Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire
|Religion||Church of England|
|Spouse||Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz|
His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent GCVO was born on 4 July 1942 at the family home in Iver, Buckinghamshire. He was christened Michael George Charles Franklin, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of his godfathers. He was educated at Sunningdale School and then at Eton College. Prince Michael is a cousin to both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and was a page at their wedding.
His father, Prince George, Duke of Kent, was the fourth son of King George V and his mother, Princess Marina, was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and of Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia. Related through his grandmother to Tsar Nicholas II, Prince Michael has always had a strong emotional attachment to Russia, which he first visited in 1992, following the collapse of communism. His family background, his knowledgeable interest in Russia and its history and his mastery of the language have all helped to make him a respected figure in that country. Prince Michael attended the formal re-interment in St Petersburg in 1998 of the bones of the murdered Romanov family.
Prince Michael is Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons and Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Middlesex.
Permission to earn
Although Prince Michael has formally represented the Queen on several state occasions abroad, the Prince does not receive the annual parliamentary allowances, which are received by other members of the Royal Family and then reimbursed by the Queen to the Treasury. Prince Michael, therefore, has the Queen’s permission to earn his own living. As chairman of his own private company, he offers specialist consultancy advice to a number of commercial concerns operating in countries and in sectors in which he himself has a close interest and wide experience. These sectors include construction, telecommunications, insurance, finance and tourism as well as the medical, aviation and automotive industries.
A qualified Russian interpreter, also fluent in French and with a working knowledge of German and Italian, the Prince travels extensively on business and has led delegations of British businessmen to several Eastern European countries, and to China. As Founder Patron of the Genesis Initiative he is also heavily involved in the promotion of small businesses for the SME sector, with special reference to the export side. He has always had strong emotional ties to Russia, which he first visited in 1992, following the collapse of communism. Now Patron of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, he was presented in 2009 with the Order of Friendship by President Medvedev. In 2015, Prince Michael became Patron of the recently-established Brazzaville Foundation, which aims to resolve conflicts within and between States.
Prince Michael devotes a high proportion of his time to the support of charities and not-for-profit organisations. These range from The Kennel Club to the Children’s Burns Trust, the Maritime Volunteer Service and to the Assocation of Dunkirk Little Ships. His commitment is particularly strong in the fields of conservation and animal welfare – for instance to save and support the Siberian tiger. As well as being Commonwealth President of the Royal Life Saving Society, Prince Michael is President of the Royal Automobile Club, and Patron of the National Eye Research Centre among many other organisations. His Fellowships include those of the Institute of the Motor Industry, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institute of Linguists.
In July 1999, Prince Michael led a Bentley Rally from Brooklands Museum to Moscow, covering the 1,700 miles in ten days and raising more than £25,000 for the Children’s Fire and Burns Trust.
In 2003, His Royal Highness led a Rally of fifteen vintage Bentleys from Yekaterinburg to St Petersburg, as part of the celebrations for the Tercentenary of St Petersburg, in order to raise funds for the Children’s Fire and Burns Trust and St Gregory’s Foundation, as well as other charities along the route. The total amount raised was over £120,000.
In May 2005, Prince Michael as Royal Patron, took part in the White Knights Ride in Russia, starting from Vladivostok and finishing at Khabarovsk. The rally was to raise funds for The Prince Michael of Kent Foundation, set up to benefit health, education, culture and heritage in Russia, and is administered by CAF. The money raised was also donated to the London’s Royal Marsden Hospital, in great need of a new rapid diagnostic scanner, and Britain’s Charities Aid Foundation Russia (CAF).
A keen sportsman, Prince Michael represented the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in rowing, and was part of the team that won the Maiden Fours at Bedford in 1961. He is now Patron of the Thames Rowing Club. Prince Michael represented Great Britain as a bobsleigh driver for many years and was a reserve for the 1972 Olympics. As a vintage car enthusiast, he was part of the team in 1992 that broke the 1,000-mile record for cars over 5,000cc in a 1929 Bentley Special. A competitive rally driver, he is also a qualified pilot of both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Some of his Presidencies, such as those of the Motor Sports Association, the Brooklands Museum Trust and the Light Aircraft Association reflect these personal leisure-time interests of the Prince.
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.
In 1994, Prince Michael was made Honorary Commodore of the re-structured Royal Naval Reserve. In June 2004, he was promoted to Honorary Rear Admiral of the Royal Naval Reserve and in 2006 was made Commodore-in-Chief of the combined Maritime Reserves.
In 2002 he was made Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Benson and in 2012 was promoted to Honorary Air Marshall of the Royal Air Force.
In 2009, Prince Michael was made Regimental Colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company and their Royal Honorary Colonel in 2012. His Royal Highness is Senior Colonel of the King's Royal Hussars. Prince Michael was also appointed Honorary Colonel in the Army with effect from 10th November 2010. Prince Michael is Colonel-in-Chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish, Ontario, Canada.
In 1978, in Vienna, Prince Michael married Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz, daughter of Baron von Reibnitz and the former Countess Marianne Szapary.
Prince and Princess Michael have two children: Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Windsor. The family live at Kensington Palace in London.
Eighth in line to the throne at the time of his birth, the Prince lost his right of succession following his marriage because the Princess is a Roman Catholic and the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701) excluded those who married Roman Catholics from the Succession. However, this provision was repealed by the Succession to the Crown Act (2013) and the Prince's place in the Succession was reinstated. He is currently 43rd in line of succession.