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Prince Michael of Kent received honorary professorship from one of Vladimir Putin’s cronies

This is the moment the Queen’s cousin Prince Michael of Kent received an honorary professorship from one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oldest and most trusted cronies. 

Professor Vladimir Litvinenko, who has ‘direct links with Putin’, can be seen fawning over the Prince, 78, as he presents him with his honorary professorship for furthering Russian-British relations. 

‘Of course, this is a great joy for me,’ the Prince says after he receives the honorary professorship. ‘It is a very great honour to receive this title… I hope this visit will help strengthen the relationship between the UK and Russia, which is not the easiest right now’

Dr Litvinenko, 65, has known Putin since the 1990s and been described as a ‘close friend’ of the President. His association with Prince Michael appears to substantiate claims the Queen’s cousin has close connections to the ‘Putinistas’.    

This is the moment the Queen’s cousin Prince Michael of Kent (right) received an honorary professorship from one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oldest and most trusted cronies 

Professor Vladimir Litvinenko (left) can be seen fawning over the Prince, 78, as he presents him with his honorary professorship for furthering Russian-British relations

Professor Vladimir Litvinenko (left) can be seen fawning over the Prince, 78, as he presents him with his honorary professorship for furthering Russian-British relations

Prince Michael was also handed flowers after receiving the honorary professorship from the University Rector Dr Litvinenko

Prince Michael was also handed flowers after receiving the honorary professorship from the University Rector Dr Litvinenko

'Of course, this is a great joy for me,' the Prince said after he received the honorary professorship

‘Of course, this is a great joy for me,’ the Prince said after he received the honorary professorship

The allegations came to light in a bombshell report in which fictitious executives were told the Prince could be hired to endorse their company to Putin’s inner circle. 

The Queen’s cousin told undercover reporters posing as investors from South Korea in a virtual meeting that he could be hired for £10,000 a day to make ‘confidential’ representations to Putin’s regime.  

Journalists from Channel 4 Dispatches and The Sunday Times were investigating claims that Prince Michael and the Marquess of Reading were selling their links to the Russian regime. 

Prince Michael said he would be ‘very excited’ to work with the fictitious ‘House of Haedong’ – which alleged it wanted to further its business in Russia by making links with Putin’s inner circle. 

Prince Michael, a grandson of King George V, allegedly said he would give the ‘House of Haedong’ his endorsement in the Kremlin for a $200,000 fee.

He added his relationship with the state could ‘bring some benefit’ to the firm, billed as ‘new boutique fund that invests in the most regal of assets: gold’. 

Journalists from Channel 4 Dispatches and The Sunday Times were investigating claims that Prince Michael and the Marquess of Reading were selling their links to the Russian regime

Journalists from Channel 4 Dispatches and The Sunday Times were investigating claims that Prince Michael and the Marquess of Reading were selling their links to the Russian regime

A representative for Prince Michael has insisted the royal has ‘no special relationship with President Putin’, adding they have had no contact since June 2003. 

But, photographs show the royal on his regular trips to Russia, where he is greeted with a red carpet even at times of high tension with Britain.  

In one visit in 2018 he traveled to the Russian capital to open Brookes Moscow School, a £25 million international academy favoured by elite Russian parents.

This visit in 2018 was only six months after Putin’s GRU military spies used chemical nerve agent Novichok to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

A representative for Prince Michael has insisted the royal has 'no special relationship with President Putin', adding they have had no contact since June 2003 (pictured, Prince Michael and Putin in London in 2003)

A representative for Prince Michael has insisted the royal has ‘no special relationship with President Putin’, adding they have had no contact since June 2003 (pictured, Prince Michael and Putin in London in 2003)

In one 2018 visit he slipped into Moscow to open Brookes Moscow School, a £25 million international academy favoured by elite Russian parents

In one 2018 visit he slipped into Moscow to open Brookes Moscow School, a £25 million international academy favoured by elite Russian parents

This visit in 2018 was only six months after Putin's GRU military spies used chemical nerve agent Novichok to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury

This visit in 2018 was only six months after Putin’s GRU military spies used chemical nerve agent Novichok to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury

At the time, there was a ban on ministerial visits to Russia, yet Prince Michael – known fondly as Kentski in Moscow where he is seen as a lookalike of tragic last Tsar Nicholas II – continued to visit as he has done since the 1990s.   

The Prince – who has Romanov royal blood – is known to play a big role in business promotion in Russia and has also undertaken considerable charity work in the country.

A former diplomat said: ‘He has significant connections among influential business people in Moscow, and he is respected by major political figures. 

‘It can be hard to know where the line is between his royal duties and his personal commercial activities.’ 

A picture from one of the Prince’s trips shows him with Russia’s then wealthiest woman Yelena Baturina, wife of the former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, as well as former London mayor Ken Livingstone. 

