Thursday, July 4, 2013

Royal Profile: Prince Michael of Kent

Prince Michael George Charles Franklin of Kent was born on 4 July 1942, the younger son of Prince George, Duke of Kent and Princess Mariana, Duchess of Kent. He has an older brother, Prince Edward (now The Duke of Kent) and older sister, Princess Alexandra of Kent. 

Unlike his brother and sister, who were 6 and 7 years old at the time, he more than likely has little to no memories of his father, as he was only 6 weeks old when he died in a plane crash {Source}. Only a few weeks prior to his father's death was he christened with the following as his godparents:
  • King George VI (his paternal uncle, father of Queen Elizabeth II)
  • King Haakon VII of Norway (his great-uncle)
  • Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester (paternal uncle)
  • Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt {Source}
  • Victoria Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven (his grandfather's cousin)
  • Queen Fredrica of Greece 
  • Lady Patricia Ramsay (his grandfather King George V's cousin)

His first official major royal duty was at the age of five, when he acted as a page boy in the wedding of his cousins, Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh-he is a first cousin paternally of Queen Elizabeth and a maternal first cousin 1x removed from The Duke of Edinburgh (his father was a brother of Princess Mariana's father).

He attended Sunningdale School and Eton College before entering the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1961. In 1963, he entered the miltary officially as a commissoned officer for the 11th Hussars, where he took tours of duty in Germany, Hong Kong and Cyprus. He served a 20 year service in the military, undertaking various tasks, and retired in 1981 as a Major. In 1994, his cousin appointed him an Honorary Commodore (now known as Honary Rear Admiral) for the Royal Navy Reserve, and Honoary Air Comodore of RAF Benson (and was promoted again in 2012 to honory Air Marshal). In 2009, he was appointed Honorary Regimental Colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company. He is also colonel-in-chief of the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment in Canada.

Unlike his siblings, he receives no money from the British government, however, when he married in 1978, his cousin gave him an apartment in 1978, of which he and his wife only paid for utilities up until recently. He has represented his cousin at state occasions in various countries and supports numerous organizations. Most recently, Prince Michael paid a visit to Jamacia.

He married Baroness Marie-Christine von Riebnitz, the daughter of a Silesian nobleman an Hungarian wife. At the time of their marriage, she was not only Catholic, but a divorcée, and the succession rules barred her husband from succession. However, with the rule changes in 2013, neither factor matters, and once it goes into effect Prince Michael will regain his place in line for the throne. Together they have two children, who are both in line for the throne:
  • Lord Fredrik Windsor (1979) (married in 2009, expecting his first child in 2013)
  • Lady Gabriella Windsor (1980)

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