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 81)
Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire
Spouse Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz (m. 1978)
Issue Lord Frederick Windsor
Lady Gabriella Windsor
Full name
Michael George Charles Franklin[notes 1]
House Windsor
Father Prince George, Duke of Kent
Mother Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent
Religion Church of England

Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. 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.

Early life

Prince Michael was born on 4 July 1942, at Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire.[1] 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);[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 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."[3][4]

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

Education and military service

Eton College

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.[6][7]

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


Royal duties

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 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.[9]

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:


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.


Prince Michael is an active Freemason. He is the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons,[14] and Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex.[15]


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 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.[16] He was reinstated to the line of succession on 26 March 2015 with the successful passing of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 and is now 45th in line.

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:


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 (some sources quote £76) for the use of their apartments at Kensington Palace, a committee of British MPs demanded they be evicted.[17] 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."[18]

Prince Michael has been under close scrutiny by the media for financial assistance given to him by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.[19] 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.[20] 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."[21]


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.[22]


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

Prince Michael 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 discovered in 1979, the remains were later identified by DNA using, among others, Prince Michael's blood sample for recognition.[23] He attended the 1998 burial of the Tsar and his family in St Petersburg.[24] He is an Honorary Member of the Romanov Family Association.[25]

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.


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

Foreign orders

Honorary military appointments

United Kingdom



Arms of Prince Michael of Kent
Coat of Arms of Michael of Kent.svg
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 of a Grandchild of the Sovereign
On the coronet of children of other sons of the Sovereign, composed of four crosses-pattées alternated with four strawberry leaves a lion statant guardant or, crowned with the like coronet and differenced with a label as in the Arms.
The Royal Supporters differenced with the like coronet and label.
The Royal Victorian Order circlet.
Other elements
The Royal Arms differenced with a five point label - the usual 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.
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.


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


Family of Prince Michael of Kent
16. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
8. Edward VII of the United Kingdom
17. Victoria of the United Kingdom
4. George V of the United Kingdom
18. Christian IX of Denmark
9. Princess Alexandra of Denmark
19. Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel
2. Prince George, Duke of Kent
20. Duke Alexander of Württemberg
10. Francis, Duke of Teck
21. Countess Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde
5. Princess Mary of Teck
22. Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
11. Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge
23. Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel
1. Prince Michael of Kent
24. Christian IX of Denmark (= 18)
12. George I of Greece
25. Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel (= 19)
6. Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark
26. Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia
13. Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia
27. Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg
3. Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark
28. Alexander II of Russia
14. Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia
29. Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine
7. Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia
30. Frederick Francis II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
15. Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
31. Princess Augusta Reuss of Köstritz

See also


  1. As a titled royal, Michael needs no surname, but when one is used, it is Windsor.


  1. The London Gazette: no. 35623. p. 2987. 7 July 1942. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
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  3. The Times, 5 August 1942
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  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48589. p. 5767. 21 April 1981. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  7. Debrett's People of Today
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60084. p. 4993. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
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  11. The Big Red L Company pioneer BTEC in Driving Science course in Kent
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  16. 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.
  17. Picknett, Prince, Prior & Brydon, p. 311.
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  22. The Times, 21 January 1972
  23. Russia: A 1,000 Year Chronicle by Martin Sixsmith page 220 paragraph 3, line 9
  24. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  25. Romanov Family Association
  26. The London Gazette: no. 52984. p. 11419. 7 July 1992. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  27. The London Gazette: no. 56951. p. 6753. 2 June 2003. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  28. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  29. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 61172. p. 4818. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  30. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57297. p. 6503. 25 May 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  31. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53638. p. 5467. 12 April 1994. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  32. The London Gazette: no. 52104. p. 7661. 10 April 1990. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  33. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60091. p. 5510. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  34. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  35. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56640. p. 8791. 23 July 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2015.

External links

Prince Michael of Kent
Born: 4 July 1942
Lines of succession
Preceded by Line of succession to the British throne
(son of George, son of George V)
Succeeded by
Lord Frederick Windsor
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
HRH Prince Michael of Kent
Succeeded by
Justin Welby
as Archbishop of Canterbury