wife, Princess Michael of Kent, represented the Queen at the independence celebrations in Belize, and at the Coronation of King Mswati III of Swaziland.

Prince Michael supports a large number of different charities and organisations.

His Patronages and Presidencies number over 100 and include:

Commercial[edit]

Given that the Prince does not receive any income from his royal duties, he has the Queen's permission to earn a living from commercial enterprise. As such Prince Michael manages his own consultancy business, and undertakes business throughout the world. He is also a qualified interpreter of Russian.

Masonic[edit]

Prince Michael is an active Freemason. He is the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons,[12] and Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex.[13]

Marriage[edit]

Prince Michael, photographed by Allan Warren.

On 30 June 1978, Prince Michael was married, at a civil ceremony, at the Rathaus, Vienna, Austria, to Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz, the only child of the Silesian nobleman Baron Gunther Hubertus von Reibnitz, and his Hungarian-born wife, Maria Anna Carolina Franziska Walpurga Bernadette, Countess Szapáry de Muraszombath, Széchysziget et Szapár.

At the time of the marriage, the Baroness was not only a Roman Catholic, but also a divorcée. She was previously married to banker Thomas Troubridge; they separated in 1973, divorced in 1977, and had their marriage annulled by the Roman Catholic Church a year later, two months before her marriage to Prince Michael. Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, Prince Michael forfeited his place in the succession through marriage to a Roman Catholic.[14]

However, his wife became, and remains, Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent (not Princess Marie-Christine, since she is not a princess in her own right, but only by right of marriage). Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have two children, both of whom remain in line to the throne because they are not Roman Catholics, having been brought up as members of the Church of England:

  • Lord Frederick Windsor, born 6 April 1979; married, 12 September 2009, Sophie Winkleman and 42nd in the line of succession as of 2014. Educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford. Now with JP Morgan in Los Angeles. Нis daughter Maud, is 43rd in line as of 2014.
  • Lady Gabriella Windsor, born 23 April 1981; and 44th in the line of succession as of 2014. Educated at Downe House, Brown University, US and Linacre College, Oxford.

Controversy[edit]

Prince Michael of Kent in 2008

Both Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have been the focus of negative news stories in the media in the past. These have centred on accusations that the couple exploit their royal status for commercial gain. When it was claimed that the couple pay a rent of only £69 per week (although other sources state the figure as £76) for the use of their apartments at Kensington Palace, a committee of British MPs demanded they be evicted.[15] The British Monarchy Media Centre denies these reports and states that, "The Queen is paying the rent for Prince and Princess Michael of Kent's apartment at a commercial rate of £120,000 annually from her own private funds... This rent payment by The Queen is in recognition of the Royal engagements and work for various charities which Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have undertaken at their own expense, and without any public funding."[16]

Prince Michael has been under close scrutiny by the media for financial assistance given to him by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.[17] In May 2012, The Sunday Times reported how the Prince had received £320,000 ($514,000) during a six-year period from 2002 to 2008 into a family business owned by the prince's secretary, from a fund controlled by Berezovsky in which 56 payments of between £5,000 and £15,000 were sent through offshore companies.[18] In an interview with The Sunday Times Berezovsky stated, "There is nothing underhand or improper about the financial assistance I have given Prince Michael. It is a matter between friends."[19]

Sport[edit]

Prince Michael competed for Great Britain in the 1971 FIBT World Bobsleigh Championships but crashed and failed to finish the event. He was official non-travelling reserve for the 1972 Winter Olympic Games.[20]

Russia[edit]

Prince Michael at an award ceremony in the Kremlin, where he received an Order of Friendship from the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev in 2009

Prince Michael has a strong interest in Russia, and displays some physical resemblance to Tsar Nicholas II, a first cousin of three of his grandparents. When the bodies of the Tsar and some of his family were discovered in 1979, the remains were later identified by DNA using, among others, Prince Michael's blood sample for recognition.[21] He attended the 1998 burial of the Tsar and his family in St. Petersburg.[22] Prince Michael speaks Russian fluently, and travels to Russia frequently. Prince Michael is an Honorary Member of the Romanov Family Association.[23]

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 4 July 1942 – present: His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent
  • The prince's style and title in full: His Royal Highness Prince Michael George Charles Franklin of Kent, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.

