Prince Michael of Kent in 2014
4 July 1942|
Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire, England
Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz (m. 1978)
|Father||Prince George, Duke of Kent|
|Mother||Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark|
|Years of service||1961–1981|
|Unit||The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)|
|Royal family of|
the United Kingdom and the
other Commonwealth realms
Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO, KStJ, CD (Michael George Charles Franklin; born 4 July 1942) is a member of the British royal family. He is a paternal first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, being a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary. He is currently 47th in the line of succession to the British throne, but at the time of his birth was seventh in the line of succession.
Prince Michael occasionally represents 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.
Prince Michael was born during the Second World War on 4 July 1942, at Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire. He was the third child of Prince George, Duke of Kent, who was a son of King George V and Queen Mary and a younger brother of King George VI. At the time of his birth Michael was seventh in the line of Succession to the British throne. His mother was Princess Marina, a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia.
At his christening on 4 August 1942 in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle, his godparents were: his paternal uncle the King; the Queen of the Netherlands (for whom her son-in-law Prince Bernhard stood proxy); the King of Norway (his great-uncle); US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (for whom the Duke of Kent stood proxy); the Herary 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 paternal first cousin twice-removed); and Lady Patricia Ramsay (his paternal first cousin twice-removed). 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". Just seven weeks after Michael's birth, his father was killed in a plane crash near Caithness, Scotland, on 25 August 1942.
He was educated at Sunningdale School and Eton College. Besides being fluent in French and having a "working knowledge" of German and Italian, he was the first member of the royal family to learn Russian.
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 later served in The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own) after the 1969 amalgamation between the 11th Hussars and the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own). 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 and currently Vice 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 engagements on behalf of the royal family. 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 charities and organisations. Some of his patronages and presidencies include: the Kennel Club, Children's Burns Trust, Maritime Volunteer Service, the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, Life Saving Society, Royal Automobile Club, National Eye Research Centre, Motor Sports Association, Brooklands Museum Trust, and the Light Aircraft Association.
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 daughter of the Silesian nobleman Baron Gunther Hubertus von Reibnitz and of his Austro-Hungarian wife, Maria Anna Carolina Franziska Walpurga Bernadette, Countess Szapáry de Muraszombath, Széchysziget et Szapár. After receiving Pope John Paul II's permission, the couple later received a blessing of their marriage in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 29 June 1983 at Archbishop's House, London.
At the time of the marriage, Marie Christine von Reibnitz 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 coming into force of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, and is 47th in line to the throne as of June 2018[update].
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have two children, both of whom were brought up as members of the Church of England, and have therefore been in the line of succession to the throne since birth:
Prince Michael speaks fluent Russian and has a strong interest in Russia, where he is a well-known figure (he is a recipient of the Order of Friendship). Tsar Nicholas II was a first cousin of three of his grandparents. When the bodies of the Tsar and some of his family were recovered in 1991, the remains were later identified by DNA using, among others, a sample from Prince Michael for recognition. He attended the 1998 burial of the Tsar and his family in St Petersburg. He is an Honorary Member of the Romanov Family Association. He is also the second cousin of Maria Vladimirovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, who is a claimant to the headship of the Imperial Family of Russia. They share the same great-grandfather, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich. The Prince is the patron of organisations which has close ties with Russia, including the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and the St Gregory's Foundation. In his capacity as patron of Children's Fire and Burns Trust, Michael has led fundraising rallies in 1999 and 2003 in Russia to raise money for the charity. He also led another rally in 2005 and raised money for the Royal Marsden Hospital and Britain's Charities Aid Foundation Russia.
Prince Michael was a part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst rowing team that won the Maiden Fours at Bedford in 1961. 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 Olympics. He took part in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally in an Austin Maxi, but he and his crew failed to finish the event.
In 2002, both Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were the subject of criticism over the rent paid on their accommodation at Kensington Palace following scrutiny by the House of Commons Public Accounts committee on the cost of royal palaces and whether they were value for money. The committee had called on the Queen to evict its residents and put the apartments on a more commercial footing. When it was claimed that the couple paid a rent of only £69 per week for the use of their apartments at Kensington Palace, Buckingham palace announced 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 that 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."
As a child of a younger son of a British sovereign, he is styled as a British prince with the prefix His Royal Highness and a territorial designation deriving from his father's dukedom: "His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent".
|Lord Frederick Windsor||6 April 1979||12 September 2009||Sophie Winkleman||Maud Windsor|
|Lady Gabriella Windsor||23 April 1981|
|Ancestors of Prince Michael of Kent|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Michael of Kent.|
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
|Order of precedence in England and Wales|
The Duke of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent
as Archbishop of Canterbury
|Order of precedence in Scotland|
The Duke of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent
(see list here)
|Order of precedence in Northern Ireland|
The Duke of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent
as Church of Ireland
Archbishop of Armagh