The Prince is known to play a big role in business promotion in Russia and has also undertaken considerable charity work in the country (pictured, Prince Michael speaks during the 2018 IV Russian-British Business Forum in Moscow)

The Prince is known to play a big role in business promotion in Russia and has also undertaken considerable charity work in the country (pictured, Prince Michael speaks during the 2018 IV Russian-British Business Forum in Moscow)

A picture from one of the Prince's trips shows him with Russia's then wealthiest woman Yelena Baturina (second left) as well as former London mayor Ken Livingstone (far left)

A picture from one of the Prince’s trips shows him with Russia’s then wealthiest woman Yelena Baturina (second left) as well as former London mayor Ken Livingstone (far left)

In 2009, the Prince received the Order of Friendship from then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev (left)

In 2009, the Prince received the Order of Friendship from then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev (left)

Last year, when he was unable to travel to Russia, Prince Michael took part in the RussiaTalk investment forum video conference alongside both the Russian Ambassador to Britain, Andrei Kelin, and the British Ambassador to Russia Deborah Bronnert.  

He has also represented the Queen in Russia, most famously at a ceremony in 1998 when he was present as the bones of murdered Nicholas II and most members of his immediate family were laid to rest in a royal vault in tsarist capital St Petersburg. 

In 2009, he received the Order of Friendship from then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and in 2019 was praised for ‘melting that ice of mistrust’ between Russia and Britain on a visit to Yekaterinburg.   

Here he also visited the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land – the site of where Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks. 

On another occasion the prince was seen proudly donning a replica of the crown that is the main symbol of tsarist autocracy – Monomakh’s Cap, as worn by his Romanov ancestors.

The Prince visited the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land in Yekaterinburg - the site of where Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks

The Prince visited the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land in Yekaterinburg – the site of where Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks

He was praised on the trip in 2019 for 'melting that ice of mistrust' between Russia and Britain

 He was praised on the trip in 2019 for ‘melting that ice of mistrust’ between Russia and Britain

On another occasion the prince was seen proudly donning a replica of the crown that is the main symbol of tsarist autocracy - Monomakh's Cap, as worn by his Romanov ancestors

On another occasion the prince was seen proudly donning a replica of the crown that is the main symbol of tsarist autocracy – Monomakh’s Cap, as worn by his Romanov ancestors

Dr Litvinenko, 65, has known Putin since the 1990s and has been described as a ‘close friend’. 

He was Putin’s campaign manager for his first two election campaign victories as Russian president in 2000 and 2004, and is now a billionaire and the ‘richest rector in Russia’. 

The rector of St Petersburg Mining Institute supervised Putin’s own academic dissertation amid charges of plagiarism. 

Litvinenko’s own daughter Olga astonishingly claimed later that she had witnessed her estranged father ghostwriting ‘Putin’s thesis’ in 1997. 

She said: ‘My father personally compiled Putin’s PhD thesis, working from our dacha (country house) at Beloostrov village in Leningrad region. 

‘Later this thesis was recognised by Western scientists as plagiarism.’ 

Litvinenko’s spectacular wealth came from his connection to PhosAgro, Russia’s largest producer of phosphate-based fertilisers, where he had collected shares after doing consultancy work, later rising to the position of chairman. 

Dr Litvinenko, 65, has known Putin since the 1990s and has been described as a 'close friend'. (pictured, Litvinenko leads Prince Michael on a tour of the Mining University in 2017)

Dr Litvinenko, 65, has known Putin since the 1990s and has been described as a ‘close friend’. (pictured, Litvinenko leads Prince Michael on a tour of the Mining University in 2017)

Litvinenko helped plagiarise Vladimir Putin's doctoral thesis, his estranged daughter Olga as claimed (pictured, the academic leads Prince Michael on a university tour)

Litvinenko helped plagiarise Vladimir Putin’s doctoral thesis, his estranged daughter Olga as claimed (pictured, the academic leads Prince Michael on a university tour)

The royal’s secretary allegedly told the two undercover reporters that Prince Michael could make introductions to people high up in the Russian state ahead of the meeting. 

She said: ‘We can certainly help in that sense. Even if he doesn’t have direct contact to the person that you want, there is a way in. There is always a way in.’ 

There are few rules that dictate how a royal can earn private income, and Prince Michael does not receive any money from the civil list. 

However, research conducted for Dispatches found that two-thirds of Britons don’t believe royals should be able to personally profit from their status.    

Fictitious executives were told Prince Michael of Kent (left) could be hired to endorse their company to Vladimir Putin's inner circle, a bombshell report claims

Fictitious executives were told Prince Michael of Kent (left) could be hired to endorse their company to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, a bombshell report claims

Prince Michael, a grandson of King George V, allegedly said he would give the 'House of Haedong' his endorsement in the Kremlin for a $200,000 fee. Pictured: Putin

Prince Michael, a grandson of King George V, allegedly said he would give the ‘House of Haedong’ his endorsement in the Kremlin for a $200,000 fee. Pictured: Putin

Prince Michael allegedly drew attention to the fact Putin had bestowed upon him the Order of Friendship in his meeting with the ‘House of Haedong’.  

