End of an era as the ‘Rent- a-Kents’ close their business, less than a year after Prince Michael told undercover reporters he could be hired to make ‘confidential’ representations to Putin’s regime
- Prince Michael and wife Marie-Christine are closing business Cantium Services
- Read more: Russophile Prince Michael hands back Kremlin’s Order of Friendship
His poise and bearing are truly monarchical – as, of course, is the beard which makes him look remarkably like his grandfather, George V, and, indeed, King George’s cousin, Tsar Nicholas II. But there’s never been anything especially regal about Prince Michael of Kent’s need to pay his own way.
So King Charles will be heartened by the latest development in Prince Michael’s commercial affairs. I can reveal that he and his wife, the statuesque Marie-Christine – known, formally, as Princess Michael – are closing their business, Cantium Services.
It comes less than a year after one of the most lurid episodes in the couple’s chequered financial history, when Prince Michael, a fluent Russian speaker, told undercover reporters posing as gold investors that he could be hired to make ‘confidential’ representations to Vladimir Putin’s regime – for £10,000-a-day.
He added that he was prepared to endorse the – entirely fictional – company by recording a speech in return for a $200,000 fee, using his apartment in Kensington Palace as a backdrop.
‘I have never had any close connection before with gold and the idea makes me very happy,’ Prince Michael added. He was less happy when it became apparent that he’d been recorded by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme and by a Sunday newspaper.
Prince Michael (left) and his wife – the statuesque Marie-Christine, formally known as Princess Michael (right) — are closing their business, Cantium Services
The company — Prince Michael owns more than 75 per cent, and he and Princess Michael are the only directors — was founded in 1978, the year they married
His spokesman subsequently issued a statement, explaining that Prince Michael had ‘no special relationship’ with Putin, having last met him in 2003 and having had ‘no contact with him or his office since then’.
Today, his spokesman declines to comment on the application at Companies House to ‘strike off’ Cantium, while Jeremy Jennings, a Brussels-based chartered accountant named as Cantium’s contact, does not respond to my calls.
But it would appear to mark the end of an era for the ‘Rent-A-Kents’, as the couple were cruelly known. The company, of which Prince Michael, 80, owns more than 75 per cent, and of which he and Princess Michael, 78, are the only directors, was founded in 1978 – the year they married.
They were always candid about the scope of their money-making ventures, with Princess Michael declaring that she would ‘go anywhere for a hot meal’ – and seemingly proving the point by attending the opening of a Happy Eater on the A3 near Guildford.
In 2012, it emerged that they’d received £320,000 – to assist with staff costs – from oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who, the following year, was found dead in his bath at his Berkshire mansion.
It comes less than a year after Prince Michael, 80, a fluent Russian speaker, told undercover reporters posing as gold investors that he could be hired to make ‘confidential’ representations to Vladimir Putin’s regime — for £10,000 a day
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