King Charles III is the first descendant of the Russian imperial family of the Romanovs to ascend the British throne. How is this possible?
In the last three centuries, it was not uncommon for first, second and third cousins of royal families in different countries to marry. The logic was both to preserve the “pure” royal line and to create political and economic alliances.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were third cousins. Elizabeth II’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, were cousins, while Nicholas II and Alexandra were Queen Victoria’s grandchildren, making them cousins even though they came from different royal families and countries.
How is Charles related to the Romanovs?
Charles III’s connection with the Romanovs comes from his mother and father. Prince Philip was related to the Romanovs through all four of his grandparents. His paternal grandmother was Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna, granddaughter of Nicholas I. His paternal grandfather, George I of Greece, was the brother-in-law of Alexander III – who was also related to Queen Mary.
George V was Nicholas II’s favorite cousin. Both men were grandsons of Queen Victoria. Their resemblance was uncanny and they often changed outfits to play pranks on the staff.
However, neither George V nor Queen Mary were direct descendants of the Romanovs. And although Charles III is a descendant of the Romanovs, he is not the closest relative of the last Russian tsar in the British royal family.
He was Elizabeth II’s first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent – a man who also bears a striking resemblance to Nicholas II and George V.
Who is Prince Michael of Kent?
Born in 1942 at the height of World War II, he served as page boy at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the age of five. He was educated at Eton and the Officer Cadet School of Mons before serving almost two decades in the army.
In 1978, he married Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz, daughter of Baron von Reibnitz and the former Countess Marianne Shapari, in Vienna. The couple have two children, Lord Frederick Windsor (1979) and Lady Gabriella Windsor (1981).
Originally eighth in line to the throne, the prince lost his right to succession after marriage because the princess is Catholic. The Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701) excluded those who married Catholics from the right of inheritance. However, this provision was repealed by the Succession to the Crown Act (2013) and the prince’s place in the succession was restored.
The prince does not receive the annual parliamentary allowances that other members of the royal family receive. His company offers specialist advice on a range of commercial issues such as education, business and the arts in several countries.
How close are Prince Michael and Nicholas II?
Nicholas II was the cousin of Prince Michael’s three grandfathers. Michael’s parents are Prince George, Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. Marina was the daughter of Grand Duchess Alena Vladimirovna. Elena’s grandfather was Alexander II, and her father, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, was Nikolai’s uncle.
If that’s confusing—of course it is—here’s another way of looking at it: Alexander II is the great-great-grandfather of Prince Michael. Nicholas I is the great-great-grandfather of Prince Philip. Nicholas II is Michael’s first cousin twice removed, and Alexandra is also a distant relative.
When the Romanov family’s remains were found, Prince Michael and Prince Philip provided DNA that helped identify them. In 1998, Prince Mikhail attended the funeral of the last tsar and his family in St. Petersburg.
Prince Mikhail is an honorary member of the House of Romanov and a cousin of its head, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.
How is Prince Michael connected with Russia?
The prince was the first member of the royal family to learn Russian and is a qualified Russian translator. He traveled a lot on business and led delegations of British businessmen to Russia and other Eastern European countries.
The Prince Michael of Kent Foundation works for heritage, culture, healthcare and postgraduate business education in Russia. He supports at least 16 other charities and organizations in Russia, being a patron of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, the Moscow Academy of Industry and Finance, Open Doors in Russian and English, the Russian National Orchestra, the Foundation for Arts and Culture and Poets. funds.
The prince has faced some controversy in recent years, including in 2021 over allegations that he selling your privileged access the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin for a large fee. The prince denied these claims and insisted that he has no special relationship with Putin.
In 2009, then-President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev awarded Prince Mikhail with the Order of Friendship, the highest state award that can be awarded to foreigners.
The prince returned the order in 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.