When you’re a part of the British royal family, it’s basically a guarantee that your godparents will either be royalty or of some kind of international prestige. For example, King Charles’ eight godparents include five of his royal relatives as well as King Haakon VII of Norway and Prince George of Greece and Denmark. However, one unexpected royal arguably has the most surprising godfather of all!
Prince Michael Of Kent Was Born In 1942
While the Allied and Axis powers were at war in 1942, the British royal family got a little bit bigger when Prince Michael George Charles Franklin of Kent was born on July 4, 1942. As the grandson of the reigning king and cousin to then Princess Elizabeth, Michael’s birth was huge news.
In a historical move, his parents, Prince George and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, Duke and Duchess of Kent, decided to name sitting United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as one of the young prince’s godfathers. In fact, the prince was even partially named after the political figure.
Since it was wartime, Roosevelt was unable to travel to the UK for Michael’s christening as tradition would demand. In fact, according to The Mirror, the entire occasion—which has always been a well-publicized event—was kept under wraps for the family’s safety. The papers later shared that the young boy’s christening took place in “a private chapel in the country.”
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What you may not know is that Roosevelt had a remarkably close relationship with European royalty. In 1939, the president made history by inviting King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I to New York’s 1939 World’s Fair. According to PBS, this marked the very first time a reigning British Monarch had ever stepped foot on American soil.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Died In 1945
Unfortunately, Prince Michael wouldn’t grow up knowing his father or godfather. Just seven weeks after his birth, Prince George, Duke of Kent, tragically died in a plane crash. To compound the tragedy, President Roosevelt passed away in 1945 when Michael was only 2 years old. The politician left behind a legacy of heroism and sweeping economic progress.
As Michael’s cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, ascended to the throne and had her own children and grandchildren, he moved farther down the ladder of succession. Throughout his life, he wasn’t considered a senior royal, but he represented the queen at a variety of overseas engagements. Today, Prince Michael is 51st in line for the British throne. As a consequence, he lives a relatively quiet life. According to Gloucestershire Live, the prince formally retired from his royal duties in June of 2022.