Who is Prince Michael of Kent? Royal shock as his son-in-law Thomas dies suddenly aged 45

Prince Michael of Kent was the late Queen’s first cousin (PA Archive)
Prince Michael of Kent was the late Queen’s first cousin (PA Archive)

The son-in-law of Prince Michael of Kent has passed away suddenly, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Thomas Kingston, the husband of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent’s daughter, Lady Gabriella Kingston, was 45. The financier was found dead at an address in Gloucestershire on Sunday evening.

Emergency services were called to the scene shortly after 6pm. An inquest will be held to establish the cause of death but there are no suspicious circumstances and no other were parties involved.

The King and Queen sent their "most heartfelt thoughts and prayers" to Lady Gabriella, who is known as Ella, and Mr Kingston's parents and siblings.

A statement released on behalf of Lady Gabriella and Mr Kingston’s family, said: "It is with the deepest sorrow that we announce the death of Thomas Kingston, our beloved husband, son and brother.

“Tom was an exceptional man who lit up the lives of all who knew him. His death has come as a great shock to the whole family and we ask you to respect our privacy as we mourn his passing.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The King and The Queen have been informed of Thomas’s death and join Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and all those who knew him in grieving a much-loved member of the family. In particular, Their Majesties send their most heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Gabriella and to all the Kingston family.”

Unlike most of his family, Prince Michael of Kent is not a working royal, and does not receive an allowance or parliamentary annuity for his work representing the King.

He is what you need to know about this lesser-known member of the royal family.

Who is Prince Michael of Kent?

Prince Michael of Kent is a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary, and was the late Queen’s first cousin. He is 52nd in the line of succession.

He was born on July 4, 1942 in Buckinghamshire to Prince George, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina, of Greece and Denmark. Several weeks after his birth his father was killed in a plane crash near Dunbeath in Scotland.

Aged five, the prince was a page boy for the then Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, the late Duke of Edinburgh.

The prince’s bloodline also extends to the Romanovs, the last imperial family of Russia. His grandmother was first cousin to Nicholas II, making Michael a first cousin twice removed of the last Russian tsar.

The 81-year-old is married to Princess Michael of Kent, formerly known as Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz. When the pair first met, they couldn’t marry because the princess had previously been married and was a Catholic.

Due to the Act of Settlement of 1701, which blocked anyone who married a Catholic from succeeding to the throne, Prince Michael of Kent, who was 15th in line to the throne, had to give up his right to the succession in order to marry her.

The princess’s first marriage was annulled by the Pope in 1978 and she married Prince Michael of Kent a month after her divorce. They have two children together – Lady Gabriella Windsor and Lord Frederick Windsor. Their family does not receive public funds but take on some public duties to represent the royal family when necessary.

Other than the occasional royal appearance, Prince Michael has had a long military career and supported around 100 charities and organisations. He is also a qualified Russian interpreter.