We take a closer look at the Queen’s first cousin, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent.
The British Royal Family divide opinion, that much is clear. Whether you’re a fan of the British monarchy or not, one thing that is abundantly clear is the fact that they do wonders for the British economy and are able to use their ‘leverage’ to help build relationships, gain trade and even bail us out in diplomatic issues because of the fact that they are so revered worldwide.
Now, when we think of the British monarchy, we, of course, think of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second, along with her husband, Prince Phillip, her son Prince Charles, and her grandsons Prince William and Harry. These members of the Royal Family are in the public eye the most, yet the Royal Family extends way beyond these prominent, or rather, senior members.
One member of the monarchy that isn’t in the public eye anywhere near as much, is His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent. He might not be a household name, but the dashing and dapper Prince certainly has his legions of fans. Here’s a detailed look at HRH Prince Michael of Kent.
Who is Prince Michael of Kent?
Prince Michael George Charles Franklin is a paternal first cousin of the Queen of England. His grandfather was George V and his Grandmother Queen Mary. As of the time of writing this article he is currently 48th in line of succession to the British throne. So, it’s safe to assume that we probably won’t see him sat on the throne anytime soon. To give an indication of how times change, when the prince was born, he was seventh in line.
He has been known to represent the Queen at certain commonwealth functions in realms which take place outside of the United Kingdom. If he looks familiar to you, or if his voice sounds familiar, he has been known to present documentaries on the TV-based around royal families of Europe.
He is also an extremely charitable individual as he is currently involved in over 100 charities and large organizations. The Prince, despite being the ripe age of 77, is no stranger to hard work.
Each year he undertakes roughly 200 working engagements for various not-for-profit organizations. These are actually funded by his very own household. Interestingly, the prince is also distantly related to the Romanovs, who are the last imperial family of Russia.
Prince Michael of Kent’s Early Life
The Prince was born when the Second World War was taking place. He was born on 4th of July, 1942, at Coppins House in Buckinghamshire.
Prince Michael was the third child of Prince George, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina, the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark. Sadly, when Prince Michael was just seven weeks of age, his father tragically died in a plane crash in Scotland.
When Prince Michael was five years of age, he was the pageboy at the wedding of his cousins Lt Philip Mountbatten, and Princess Elizabeth. Today, you probably know them as Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II.
As far as education goes, Prince Michael was educated at Eton College and Sunningdale School. Because of his Russian roots, the Prince was the very first member of the British Royal Family to learn to speak Russian fluently. He also speaks fluent French and is very good at speaking Italian and German.
Like many other members of the British Royal Family, Prince Michael of Kent has a rich and storied background in the military. In 1961, the Prince entered The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
In 1963 he was commissioned into the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own). He served proudly and was not afraid to get his hands dirty and get stuck in. He actually saw active service in numerous countries and locations, including Hong Kong, Germany and Cyprus where his squadron actually formed part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in 1971.
The Prince is quite proud of his military service in the British Military. He served on many tours of duty during the course of his career, which extended more than two decades. He presently holds a number of military positions, including Royal Honorary Colonel and Honorary Commodore, among others.
In 1981, the Prince of Kent officially retired from active service in the military, holding the rank of Major. What many people also don’t realize is that the Prince is also Colonel-in-Chief for the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Canada.
On the 30th of June, 1978, Prince Michael of Kent married Baroness Christine Von Reibnitz at a civil ceremony at the Rathaus, Vienna, Austria.
Interestingly, the couple also received a blessing of their marriage on the 29th of June, 1983 at Archbishop’s House, London, after being granted permission from Pope John Paul II in a Roman Catholic ceremony.
Baroness Christine, at the time of her wedding, was actually a divorcee, as she had previously been married to a banker named Thomas Troubridge. The two divorced in 1977. With permission of the Roman Catholic Church, a year later their marriage was annulled. Her marriage was only annulled a couple of months before she married Prince Michael.
This hot topic of discussion at the time and caused a decent amount of controversy and some might even say scandal. Remember, this was way before social media and smart technology, so not everybody was aware of her previous relationship.
Interestingly, Prince Michael forfeited his place in succession to the throne when he married Christine. This was due to the fact that she was a Roman Catholic. To help indicate how times are changing however, back in 2015, with the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act coming into force, the Prince had his place in line to the crown reinstated.
Currently, he is 48th in line, so we probably won’t be seeing him sitting on the throne anytime soon, but it is a nice indication of how times are changing for the better in most people’s eyes.
Prince and Princess Michael are happily married and have two children together. Both have been brought up and raised as members of the C of E, or rather the Church of England.
Because of this, since birth, both of their children have also been featured in the line of succession to the throne. Their children are Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Kingston.
Interests and Professional Life
We mentioned earlier how, despite approaching 80, the Prince likes to keep busy and we’re now going to look at a few ways in which he does precisely that.
To begin with, he runs his own consultancy business and is often travelling all over the globe to undertake various jobs because of his business. He also works on the side as a Russian interpreter. See, we told you how he was fluent in Russian.
The Prince is also an active freemason and is the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. Wow, try saying that three times after a few too many glasses of sherry! He is also the Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex.
If you take a look at the Prince, even now it’s evident that he keeps himself very fit and he looks to be in great shape. Not only did his two decades in the military help him, but so too did his sporting background.
The Prince was a member of the Royal Military Sandhurst rowing team. In fact, he was a part of the team that won the Maiden Fours at Bedford, back in 1961. He also competed in Bobsleigh and was on the non-travelling reserves team for the 1972 Winter Olympics.
In 1970, he also took part in the London to Mexico World Cup Rally, where he entered the event driving an Austin Maxi. Despite his best efforts, he failed to complete the rally.
Patronages and Charities
Now, because of his position in the family, it was generally not expected that Prince Michael would undertake any engagements on behalf of the British Royal Family.
Despite this, though, the Prince has performed numerous royal duties on an official capacity at Commonwealth realms other than the UK. He has also represented the Queen overseas.
One such example is in 1977, where he represented her at the state funeral of the president of India. He doesn’t however, receive an allowance from the British Privy Purse or a parliamentary annuity.
The Prince is an extremely charitable individual and he supports a number of charities and organizations, as does his wife. Just a few of his patronages include:
- Children’s Fire and Burns Trust
- Kennel Club
- Life-Saving Society
- Royal Automobile Club
- National Eye Research Centre
- And many more…
The Prince has also taken part in numerous fundraising challenges. One such example is when he led a rally of Bentley cars from the UK to Moscow. The rally covered more than 1,700 miles in 10 days. Through this, they raised a staggering £25,000 for the Children’s Fire and Burns Trust.
In total, the Prince is involved in roughly 100 charities, whilst Princess Michael is involved in around 45 herself. Between them, they raise significant amounts of money and awareness for various charities, which you can’t help but admire.
Feature Image: Allan warren, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons