The Royal Family is once again in hot water. One of Queen Elizabeth's cousins, Prince Michael of Kent, has been accused of misusing his royal status in order to seek favors from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches conducted a joint investigation into the situation, covertly filming Prince Michael at a business meeting where he told potential clients he could be hired "to make business representations to the leaders of Russia."
According to The Sunday Times, Prince Michael said that "he could be hired for ten thousand pounds a day to make representations to the Russian leadership." They also caught The Marquess of Reading, Prince Michael's friend and business partner for 30 years, telling undercover reporters that "the prince could take advantage of his role as 'Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia' to gain access to decision-makers in the Kremlin."
The investigation also found that Prince Michael claimed that, for a fee of $200,000, he would happily grant royal endorsement for the potential client’s company "in a recorded speech using Kensington Palace as the backdrop." A spokesperson for Prince Michael denied his "special relationship with Putin," claiming that the two men hadn't had any contact in 18 years. "Lord Reading is a good friend, who made suggestions that Prince Michael would have not wanted, or been able, to fulfill," the royal representative added. The Marquess of Reading also released a statement on the situation. "I was trying to facilitate an introduction to my friend Prince Michael. I made a mistake and I overpromised and for that, I am truly regretful," he said.
Royal Central pointed out that Prince Michael has long been known for his special interest in Russia, even learning the language and being a certified Russian interpreter. This news comes at an already fraught time for the Royal Family. Right before the Queen's 95th birthday, Prince Philip, her husband of 70 years, passed away. Additionally, the Family has been dealing with the fallout of their treatment of Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle opened up about the struggles they faced while living with the family in the U.K in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, drawing ire from critics and support from people who believed Meghan's experiences. Harry returned to the U.K. for Philip's funeral. but noticeably did not walk behind the casket next to his brother, Prince William. It was the first time Harry and William met in person in over a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and sources said that the family put their differences behind them for the funeral.