Prince Michael (b. 4 July 1942) is the younger brother of the Duke of Kent and paternal first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. As a five-year-old, he was a pageboy at the wedding of the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. He was educated at Sunningdale School and Eton, before entering the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, during his life he has always been active in learning languages and is an accredited Russian interpreter as well as being fluent in French and having a working knowledge of German and Italian.
On leaving Sandhurst in 1961, he was commissioned into the 11th Hussars in 1963 and saw active service in Germany, Hong Kong and Cyprus where his squadron formed part of a United Nations Peacekeeping Force. During his twenty-year, military career he also spent time with the Defence Intelligence Staff. He was also an active sportsman during his time in the Army and successfully represented the Hussars at many regattas. He was also a keen bobsleigh driver and represented his country in international competitions in the 1970s.
He now holds Honourary titles in all three services, being Hon. Rear Admiral of the Royal Naval Reserve, Hon. Air Marshal of RAF Benson, near to his home in Buckinghamshire, and Royal Honourary Colonel of the Honourable Artillery Company. On completing his military service in 1991, he left with the rank of Major.
Towards the end of his military service in 1978, the Prince married Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz. At the time this led to Prince Michael forfeiting his place in the order of succession as the Baroness was Roman Catholic and a divorcee, though subsequent Acts of Parliament have changed the situation and he is now 43rd in the order of succession. The couple have two children and two grandchildren; Lord Frederick Windsor works for the investment bank JP Morgan and is married to actress Sophie Winkleman, they have two daughters Maud & Isabella. Their daughter Lady Gabriella Windsor is a freelance journalist.
Though not a direct member of the Royal family and in receipt of an allowance both he and Princess Michael of Kent have undertaken work on behalf of the Royal Family especially abroad. The Prince has represented the Queen at State funerals, and together they have attended independence celebrations in Belize and the coronation of King Mswati III of Swaziland.
The Prince also has some patronages, which reflect his hobbies and favourite pastimes. He is a competitive rally driver and holds licences for both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and is President of the Royal Automobile Club, Motor Sports Association and the Brooklands Museum Trust, together with Light Aircraft Association and many Fellowships. He is keen to grant his time to these projects, and he combines this with running his own consultancy business. He offers guidance to many companies in industries such as construction, telecommunications, insurance, finance and tourism as well as the medical, aviation and automotive industries. In addition to the giving advice, he has also led business delegations to Eastern Europe and China.
The Prince lives in the same house in Buckinghamshire that he was born in and also has been granted an apartment in Kensington Palace, which he has had since his wedding, in acknowledgement of the assistance he and the Princess give the Royal Family.
By Peter Anderson