|Princess Michael of Kent|
1999 portrait of Princess Michael by Allan Warren
|Born||Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz|
15 January 1945
Karlsbad, Nazi Germany (now Czech Republic)
|House||Reibnitz family (by birth)|
Windsor (by marriage)
|Father||Baron Günther von Reibnitz|
|Mother||Countess Maria Szapáry von Muraszombath|
|Occupation||Author, interior designer|
Princess Michael of Kent (born Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz; 15 January 1945) is a member of the British royal family of German, Austrian and Hungarian descent. She is married to Prince Michael of Kent, a grandson of King George V. Princess Michael was an interior designer before becoming an author; she has written several books on European royalty. She does lecture tours as well as supporting her husband in his public duties.
Baroness Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz was born on 15 January 1945 in Karlsbad, a town then in German-populated Sudetenland and now known as Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. She was born shortly before the defeat of Nazi Germany and end of World War II in Europe, near the family estates of her Austrian maternal grandmother, Princess Hedwig von Windisch-Graetz; the expulsion of Germans resident in Czechoslovakia followed later that year. Princess Michael of Kent is the younger daughter of Baron Günther Hubertus von Reibnitz (Freiherr) by his second wife Countess Maria Anna Carolina Franziska Walburga Bernadette (1911-1998), daughter of Count Friedrich Szapáry von Muraszombath, Széchysziget und Szapár, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Saint Petersburg at the outbreak of the First World War.
Princess Michael's father was a Nazi party member and an Army officer during the Second World War. The parents divorced in 1946; along with her mother and elder brother, Baron Friedrich (Fred) von Reibnitz (1942), Princess Michael moved to Australia where she was educated at Kincoppal School. Marie Christine moved to London to study History of Fine and Decorative Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Her first husband was the English banker Thomas Troubridge (1939-2015), younger brother of Sir Peter Troubridge, 6th Baronet. They met at a boar hunt in Germany and were married on 14 September 1971 at Chelsea Old Church, London. The couple separated in 1973 and were civilly divorced in 1977 (the marriage was ecclesiastically annulled by the Pope in May 1978).
One month after the annulment, on 30 June 1978, at a civil ceremony in Vienna, Austria, 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 Queen Elizabeth II. Michael presented Marie Christine with a two-stone sapphire-and-diamond ring made from stones that belonged to his mother, Princess Marina. For the ball held after the wedding, she wore the City of London diamond fringe tiara and a 70s style dress. Upon their marriage, she was accorded the style and title of Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, the female equivalent to her husband's title: not being of royal birth, she is therefore not titled Princess Marie Christine. After receiving Pope John Paul II's permission, the couple later received a blessing of their marriage in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 29 June 1983 at Archbishop's House, London.
Since the Act of Settlement 1701 prohibited anyone who married a Roman Catholic from succeeding to the throne, Prince Michael of Kent (at that time, 15th in the line of succession) lost his succession rights upon marrying Marie Christine. Prince Michael was reinstated to the line of succession to the British throne on 26 March 2015 with the successful passing of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013. Their children are members of the Church of England and have retained their rights of succession since birth.
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have two children:
Prince and Princess Michael represented the Queen at the Belize independence celebrations 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 his work.
Prince Michael has never received a parliamentary annuity or an allowance from the Privy Purse. The couple have had the use of a five-bedroom, five-reception grace and favour apartment at Kensington Palace. The Queen had paid the rent for the apartment at a market rate of £120,000 annually from her own private funds with the couple paying the nominal amount of £70 per week. 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 Prince and Princess Michael would be required to begin paying rent of £120,000 a year. 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, paying only their utility bills prior to 2002.
Princess Michael of Kent is a Roman Catholic, and attended several events during Pope Benedict XVI's historic state visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010. She attended Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, 18 September, where she was seated in the first row among other dignitaries, including Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor, the Duke of Norfolk and former Prime Minister Tony Blair; the Pope gave them an audience after Mass. On the last day of the Pope's visit, 19 September, she attended the open-air Mass of beatification for Cardinal John Henry Newman at Cofton Park, Birmingham. Princess Michael was personally involved in the beatification process and attended several other celebrations relating to his beatification before and after the Cofton Park Mass, including a commemorative concert of the Dream of Gerontius at Birmingham City Hall on 18 September. She also attended a civic dinner with invited dignitaries and bishops in Birmingham, before attending the Mass and meeting the Pope. Previously, in November 2008, the Princess attended the translation of remains of Cardinal Newman at Birmingham Oratory along with other guests of honour, including Francis Campbell, HM Ambassador to the Holy See; the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Lady Mayoress; Sir Ivor Roberts, President of Trinity College, Oxford and formerly British Ambassador to Italy; and Sir Derek Morris, Provost of Oriel College, Oxford. After the Translation Mass, Princess Michael was shown round Cardinal Newman's Room and Chapel and visited Newman's library.
Princess Michael of Kent represented the Duke of Edinburgh, at the launching ceremony of the Green Pilgrimage Network in Assisi, Italy, on 1 November 2011. It was organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), founded by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1995, in association with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), of which Prince Philip was formerly President. The Princess spoke on behalf of the Duke of Edinburgh and led the opening procession.
The media 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". After being told about Princess Michael's lineage, the Queen reportedly joked that she was "a bit too grand for us".
In February 2005, she gave a series of interviews to promote her book, in one of which she said that Britons should be more concerned about the bloodlines of their children, and claimed that the British media were "excited" by Prince Harry's decision to wear a swastika for a fancy dress party because of the British press' "ownership structure". She claimed that "there wouldn't have been so much fuss made" had he worn the hammer and sickle.
In January 2014, the Princess faced criticism after her interview with Conrad Black. She described the older generation of the Royal Family as "boring for most people". Princess Michael also said that she was "very fond of" Diana, Princess of Wales, but also stated that the late Princess had "little education", and both she and Sarah, Duchess of York, were abandoned by their mothers at a young age, which made it hard for them to deal with their status as royal figures.
In September 2015, the Princess was in the news for stating publicly that animals do not have rights because they do not pay taxes, have bank accounts or vote.
In December 2017, the Princess was criticized for wearing a blackamoor brooch with a stylised figure of an African man to a Christmas banquet at Buckingham Palace. Meghan Markle, the current Duchess of Sussex, a mixed-race American woman of African and European descent, and at the time the fiancée of Prince Harry, was present at the dinner.
The Princess is author of three non-fiction 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 story of love and betrayal in a royal family, and three novels, The Queen Of Four Kingdoms, Agnès Sorel: Mistress of Beauty and Quicksilver. She has also penned a number of articles for the Orient Express magazine.
Before her marriage to Prince Michael, she worked as an interior decorator. According to a report in The Observer's Pendennis column in September 2007, the Princess resumed decorating under her original company, Szapar Designs. From 2007 to 2011, the Princess served as President of Partridge Fine Art, a gallery in London's New Bond Street until it went into administration having suffered substantial multi-year losses. In 2008, the Princess was engaged as a consultant by Galerie Gmurzynska in Switzerland, and later became their international ambassador. She also served on the Board of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Marie Christine whose husband has a strong interest in Russia was reportedly taking Russian lessons as of May 2012. The Princess also goes on lecture tours around the world and in countries such as the United States, Canada, Argentina, Greece, Austria, Switzerland and Russia where she talks about historical subjects at universities, museums and galleries to promote her books and endorse her charities.
|Lord Frederick Windsor||6 April 1979||12 September 2009||Sophie Winkleman||Maud Windsor|
|Lady Gabriella Kingston||23 April 1981||18 May 2019||Thomas Kingston|
|Ancestors of Princess Michael of Kent|