Honours[edit]

See also List of honours of the British Royal Family by country

Orders
Medals
Foreign orders

Honorary military appointments[edit]

Canada
United Kingdom

Fellowships[edit]

Arms[edit]

Arms of Prince Michael of Kent
Coat of Arms of Michael of Kent.svg
Notes
As a descendant of George V, the Prince Michael's arms are based on the Royal Arms. The following explains the way in which his arms are differenced from those of the Queen.
Coronet
Coronet of a Grandchild of the Sovereign
Crest
On the coronet of children of other sons of the Sovereign, composed of four crosses-patées alternated with four strawberry leaves a lion statant guardant or, crowned with the like coronet and differenced with a label as in the Arms.
Supporters
The Royal Supporters differenced with the like coronet and label.
Orders
The Royal Victorian Order circlet.
VICTORIA
Other elements
The Royal Arms differenced with a five point label- the standard differentiation for a male-line grandchild of a British monarch. The first, third and fifth points bear a red cross, and the second and fourth points bear a blue anchor.
Symbolism
As with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom. The first and fourth quarters are the arms of England, the second of Scotland, the third of Ireland.

Issue[edit]

Name Birth Marriage Issue
Lord Frederick Windsor 6 April 1979 12 September 2009 Sophie Winkleman Maud Windsor
Lady Gabriella Windsor 23 April 1981

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ As a titled royal, Michael holds no surname, but, when one is used, it is Windsor.
  2. ^ – Invitation to FDR to become Godfather
  3. ^ The Times, 5 August 1942
  4. ^ Yvonne's Royalty Home Page – Royal Christenings
  5. ^ Royal.gov.uk – 60 Facts, Fact 9
  6. ^ London Gazette, 13 March 2012
  7. ^ "Royal residences: Kensington Palace". 
  8. ^ Gray, Sadie. The Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/court_and_social/article7113143.ece |url= missing title (help). 
  9. ^ The Big Red L Company pioneer BTEC in Driving Science course in Kent
  10. ^ http://www.icbglobal.org
  11. ^ RoadSafe – A partnership in road safety
  12. ^ "GRAND LODGE OF MARK MASTER MASONS" (pdf). Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Provincial Grand Master & Executive". Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Picknett, Lynn, Prince, Clive, Prior, Stephen & Brydon, Robert (2002). War of the Windsors: A Century of Unconstitutional Monarchy, p. 271. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 1-84018-631-3.
  15. ^ Picknett, Prince, Prior & Brydon, p. 311.
  16. ^ Corrections to inaccurate media stories about the Royal Family
  17. ^ "Queen's cousin given financial assistance by exiled Russian tycoon". news website. yahoo.com. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "Prince Michael Gifted 320,000 pounds by Berezovsky – paper". News Website. rian.ru. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "UK Queen’s cousin takes £320k from Berezovksy". News Website. presstv.com. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  20. ^ The Times, 21 January 1972
  21. ^ Russia: A 1,000 Year Chronicle by Martin Sixsmith page 220 paragraph 3, line 9
  22. ^ http://www.romanovfamily.org/funeral.html
  23. ^ Romanov Family Association

External links[edit]

Prince Michael of Kent
Cadet branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 4 July 1942
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Leopold Windsor
Line of succession to the Dukedom of Kent
6th position
Succeeded by
Lord Frederick Windsor
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Duke of Kent
Gentlemen
HRH Prince Michael of Kent
Succeeded by
Justin Welby
as Archbishop of Canterbury