Prince Michael of Kent

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Prince Michael
HRH Prince Michael of Kent 62 Allan Warren.jpg
Prince Michael of Kent in 2014
Born (1942-07-04) 4 July 1942 (age 76)
Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire, England
Spouse
Issue
Full name
Michael George Charles Franklin [notes 1]
House Windsor
Father Prince George, Duke of Kent
Mother Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark
Military career
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1961–1981
Rank Major
Unit 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own)
Battles/wars Cyprus dispute

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 48th in the line of succession to the British throne, but at the time of his birth was seventh in the line of succession.

British royal family Family consisting of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom

The British royal family comprises Queen Elizabeth II and her close relations. There is no strict legal or formal definition of who is or is not a member of the British royal family.

Descendants of George V and Mary of Teck Wikimedia list article

This is a complete list of every known descendant of George V, the founder of the House of Windsor, and his queen Mary of Teck. The list includes deceased members, members who have become Catholic, royal and non-royal, legitimate and illegitimate members openly acknowledged by their parents. The table includes generational data and birthdays and image data. The list is more comprehensive than the line of succession to the British throne which is a list of living non-Catholic descendants of George V's sons.

Mary of Teck 20th-century queen consort of the United Kingdom and Empress of India

Mary of Teck was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India as the wife of King George V.

Contents

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.

Commonwealth realm sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II or her successors as its monarch

A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in which Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning constitutional monarch and head of state. Each realm is independent from the other realms. As of 2019, there are 16 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom. All 16 Commonwealth realms are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states. Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth.

Early life

Prince Michael was born during the Second World War on 4 July 1942, at Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire. [1] 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.

Coppins is a country house north of the village of Iver in Buckinghamshire, England, formerly a home of members of the British Royal Family, including Princess Victoria, Prince George, Duke of Kent, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.

Iver village and civil parish in Buckinghamshire, England

Iver is a large civil parish in the South Bucks district of Buckinghamshire, England. In addition to the central clustered village, the parish includes the largely residential neighbourhoods of Iver Heath and Richings Park.

Prince George, Duke of Kent Son of King George V and Queen Mary

Prince George, Duke of Kent, was a member of the British royal family, the fourth son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was the younger brother of Edward VIII and George VI. He served in the Royal Navy in the 1920s and then briefly served as a civil servant. He became Duke of Kent in 1934. In the late 1930s he served as an RAF officer, initially as a staff officer at RAF Training Command and then, from July 1941, as a staff officer in the Welfare Section of the RAF Inspector General's Staff. He was killed in a military air-crash on 25 August 1942.

At his baptism 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); [2] 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 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 baptism and said instead that it took place at "a private chapel in the country". [3] [4]

Windsor Castle Royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire

Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture.

Wilhelmina of the Netherlands Queen of the Netherlands 1898 - 1948

Wilhelmina was Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 until her abdication in 1948.

Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld spouse of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, prince-consort of the Netherlands

Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld was a German-born prince who was the consort of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands; they were the parents of four children, including Princess Beatrix, who later served as Queen of the Netherlands from 1980 to 2013.

Just seven weeks after Michael's birth, his father was killed in a plane crash near Caithness, Scotland, on 25 August 1942.

Caithness Historic county in Scotland

Caithness is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area of Scotland.

At the age of five, Prince Michael was a page boy at the wedding of his cousins, Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. [5]

Page boy (wedding attendant) young male attendant at a wedding

A page boy is a young male attendant at a wedding or a cotillion. This type of wedding attendant is less common than it used to be, but it is still a way of including young relatives or the children of friends in a wedding. Pages are often seen at British royal weddings, such as the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. At cotillions, there may be many pages, for effect.

Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms

Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.

Education and military service

Eton College Etoncollege.JPG
Eton College

He was educated at Sunningdale School and Eton College. [6] Besides being fluent in French and having a "working knowledge" [6] of German and Italian, he was the first member of the royal family to learn Russian. [6]

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. [7] [8]

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. [9] He is also Colonel-in-Chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Canada.

