Prince Michael of Kent

For other people named Prince Michael, see Prince Michael (disambiguation).
Prince Michael

Prince Michael of Kent in 2014
Born (1942-07-04) 4 July 1942
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 of Greece and Denmark
Religion Church of England

Military career

Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1961–1981
Rank Major
Battles/wars Cyprus dispute

Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO CD (Michael George Charles Franklin; born 4 July 1942) is a paternal first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, being a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary. 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. 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.)

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);[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.

Activities and patronages

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.[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 charities and organisations.


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,[10] and Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex.[11]


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, 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.[12] 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 now 45th in line to the throne.

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:


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.[13] He attended the 1998 burial of the Tsar and his family in St Petersburg.[14] He is an Honorary Member of the Romanov Family Association.[15] 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.


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.[16]


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]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

As the 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".


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

Foreign orders

Honorary military appointments

United Kingdom




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


See also


  1. As a prince with the style of Royal Highness, 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.
  2. "Invitation to FDR to become Godfather". Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  3. The Times, 5 August 1942
  4. "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  5. " – 60 Facts, Fact 9". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48589. p. 5767. 21 April 1981. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  7. "Prince Michael of Kent, Biographies, The Royal Family, People of Influence - Debrett's".
  8. 1 2 3 The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60084. p. 4993. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  9. "Royal residences: Kensington Palace". Archived from the original on 26 July 2013.
  10. "GRAND LODGE OF MARK MASTER MASONS" (pdf). Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  11. "Provincial Grand Master & Executive". Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  12. 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.
  13. Russia: A 1,000 Year Chronicle by Martin Sixsmith page 220 paragraph 3, line 9
  14. "17 July 1998: The funeral of Tsar Nicholas II". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  15. "". External link in |title= (help)
  16. The Times, 21 January 1972
  17. Picknett, Prince, Prior & Brydon, p. 311.
  18. "Corrections to inaccurate media stories about the Royal Family". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  19. Hui, Sylvia. "Queen's cousin given financial assistance by exiled Russian tycoon". news website. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  20. staff writer; no by-line. "Prince Michael Gifted 320,000 pounds by Berezovsky – paper". News Website. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  21. "UK Queen's cousin takes £320k from Berezovksy". News Website. Retrieved 13 May 2012. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  22. The London Gazette: no. 52984. p. 11419. 7 July 1992. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  23. The London Gazette: no. 56951. p. 6753. 2 June 2003. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  24. "key appointments - The Essex and Kent Scottish - Essex & Kent Scottish".
  25. "key appointments - The Essex and Kent Scottish - Essex & Kent Scottish". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  26. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53638. p. 5467. 12 April 1994. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  27. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57297. p. 6503. 25 May 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  28. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 61172. p. 4818. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  29. The London Gazette: no. 52104. p. 7661. 10 April 1990. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  30. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56640. p. 8791. 23 July 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  31. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60091. p. 5510. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  32. "His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent - Military Involvement". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Michael of Kent.
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
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Duke of Kent
HRH Prince Michael of Kent
Succeeded by
Justin Welby
as Archbishop of Canterbury
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