The story of the Hungarian Princess at Kensington Palace
There is a Hungarian born princess who lives at Kensington Palace in the middle of the British capital city, and she adores her birth country. Princess Michael of Kent is the member of the British Royal Family, and she has German, Austrian and Hungarian roots, but she always considered herself a Hungarian citizen.
Forbes Magazine recently portrayed her amazing life at the Kensington Palace in their latest issue. Born as Marie-Christie Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz on 15th January 1945, she is the only Hungarian member of the British Royal Family. Her grandmother was Princess Hedwig Windisgrätz; her grandfather was Count Frigyes Szapáry, and her father Baron Reibnitz. As the wife of Prince Michael of Kent, she earned the title of Her Royal Highness. Although when she gives autographs, signs checks or contraries, she only writes Marie-Christie on the paper.
She is 73 years old, and still an elegant and beautiful dama whose family has been affected by the historical events of the 20th century. She still thinks about their ancient Szapáry Residency or their estate on Váci Street, Budapest. One topic she really enjoys talking about is her Hungarian descent and her love for the country where she always feels herself home. Besides her, Queen Elizabeth II has some Hungarian roots as well.
“My mother truly said about herself that she was Hungarian, although it is not fair to say I consider Hungary as my real home, rather than Austria. I would not like to live in Vienna, because it is similar to London, as it was built up for a huge empire which does not exist anymore. We can find this factor in the mentality as well.”
They do not own any past residencies in Hungary they used to have, like the four-floored palace on 25 Váci Street, built by her great-grandfather. She first saw this astonishing building in 1968.
“The estate did not belong to us at that time, and after it survived the socialization it was full with squatters. It would be wonderful to have another estate on Váci Street again, because I would need to refresh my Hungarian language skills.”
After the End of communism in Hungary in 1989, she travelled with her brother to Szapár, where their ancient estate used to be, and they wanted to rebuild it together.
“We planned that we would buy the land back, and gather together with our cousins in every September to ride a horse, because we are brilliant in horse riding. And, of course, we would haunt foxes, because if Elisabeth Queen of Hungary could do it then, we can also do it now. We did not intend to start any businesses or make money, but would have a great time in Hungary again.”
She has been living at Kensington Palace for 40 years in a ten-roomed apartment where gates and guardians guard the entrance of the palace. As she always says:
“Yes, I live on a small island of Kensington Palace.”
She never takes a walk in London and never travels with the Tube, only rides a bicycle sometimes. She never buys clothes at Harrods and never walks on High Street with an ice-cream in her hand. She does not miss the city life.
One of her most enjoyed hobbies is writing, and she usually writes historical novels. She published seven books so far, three of them were translated into Hungarian: The Queen of Four Kingdoms, Crowned in a Far Country and the recently published Quicksilver. If she does not write any new stories, she prepares for book dedications, translating and book launches.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons