Queen's cousin denies 'special relationship' with Putin after leak

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

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.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent and HM Queen Elizabeth II watch the horses in the parade ring as they attend day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2010 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
The Queen with Prince Michael of Kent (pictured at Ascot in 2010) who has been accused of agreeing to use his royal status for personal profit. Photo: Getty Images.

'Very happy'

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.

RELATED:

Britain's Prince Michael of Kent (R) welcomed by St Petersburg Mining University Rector Vladimir Litvinenko on an official visit. Prince Michael has been awarded a title of honorary professor of St Petersburg Mining University for his contribution to the development of the Russian-British relations.
Prince Michael of Kent receiving his honorary professorship of St Petersburg Mining University for his contribution to the development of the Russian-British relations. Photo: Getty Images.

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."

Prince Michael’s office shared a statement with Dispatches denying the allegations. Photo: Twitter/C4Dispatches.
Prince Michael’s office shared a statement with Dispatches denying the allegations. Photo: Twitter/C4Dispatches.

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'.

Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Michael of Kent depart Kensington Palace to attend a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on day 1 of US President Donald Trump's State Visit to the UK on June 3, 2019 in London, England. President Trump's three-day state visit will include lunch with the Queen, and a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, as well as business meetings with the Prime Minister and the Duke of York, before travelling to Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Michael of Kent on their way to a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace to honour then-US President Donald Trump's visit in 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

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.

Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.

Or if you have a story idea, email us at lifestyle.tips@verizonmedia.com.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting