Prince Michael of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent in 2012
4 July 1942 |
Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire
|Spouse||Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz (m. 1978)|
|Issue||Lord Frederick Windsor
Lady Gabriella Windsor
|Father||Prince George, Duke of Kent|
|Mother||Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Royal Family of
the United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
Prince Michael of Kent GCVO (Michael George Charles Franklin; born 4 July 1942) is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, being a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary. 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 a first cousin of three of Michael's grandparents.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Education and military service
- 3 Career
- 4 Marriage
- 5 Controversy
- 6 Sport
- 7 Russia
- 8 Titles, styles, honours and arms
- 9 Issue
- 10 Ancestry
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Prince Michael was born on 4 July 1942, at Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire. His father was the Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary, and was killed in a plane crash near Caithness, Scotland, on 25 August 1942, just seven weeks and three days 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 Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, Duchess of Kent, a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and of Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. (The Duchess of Kent's parents were second cousins to one another, being that Nicholas' mother Olga Constantinovna of Russia and Elena's father Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia were first cousins through the line of Nicholas I 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 in 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); the Hereditary Princess of Greece (who was not present), the wife of Paul of Greece, his first cousin-once-removed; the Duke of Gloucester (his paternal uncle, who was absent); the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (his grandfather King George V's paternal first cousin); and Lady Patricia Ramsay (his grandfather King George V's paternal first cousin). Because of the war, newspaper reports did not identify the location of the christening and said instead that it took place at "a private chapel in the country."
Education and military service
Educated at Sunningdale School and Eton College, Prince Michael entered the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in January 1961, from 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 a United Nations peacekeeping force in 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 (later 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. He is also Colonel-in-Chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Canada.
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 many 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.
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:
- ATA Museum Maidenhead Heritage Centre
- Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, Honorary Admiral
- Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre
- Anglo-Hellenic League
- Battersea Dogs and Cats Home
- British Business & General Aviation Association (BBGA)
- Brooklands Museum Trust
- Chartered Institute of Linguists
- Children's Burns Trust
- Colfe's School London (Visitor)
- Commission for Global Road Safety
- David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
- FIA Foundation
- First Gear
- Genesis Initiative
- Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
- The Kennel Club
- Light Aircraft Association
- London School of Business and Finance
- Maritime Volunteer Service
- National Eye Research Centre
- Official Patron of the New Hampshire Highland Games
- Royal Automobile Club
- Royal Life Saving Society
- Russo-British Chamber of Commerce
- Society of Genealogists
- SSAFA Forces Help
- Thames Rowing Club
- The Transport Trust
- Veteran Car Club of Great Britain
- World Class Learning Schools Group
- World Monuments Fund (UK)
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.
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 of 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 had previously been married to the 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 line of succession to the throne through his marriage to a Roman Catholic. He was reinstated to the line of succession on 26 March 2015 with the successful passing of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.
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 the line of succession 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 is 46th in the line of succession as of early 2015. Educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford. Now with JP Morgan in Los Angeles. Нis daughter Maud is 47th in line as of early 2015.
- Lady Gabriella Windsor, born 23 April 1981; and 48th in the line of succession as of early 2015. Educated at Downe House, Brown University in the US, and Linacre College, Oxford.
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, other sources quote £76, for the use of their apartments at Kensington Palace, a committee of British MPs demanded they be evicted. 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."
Prince Michael has been under close scrutiny by the media for financial assistance given to him by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. In May 2012, The Sunday Times reported the Prince had received £320,000 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. 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."
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.
Prince Michael has a strong interest in Russia, where he is a well-known figure (he is a recipient of the Order of Friendship) which may be assisted by 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. He attended the 1998 burial of the Tsar and his family in St. Petersburg. Prince Michael speaks Russian fluently, and travels to Russia frequently. Prince Michael is an Honorary Member of the Romanov Family Association. Nicholas II of Russia (née Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich of Russia) and his brother, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia, for whom Prince Michael of Kent is named, are related to the British Prince in three different ways. Firstly, Michael of Kent's paternal grandfather George V, maternal grandfather Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, and Nicholas II and Michael Alexandrovich, through their parents Alexandra of Denmark, George I of Greece, and Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark) respectively, were first cousins, as they were all grandchildren of Christian IX. Then, Nicholas and Michael Alexandrovich were also second cousins to Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark; Prince Nicholas' mother Olga Constantinovna and Michael and Nicholas' father Alexander III of Russia were first cousins via Nicholas I of Russia. Then, Prince Michael's maternal grandmother Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia was a first cousin to Nicholas II and his brother Michael, via Alexander II of Russia.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 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.
