This is because Baroness Marie Christine von Reinnitz, now known as Princess Michael of Kent, is a Roman Catholic. According to the Act of Settlement 1701, no one in the line of succession can be married to a Catholic, as the monarch is the Head of the Church of England. By following his heart, Michael forfeited his place, which was 15th-in-line at the time.
However, he was later reinstated on March 26, 2015 after Parliament changed the rules of succession.
The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 made it so a monarch can be married to a Catholic, but may not be one themselves.
After this change, Michael was put back in the line of succession and is currently 48th in line to the throne.
Prince Michael is the Queen’s cousin, the third child of Prince George, Duke of Kent ‒ the fourth son of George V and younger brother of Edward VIII and George VI.
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Prince and Princess Michael of Kent at their daughter’s wedding last year
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent in July 1986
Princess Michael is the daughter of the Silesian nobleman Baron Gunther von Reibnitz and his Austro-Hungarian wife, Countess Maria Szapáry de Muraszombath.
Not only did their match cause a scandal because of her religion, but she was also a divorcee.
Princess Michael was previously married to banker Thomas Troubridge, but they separated in 1973 and divorced in 1977.
Their marriage was then annulled by the Catholic Church a year later, just two months before her marriage to Prince Michael.
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent with the Queen in 1988
Michael presented her with a two-stone sapphire-and-diamond ring made from stones that belonged to his mother, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark.
They married at a civil ceremony at the Rathaus, Vienna, Australia on June 30, 1978.
For the ball held after the wedding, she wore the City of London diamond fringe tiara and a 70s style dress.
Then, after receiving Pope John Paul II’s permission, the couple received a blessing of their marriage in a Catholic ceremony on June 29, 1983.
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Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Windsor
However, their children ‒ Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Windsor ‒ have been brought up in the Church of England and so have always remained in the line of succession.
One of the other main changes of the Succession to the Crown Act is that it removed the preferential treatment of males in the line of succession.
However, unlike the Catholic rule, it was not carried out in retrospect, but only from then on.
This meant that, for example, the Queen’s daughter Princess Anne is still behind her brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and their children in the line of succession, but Princess Charlotte ‒ who was born after the ruling ‒ is ahead of her younger brother Prince Louis.
Prince Michael, 77, occasionally represents the Queen as some functions in Commonwealth realms outside the UK.
Most of the time, however, he manages his own consultancy business and undertakes various commercial work around the world.
Princess Michael, 75, has an unusual title in that she has taken her husband’s name instead of using her own.
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent in 2014
Upon their marriage, Marie was accorded the style and title of HRH Princess Michael of Kent, the female equivalent of her husband’s title.
It is an Anglo-Saxon tradition for a woman to take her husband’s name upon marriage and Marie is currently the only woman married to a prince who is not a peer of the realm, which is why she is known only by her husband’s title.
For example, when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson, she became known as Sarah, Duchess of York but if Andrew had not been given the Duke of York title upon their marriage, she would have been known as HRH The Princess Andrew.