Activities and patronages

Prince Michael of Kent in 2008 Michael of Kent.jpg
Prince Michael of Kent in 2008

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. [10]

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. [11] Some of his patronages and presidencies include: the Kennel Club, [12] Children's Burns Trust, [13] Maritime Volunteer Service, [14] the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, [15] Life Saving Society, [16] Royal Automobile Club, [17] National Eye Research Centre, [18] Motor Sports Association, [19] Brooklands Museum Trust, [20] and the Light Aircraft Association. [21]

Marriage

Prince Michael, photographed by Allan Warren. HRH Prince Michael of Kent 6 Allan Warren.jpg
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 daughter of the Silesian nobleman Baron Gunther von Reibnitz and of his Austro-Hungarian wife, Countess Maria Szapáry de Muraszombath. 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. [22] 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 48th in line to the throne as of June 2018.

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:

Personal interests

Commercial

Prince Michael manages his own consultancy business, and undertakes business throughout the world. [23] He is also a qualified interpreter of Russian. [24] [25]

Masonic

Prince Michael is an active Freemason. [26] He is the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, [27] and Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex. [28]

Russia

Prince Michael of Kent after his investiture by President Dmitry Medvedev with the Order of Friendship at the Kremlin in 2009 Dmitry Medvedev and Michael of Kent.jpg
Prince Michael of Kent after his investiture by President Dmitry Medvedev with the Order of Friendship at the Kremlin in 2009

Prince Michael speaks fluent Russian [29] 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: George V, Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. 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. [30] He attended the 1998 burial of the Tsar and his family in St Petersburg. [31] He is an Honorary Member of the Romanov Family Association. [32] 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. [33] 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. [33]

Sport

Prince Michael was a part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst rowing team that won the Maiden Fours at Bedford in 1961. [34] 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. [35] 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.

Controversy

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. [36] 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." [37]

Prince Michael has been under close scrutiny by the media for financial assistance given to him by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. [38] 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. [39] 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." [40] [41]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Royal monogram Royal Monogram of Prince Michael of Kent.svg
Royal monogram

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".

Honours

Commonwealth

Foreign

Honorary military appointments

Canada
United Kingdom

Fellowships

Honorary academic degrees and awards

Degrees and appointments

  • 1998: Plekhanov Economics Academy, Honorary Doctorate [33]
  • 2003: Sinerghia Economics and Finance Institute, Honorary Professor [33]
  • 2012: St Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences, Honorary Doctorate [33]

Awards

  • 2002: The International Man of the Year Award, Plekhanov Economics Academy [33]
  • 2003: The "Glory of Russia", Plekhanov Economics Academy [33]

Arms

Issue

NameBirthMarriageIssue
Lord Frederick Windsor 6 April 197912 September 2009 Sophie Winkleman Maud Windsor
Isabella Windsor
Lady Gabriella Kingston 23 April 198118 May 2019Thomas Kingston

Ancestry

See also

Notes

  1. British princes such as Michael do not normally use a surname, but when one is needed, Windsor may be used.

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References

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Prince Michael of Kent
Born: 4 July 1942
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Estella Taylor
Line of succession to the British throne
(son of George, son of George V)
Succeeded by
Lord Frederick Windsor
Order of precedence in England and Wales
Preceded by
The Duke of Kent
Gentlemen
Prince Michael of Kent
Succeeded by
Justin Welby
as Archbishop of Canterbury
Order of precedence in Scotland
Preceded by
The Duke of Kent
Gentlemen
Prince Michael of Kent
Succeeded by
Lords Lieutenant
(see list here)
Order of precedence in Northern Ireland
Preceded by
The Duke of Kent
Gentlemen
Prince Michael of Kent
Succeeded by
Lords Lieutenant (see list here)
(during term of office and within bounds of counties and cities)