According to the Sunday Times, the Marquess of Reading remained in the call with the apparent South Korean executives after the royal left the Zoom. 

While explaining the type of service he could offer in Russia, Lord Reading allegedly claimed Michael acted as ‘Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia’ and could meet with Putin.  

The cost of the ‘confidential’ service was given as £50,000 for a four or five-day trip to Russia, the Times reported.

The above family tree shows how Prince Michael of Kent is related to Queen Elizabeth II

The above family tree shows how Prince Michael of Kent is related to Queen Elizabeth II 

Prince Michael said his relationship with Russia could 'bring some benefit' to the firm, billed as 'new boutique fund that invests in the most regal of assets: gold'

Prince Michael said his relationship with Russia could ‘bring some benefit’ to the firm, billed as ‘new boutique fund that invests in the most regal of assets: gold’

Lord Reading said: ‘Clearly Prince Michael is very interested in all that you have to say regarding Russia… Well, if you want to get into Russia right, you have to go through the Putinistas. 

‘And the best way of getting through the Putinistas, are through himself, through Putin himself. Putin, exactly. 

‘I mean, I can show you an album of a picture of me with various Putinistas, about six or seven of them… and he, he has a whole lot more erm of these, of these instances, where he is seen with Putin and he will be discussing a number of different subjects, right. 

‘But if he is representing the House of Haedong, he could mention that to Putin and Putin would find the right person, erm who is interested in South Korea or interested in gold. It just opens the door, you know, which is so helpful.’ 

Pictured: Marquess of Reading

Pictured: Prince Michael of Kent

Lord Reading (left) said the tension between Britain and Russia has not changed Prince Michael’s (right) relationship with the Kremlin

In a statement, Prince Michael said: 'Prince Michael receives no public funding and earns his own living through a consultancy company that he has run for over 40 years. Prince Michael has no special relationship with President Putin'

In a statement, Prince Michael said: ‘Prince Michael receives no public funding and earns his own living through a consultancy company that he has run for over 40 years. Prince Michael has no special relationship with President Putin’

There are few rules that dictate how a royal can earn private income, and Prince Michael does not receive any money from the civil list. Pictured: The Zoom meeting

There are few rules that dictate how a royal can earn private income, and Prince Michael does not receive any money from the civil list. Pictured: The Zoom meeting

He concluded that the arrangement would be ‘slightly discreet’, adding: ‘We wouldn’t want the world to know that he is seeing Putin purely for business reasons, if you follow me.’ 

Asked if Prince Michael has done this before, he said: ‘Yeah. I mean, he’s not… I mean, he’s he’s done… He’s been able to do that. But he doesn’t broadcast it.’ 

Lord Reading also said the tension between Britain and Russia has not changed Prince Michael’s relationship with the regime.

He said: ‘No, it hasn’t. It hasn’t affected his relationship with Prince Michael…. He is just generally regarded as Her Majesty’s erm, unofficial Ambassador to Russia’.

Dispatches said Lord Reading had preciously used an event at Kensington Palace in 2013, in which Prince Michael was a guest, to sell access to Putin.

The event, to promote the Russian wrestling sport of Sambo, also allegedly offered opportunities to personally meet the Russian leader at a later date.  

Marina Litvinenko, the widow of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, told Channel 4 she was concerned about claims Prince Michael was selling access to Putin’s regime.

Pictured: Prince Michael

Pictured: Prince Michael

In a statement, Prince Michael’s office said: ‘Prince Michael has no special relationship with President Putin.’

Lady Gabriella Windsor with her father Prince Michael of Kent for her wedding to Mr Thomas Kingston in May 2019

Lady Gabriella Windsor with her father Prince Michael of Kent for her wedding to Mr Thomas Kingston in May 2019

She said: ‘He has to be aware that his relationship is not a simple business deal. And opening a door for business and directly with Vladimir Putin is a very toxic relationship.’

In a statement, a representative for Prince Michael insisted he does not have a ‘special relationship’ with the Russian leader.

They added: ‘Prince Michael receives no public funding and earns his own living through a consultancy company that he has run for over 40 years. 

‘They last met in June 2003 and Prince Michael has had no contact with him or his office since then. 

‘Lord Reading is a good friend, who in trying to help, made suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or been able, to fulfil.’   

Lord Reading said: ‘I thought the approach from the House of Haedong was genuine and I was only trying to facilitate an introduction to my friend Prince Michael.

‘I made a mistake and over-promised and for that, I am truly regretful. I wasn’t at my peak as I was recovering from a kidney transplant.

‘For the record, the Sambo event which was eight years ago was my event and Prince Michael was simply my guest along with many other people.’ 

  • Dispatches: Royals for Hire, will broadcast at 7.30pm on Monday on Channel 4

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