00:42 GMT20 June 2021
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    Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are not working members of the British Royal Family. The official Royal Family website describes Queen's first cousin as being "connected to Russia through his maternal grandmother [Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna, the granddaughter of Russia's Alexander II]", and as having "a strong interest in the country".

    The Queen’s cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, has been accused of being willing to market his royal status in return for privileged access to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The claims were made by Channel 4 Dispatches in collaboration with newspaper, The Sunday Times.

    In a recording believed to have been made during a covert meeting, the royal supposedly admitted that a modest daily fee of £10,000 ($13,974.50) would buy his royal recommendation and, accordingly, “confidential” introductions to the Russian president’s inner circle.

    ​The undercover operation presumably required reporters to disguise themselves as investors on behalf of a fake South Korean gold company called House of Haedong.

    The journalists' ploy revealed that the 78-year-old prince might be persuaded to provide his apartment in Kensington Palace as a venue for recording an endorsement speech promoting the firm.

    ​The first cousin of the Queen earns a living acting as the chairman of his own private consultancy company.

    Before the operation, the fake reporters claimed to have approached five members of the royal family to test how amenable they might be to the questionable offer.

    The report says that in a covert recording with the undercover reporters, Prince Michael’s business partner, the Marquess of Reading, referred to him as "Her Majesty's unofficial ambassador to Russia".

    "I think ... this is kind of slightly discreet, we're talking relatively discreetly here… Because we wouldn't want the world to know that he is seeing Putin purely for business reasons, if you follow me," he reportedly said.

    The bombshell claims have been vehemently dismissed by Prince Michael.

    The prince’s office issued a statement denying he had any “special relationship” with Vladimir Putin, adding that the royal had not had any contact with the Russian President or his team since their last encounter in June 2003.

    HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the Patron of the RBCC (Russian-British Chamber of Commerce), right, delivering his speech at the fourth annual Russia TALK Investment Forum
    © Sputnik / Alexey Kudenko
    HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the Patron of the RBCC (Russian-British Chamber of Commerce), right, delivering his speech at the fourth annual Russia TALK Investment Forum

    Furthermore, the spokesman said that Lord Reading had "made suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or been able, to fulfil," during the secretly recorded meeting.

    "As is standard practice, Prince Michael's private secretary made it clear to the company's representatives during their conversations that nothing could proceed without the agreement of the British Embassy and the help of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, of which Prince Michael is patron," said the statement.

    The report comes in the wake of a succession of cringeworthy scandals plaguing the royal family. Accusations levelled at disgraced Prince Andrew over the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal have driven the Duke of York to keep a low profile, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dished out allegations of racism against "the Firm" as the Royal Family was dubbed by George V, in their "tell-all" interview with Oprah Winfrey.

    A man watches a phone screen showing an interview of Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, by Oprah Winfrey, in London Monday, March 8, 2021.
    © AP Photo / Aaron Chown
    A man watches a phone screen showing an interview of Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, by Oprah Winfrey, in London Monday, March 8, 2021.

    On this occasion, netizens drew attention to these recent problems, some sarcastically suggesting it is time for the royals to “sort themselves out”.

    Many on Twitter referred to the recent Meghan Markle and Prince Harry saga.

    Related:

    Princess Beatrice's Top-Secret Wedding Linked to Prince Andrew's Epstein Sex Scandal Ties - Report
    New Book on Prince Harry, Meghan to 'Shed Light on Royal Rifts' as Oprah Tell-All 'Detonated a Bomb'
    Prince Michael of Kent Says Optimistic About UK-Russia Trade Ties
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    Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince Michael of Kent, Kremlin, Vladimir Putin
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