- 4 July 1992 Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO)
- 2 June 2003 Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)
- 18 January 2001 Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of Saint John (KStJ)
- 1953 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal
- 1971 United Nations Medal for UNFICYP
- 1977 Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
- 2002 Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
- 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- Foreign orders
Honorary military appointments
- United Kingdom
- Honorary Vice Admiral, Royal Naval Reserve (9 March 2015–present)
- Honorary Rear Admiral, Royal Naval Reserve (2004–2015)
- Honorary Commodore, Royal Naval Reserve (1 April 1994–2004)
- Honorary Auxiliary Commodore, Royal Naval Auxiliary Service (1990) 
- Commodore-in-Chief, Maritime Reserves (2006–present)
- Honorary Colonel, British Army (10 November 2010–present)
- Senior Colonel, The King's Royal Hussars
- Royal Honorary Colonel, Honourable Artillery Company (31 January 2012–present). (member since 1981)
- Regimental Colonel, Honourable Artillery Company (2009–2012)
- Honorary Air Marshal of RAF Benson (1 March 2012–present)
- Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Benson (27 June 2002–2012)
- Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation
- Chartered Institute of Linguists
- Royal Aeronautical Society
- Society of Genealogists
- Institute of Road Safety Officers
- Institute of the Motor Industry
|Lord Frederick Windsor||6 April 1979||12 September 2009||Sophie Winkleman||Maud Windsor|
|Lady Gabriella Windsor||23 April 1981|
- As a titled royal, Michael needs no surname, but when one is used, it is Windsor.
- The London Gazette: . 7 July 1942. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "Invitation to FDR to become Godfather". Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- The Times, 5 August 1942
- Yvonne's Royalty Home Page – Royal Christenings
- Royal.gov.uk – 60 Facts, Fact 9
- The London Gazette: . 21 April 1981. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- Debrett's People of Today
- The London Gazette: . 13 March 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "Royal residences: Kensington Palace".
- Gray, Sadie. The Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/court_and_social/article7113143.ece. Missing or empty
- The Big Red L Company pioneer BTEC in Driving Science course in Kent
- RoadSafe – A partnership in road safety
- "GRAND LODGE OF MARK MASTER MASONS" (pdf). Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "Provincial Grand Master & Executive". Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- Picknett, Lynn, Prince, Clive, Prior, Stephen & Brydon, Robert, War of the Windsors: A Century of Unconstitutional Monarchy (2002), p. 271. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 1-84018-631-3.
- Picknett, Prince, Prior & Brydon, p. 311.
- Corrections to inaccurate media stories about the Royal Family
- "Queen's cousin given financial assistance by exiled Russian tycoon". news website. yahoo.com. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- "Prince Michael Gifted 320,000 pounds by Berezovsky – paper". News Website. rian.ru. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- "UK Queen’s cousin takes £320k from Berezovksy". News Website. presstv.com. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- The Times, 21 January 1972
- Russia: A 1,000 Year Chronicle by Martin Sixsmith page 220 paragraph 3, line 9
- Romanov Family Association
- The London Gazette: . 7 July 1992. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 2 June 2003. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 17 March 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 25 May 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 12 April 1994. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 10 April 1990. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 20 March 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 23 July 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Michael of Kent.|
- Royal.gov.uk Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
- Prince Michael of Kent's homepage
- Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex
- HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO is a Patron of LSBF
Prince Michael of KentBorn: 4 July 1942
|Lines of succession|
|Line of succession to the British throne
(son of George, son of George V)
Lord Frederick Windsor
|Line of succession to the Dukedom of Kent
|Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom|
The Duke of Kent
HRH Prince Michael of Kent
as Archbishop of Canterbury