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Princess Michael of Kent (Marie Christine; née Baroness Marie Christine Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz, 15 January 1945), is a member of the British Royal Family. She is married to Prince Michael of Kent, who is a grandson of King George V.

Princess Michael is an author, and has published several books on the royal families of Europe. She also undertakes lecture tours, and supports her husband in his public work. The Kents do not officially carry out royal duties, although they have on occasion represented Queen Elizabeth II at functions abroad.

Early life

Princess Michael of Kent was born on 15 January 1945, in Karlovy Varymarker (formerly Carlsbad), in then-German-populated Sudetenland, in what is now the Czech Republicmarker, near the family estates of her Austrian maternal grandmother, Princess Hedwig Windisch-Graetz. Princess Michael is the only daughter of Baron Günther Hubertus von Reibnitz (of German descent) and his Austro-Hungarian wife, Countess Maria Anna Carolina Franziska Walpurga Bernadette Szapáry von Muraszombath, Széchysziget und Szapár. The Princess's father also had a daughter named Margarita, born on 18 January 1924, from his first marriage to Margherita, Countess von Seherr-Thoß.

Through her mother, the Princess is a great14-granddaughter of Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henry II of FranceAnd to add further, great16-granddaughter of Agnes Sorel., and a great12-granddaughter of Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France (his wife), and also of painter Peter Paul Rubens. After her parents' divorce, her father, a Nazi party member who had held the rank of Sturmbannführer or “Assault (or Storm) Unit Leader” in the SSmarker during the Second World War, moved to Maforga, Mozambiquemarker. Marie Christine, her mother, and her brother, Baron Friedrich (Fred) von Reibnitz (now living in Canberramarker), moved to Australia, where her mother ran a beauty salon. Friedrich became an Australian Government official. He has a daughter, Princess Michael's niece Maya Scott, born 1978 in Canberra to a fellow civil servant, Mary Scott. Maya Scott is a photographer and artist based in Western Australia.

In Sydneymarker, Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz attended Rose Bay Conventmarker, a private Roman Catholic girls' school, run by nuns of the Sacred Heart (Sacré Coeur) order. She is approximately six feet (1.83 m) tall.

Marriage

Her first husband was the English banker Thomas Troubridge, the younger brother of Sir Peter Troubridge, 6th Baronet. They met during a boar hunt in Germany. They were married on 14 September 1971, at Chelsea Old Church, Londonmarker. The couple separated in 1973, were divorced in 1977, and the marriage was formally annulled by the Roman Catholic Church in May 1978 for undisclosed reasons.

One month after the annulment, on 30 June 1978, in a civil ceremony in Vienna, Austriamarker, she married Prince Michael of Kent, the son of Prince George, Duke of Kent (1902-1942) and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark (1906-1968). Prince Michael is a first cousin of the current British monarch, Elizabeth II. Upon marriage, she assumed the style and title of HRH Princess Michael of Kent, she took the Christian name of her husband because she was born a commoner. After receiving the Pope's permission, the couple later married in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 29 June 1983, at the Archbishop's House, London.

Since the Act of Settlement 1701 prohibits anyone who has married a Roman Catholic from succeeding to the throne, Prince Michael of Kent (at the time, 15th in the line of succession) lost his succession right upon his marriage to Marie Christine. However, their children retain their rights of succession because they are in communion with the Anglican Church.

TRH Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have two children:



Career

Royal duties

As the second son of King George V's fourth son, Prince Michael of Kent was never expected to undertake royal and official duties. Prince Michael has never received a parliamentary annuity or an allowance from the Privy Purse. Even so, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent represented The Queen at the independence celebrations in Belizemarker and at the Coronation of King Mswati III of Swaziland. Prince Michael also supports a large number of different charities and organisations, and Princess Michael supports him in this work.

The couple have the use of a grace and favour apartment at Kensington Palacemarker. On their behalf, 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. The rent goes to the Grant-in-aid, provided by the Government for the maintenance of the Occupied Royal Palaces. The rent is based on the current rate for commercially rented properties at Kensington Palace, and is recorded in the overall figures for commercial rents, in the Grant-in-aid annual report. 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," according to a statement released by the British Monarchy Media Centre.

