Princess Michael of Kent celebrates her 74th birthday on Tuesday, 15 January 2019.
Princess Michael of Kent was born Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz in Karlovy Vary on 15 January 1945 in the Czech Republic (formerly known as Karlsbad in what was known as the German-populated Sudetenland or Bohemia).
She was the second daughter of Baron Günther Hubertus von Reibneitz by his second wife, Countess Maria Anna Carolina Franzsika Walburga Bernadette.
Barton von Reibnetz had an older daughter, Margarita, by his first marriage and a son, Frederich, Marie Christine’s older brother.
Her parents divorced in 1946 so her mother and older brother and Marie-Christine moved to the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney Australia. Her mother established a beauty salon whilst Marie Christine attended the top private Catholic girls’ school, Kincoppal Rose Bay.
She studied History of Fine and Decorative Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, before working as an interior designer.
In 1971, she married her first husband old Etonian banker Tom Troubridge. The marriage lasted two years, but it was another five before it was annulled.
She married Prince Michael of Kent, Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousin, in a civil ceremony in 1978. Prince Michael gave up his right of succession to the British throne as he married a Catholic.
They have two children, Lord Frederick and Lady Gabriella, and two grandchildren, Maud and Isabella Windsor.
Their daughter, Lady Gabriella, will marry her fiancee, Thomas Kingston, in early 2019 during spring.
Their engagement was announced in August 2018, after Mr Kingston proposed on the Isle of Sark.
Princess Micheal supports her husband with his public duties, including representing Queen Elizabeth at the Belize independence celebrations in 1992 and attending King Mswati III of Swaziland’s coronation on 25 April 1986, and supporting numerous charities and organisations.
She has written seven books – both fiction and non-fiction – mostly focusing on European royalty and currently undertakes lecture tours around the world to give talks on historical subjects, promote her books and endorse her charities.
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent live in a grace and favour apartment at Kensington Palace, near the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official London residence.
The princess was severely criticised for wearing a blackamoor brooch (deemed racist as it featured a stylised figure of an African man) to a Christmas Dinner at Buckingham Palace in December 2017, especially as Prince Harry’s fiancee, Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, was present.
To find out more about Princess Michael of Kent’s books, please visit http://www.princessmichael.org.uk/.