Queen Elizabeth II’s controversial cousins are to join the likes of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Prince Andrew in stepping away from royal duties, it has been revealed.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the royals will “retire from public life” coinciding with the prince’s eightieth birthday in July.
The news comes following decades of poor press coverage for the minor royals, who are regarded among the most controversial members of the royal family.
Perhaps most famously, Princess Michael, born Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz, was engulfed in a media storm when she wore a racially insensitive “Blackamoor” brooch to a lunch attended by Meghan.
Meghan became the first mixed race senior member of the British royal family when she married Harry in 2018, and Princess Michael’s wearing such a racially charged item of jewelry caused users on social media to draw a connection between the two.
In the fallout of the event the royal apologized via a spokesperson who said that the princess was “very sorry and distressed” that the brooch “caused offense”.
They then went on to add that: “The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before.” The brooch was even branded “racist” by several Twitter users and media outlets.
This is not the first time the princess has been accused of being racially insensitive. In 2004 the royal was reported to have told diners at a New York restaurant to “go back to the colonies,” a claim which the princess has since denied.
In 2018 Aatish Taseer, a British journalist and former boyfriend of Princess Michael’s daughter, Lady Gabriella Kingston (nee Windsor) also claimed that the royal had named two black sheep on her country estate Venus and Serena, reportedly after the world famous tennis professionals.
It is not just the princess whose conduct has been criticized, as most recently Prince Michael’s connections with Russia came under scrutiny following the invasion of Ukraine.
Michael, who is a first cousin of Elizabeth II through their mutual grandfather, King George V, is also related to the disposed Russian royal family through his mother, the late-Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.
Michael has formed strong links with Russia, including learning to speak the language.
In 2021 the royal was accused of having involvement in a scheme to sell access to the Kremlin after being filmed at a meeting by undercover reporters.
The prince has since denied these claims.
Later, in 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a spokesperson for the prince confirmed that he was returning the Russian Order of Friendship which he had been awarded by former-president Dmitry Medvedev in 2009 for his promotion of Anglo-Russian relations.
The prince and princess live at Kensington Palace in an apartment allocated to them as a wedding present by the queen in 1978.
After details emerged that the couple paid only £69 per week in rent for the lavish home in 2002, it was announced that the queen would pay the reported £120,000 bill for seven years, after which the Kent’s paid it themselves.
Reports that the couple will be retiring follows the princess’ long illness with COVID-19 in 2020 after which she was said to have experienced blood clots.
The couple’s most recent public appearance was during Royal Ascot in June where they appeared in the royal carriage procession with other members of the royal family such as Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Though the royals do not undertake any official work on behalf of the queen, the royal family website lists the couple as being involved with 145 charities between them with the prince undertaking over 200 public working engagements each year for nonprofits.
As well as charity work the princess is a published author having written a number of books on the history of European royal courts and an autobiographical account of her adolescence in Africa.
With Harry and Meghan’s stepping down from official royal duties on behalf of the queen and Andrew’s retirement following a sexual assult lawsuit lodged against him in the U.S the British royal working pool is shrinking just as the queen herself appears to be reducing her own output.