In 2008, it was announced that to continue living from 2010 in their previously-subsidised Apartment 10, Prince and Princess Michael would be required to begin paying rent of £120,000 a year, the market rate of the five-bedroom, five-reception flat and many times more than the nominal amount of £70 per week they had been paying for the previous seven years. Queen Elizabeth II had previously been subsidising the £10,000 a month cost for the Kents to use their flat. Members of Parliament on the palace's committee had demanded the change after the Kents' rent had come to light. The Kents have lived in the apartment since 1979, only paying their utility bills prior to 2002.

Author

The princess is the author of three books, Crowned in a Far Country: Eight Royal Brides (Weidenfeld), and Cupid and the King - Five Royal Paramours (Harper Collins) and in 2004 released The Serpent and The Moon, a true sizzling story of love and betrayal in a royal family. She also writes a society column for www.bestselections.com, an on-line shopping website.



Before her marriage to Prince Michael, she was an interior decorator. According to a report in The Observer's Pendennis column in September 2007, she has taken up this career again due to looming financial pressures. Since early 2007 the Princess has been President of Partridge Fine Art, a gallery in London's New Bond Street.

Media coverage

Princess Michael of Kent has received considerable media attention in the years since her marriage to Prince Michael, much of it critical, although she does get sympathetic coverage in celebrity magazines. The media have attached to her the derogatory nickname "Princess Pushy". As an example of her sense of self-importance and by way of justification, they claim she once declared to an American fashion magazine that she had. "more royal blood in her veins than any person to marry into the royal family since Prince Philip" (which is, in fact, perfectly true). She is also reported to have said she was "probably the first tall person to marry into the clan" (also true if males are discounted). (The Queen reportedly has referred to her as "Our Val," a reference to the warrior-like Valkyries, and - sarcastically - as "a bit too grand for" the rest of the royal family.). She is the only royal cat-lover, owning a pedigree Siamese cat.

With the arrival of younger royals such as Diana, Princess of Wales, and Sarah, Duchess of York, the princess' public profile was lowered. However, in May 2004 she was in the news when a group of black diners in a New Yorkmarker restaurant alleged that the Princess had told them to "get back to the colonies" when complaining about their noise - an accusation she denied, however it made headlines around the world.Her account of the story was that she remarked to one of her fellow dinner guests that she would be glad to go back to the colonies in order to escape her noisy neighbours. A remarks which made no logical sense. She later described her accusers as a "group of rappers".

In September 2005, she appeared in the news again, after the News of the World reporter Mazher Mahmood apparently gained her confidence and claimed that she made a number of intemperate remarks, including calling Diana, Princess of Wales, "bitter" and "nasty".

In April, 2006, she was photographed in Venice with Mikhail Kravchenko, a Russian millionaire tycoon, 21 years her junior, holding hands, kissing and taking a gondola ride with him. In the Daily Mail, "sources close to the Princess" said that they were discussing business together.

Her latest newsmaking statement came in October 2006, in an interview for US TV, in which she claimed that her children were the brightest royals with the best university degrees. Like most of her remarks, the statement's truth was not disputed, only that she failed to exert a degree of politeness and discretion when making them.

On hearing that the research of Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth seems to indicate that rank among female baboons is hereditary, the Princess said, "I always knew that when people who aren’t like us claim that hereditary rank is not part of human nature, they must be wrong. Now you’ve given me evolutionary proof!"

Ancestry

The Princess is of mixed German, Austrian, Czech, and Hungarian aristocratic ancestry.




Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles

  • 15 January 1945 – 14 September 1971: Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz
  • 14 September 1971 – 30 June 1978: Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz, Mrs Thomas Troubridge
  • 30 June 1978 –: Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent
In full: Her Royal Highness Princess Michael George Charles Franklin of Kent

See also



External links



Notes

References




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