Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Prince Michael of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent does not normally carry out royal duties on behalf of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II. Instead, 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 of Kent was born on July 4, 1942 at Iver, Buckinghamshire. His father was HRH Prince George, Duke of Kent, the fourth eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary. His mother was HRH The Duchess of Kent (née Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark), a daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia. As a grandchild of a British sovereign, he was styled as a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with the prefix His Royal Highness.
At his christening in August 1942, one of his godfathers was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at that time the President of the United States of America. His father, the Duke of Kent was killed in an aeroplane crash near Caithness, Scotland on 25 August 1942, a few days after his christening
Education and Military Service
Prince Michael entered the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in January 1961 and 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 the UN 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 of the Royal Naval Reserve and in 2002 he was made Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Benson. In addition, Prince Michael is President of SSAFA (Soldiers', Sailors' & Airmen's Families' Association) Forces Help and President of the Royal Patriotic Fund. His Royal Highness is also Colonel-in-Chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Canada.
As the third son of King George V's fourth son, there was never an expectation that Prince Michael of Kent would undertake royal and official duties. Prince Michael has never received a parliamentary annuity or an allowance from the Privy Purse. Despite this, both his elder brother, HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and HRH Princess Alexandra, carry out official royal duties and receive parliamentary annuities. As a member of the Royal Family however, the Prince does receive VIP treatment wherever he goes. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office arrange for the Prince to receive VIP welcomes whenever they travel abroad, and they have use of British Embassy staff when required. The Prince was also gifted a grace and favour apartment at Kensington Palace upon his marriage in 1978.
Despite this, Prince Michael of Kent has represented the Queen at state funerals in India, Cyprus and Swaziland and, with his wife, HRH Princess Michael of Kent, represented The Queen at the independence celebrations in Belize and at the Coronation of King Mswati II of Swaziland. Prince Michael of Kent also supports a large number of different charities and organisations. He is Commonwealth President of the Royal Life Saving Society. His patronages include the Harefield Research Foundation, the Children's Fire and Burns Trust, First Gear and the World Monuments Fund (UK). He is President of SSAFA Forces Help, the National Eye Research Centre, the RAC Foundation, the Kennel Club and Brooklands Museum Trust.
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 of Kent manages his own consultancy business, and undertakes business throughout the world. He is also a qualified interpreter of Russian.
On 30 June 1978, Prince Michael of Kent was married at a civil ceremony at the Rathaus, Vienna, Austria, to Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz (15 January 1945-), the daughter of Silesian nobleman Baron Gunther Hubertus von Reibnitz and his Hungarian wife, Countess Marianne von Szapary Muraszombath Széchysziget und Szapar . The marriage was controversial because the Baroness was not only a Roman Catholic, but also a divorcée. She was previously married to banker Thomas Troubridge ; they separated in 1973, divorced in 1977, and had their marriage annulled a year later, two months before her marriage to Prince Michael. Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, which governs the laws of the succession to the British throne, Prince Michael forfeited his place in the line of succession through marriage to a Roman Catholic.
However, his wife remains a Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and is styled HRH Princess Michael of Kent. TRH Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have two children, both of whom remain in line to throne because they are in communion with the Church of England:
- The Lord Frederick Windsor, born 6 April 1979.
- The Lady Gabriella Windsor, born 23 April 1981.
Both Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have received 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 revealed that the couple only pay a peppercorn rent of £69 per week for the use of their apartments at Kensington Palace, a committee of MPs demanded they be evicted.
Titles and Honours
- His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent (1942 - present)
Honorary Military Appointments
- Honorary Commodore, Royal Naval Reserve
- Colonel-in-Chief, The Essex and Kent Scottish
- Honorary Rear Admiral, Royal Naval Reserve
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