The Queen's cousin has denied accusations that he was willing to use his royal status for personal profit following an undercover investigation by two major British media outlets.
Prince Michael of Kent, 78, reportedly promised to draw on his connections with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, in return for a large fee during a fake business meeting.
In a Zoom call with the prince and his business partner, Simon Reading, reporters from the Sunday Times and Channel 4 posed as investors in a South Korean gold company who were seeking contacts in the Kremlin.
In a clip from the call shared by Channel 4, Prince Michael allegedly agrees to give the fake company, House of Haedong, his royal endorsement in a recorded speech for a fee of $254,000 ($US200,000).
"The idea makes me very happy," he said of House of Haedong's proposal.
He also offered up the use of his home in Kensington Palace for the backdrop of the speech.
At another point on the call where it appears Prince Michael was not present, Lord Reading allegedly assured the reporters that despite the growing tensions between the UK and Russia, Putin "regards Prince Michael as a friend" of the former Soviet state.
'Unofficial ambassador to Russia'
Lord Reading reportedly said that the prince could be hired for $17,800 (£10,000) a day to make "confidential" representations to Putin on the gold firm's behalf.
"If [Prince Michael] is representing the House of Haedong, he could mention that to Putin and Putin would find the right person who is interested in South Korea or interested in gold," he said.
He also described the royal, who speaks fluent Russian, as "Her Majesty's unofficial ambassador to Russia".
In response to the allegations, Prince Michael's office released a statement saying that he "has no special relationship with President Putin" and that the two men last met in 2003.
The office went on to assert that Prince Michael "earns his own living through a consultancy company that he has run for over 40 years."
Per the statement, Lord Reading was 'only trying to help' when he made those comments regarding the prince's relationship with Russia.
"Lord Reading is a good friend, who in trying to help, made suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or been able, to fulfill," the office said.
Lord Reading later said that he regretted his "over-promise" in trying to facilitate an introduction to Prince Michael.
"I made a mistake and over-promised, and for that I am truly regretful," he said.
"I wasn't at my peak as I was recovering from a kidney transplant."
The joint Sunday Times/Channel 4 sting is set to be featured in an upcoming episode of current affairs program Dispatches. Titled 'Royals for Hire,' the episode looks at how some members of the royal family are 'willing to exploit their royal status'.
Who is Prince Michael of Kent?
Prince Michael of Kent is a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II's via her father, King George V.
The prince is married to Princess Michael of Kent with whom he shares two children: Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Kingston.
He runs his own private consultancy business and both he and his wife are not senior working royals and receive no public funds. They do, however, frequently represent the Queen at official functions.
Prince Michael has had a longstanding link with Russia, as he is a first cousin twice removed of Tsar Nicholas II on both sides of his family.
The royal website describes him as having a 'passion for Russia' and as the first member of the family to learn the language and qualify as a Russian interpreter.
He heads up his own charity, The Prince Michael of Kent Foundation, which works to 'benefit heritage, culture, health and post-graduate business education' in Russia.
Prince Michael has visited the country multiple times including in 2017 when he was awarded a title of honorary professor of St Petersburg Mining University for his contribution to the development of Russo-British relations.
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