LONDON (Apr. 16)
Princess Michael of Kent, a cousin by marriage to Queen Elizabeth, is the daughter of a Major in the Nazi German SS, it was disclosed here today. The revelation is a grave embarrassment to the royal family, coming as it does as the country prepares to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the war against Hitler.
Commenting on the revelation, made in today’s Daily Mirror newspaper, the Queen’s press office at Buckingham Palace said that it had come to the Princess as a “total surprise and a total shock.” However, the Daily Mirror found it “unbelievable” that Princess Michael never knew about her father’s SS background.
Her father, Baron Gunther von Reibnitz, joined the SS in 1933, at the very beginning of the Third Reich, and a was a personal friend of Reichschmarshall Hermann Goering. He is believed to have died two years ago. Members of the SS were declared to be war criminals by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.
Von Reibnitz married a Hungarian countess in 1941 and the princess, then Marie Christine von Reibnitz, was born in early 1945. Her father was said to have been “shattered” by his war-time experinces and built a new life in Mozambique. His daughter was married and divorced before marrying the Queen’s cousin, Prince Michael, in 1978. The father was not present at their wedding.
Von Reibnitz’s SS membership was discovered by Philip Hall, a historian who is preparing a book on the backgrounds of members of the royal family. His suspicions were aroused by officially inspired articles, published earlier this year on Princess Michael’s 40th birthday, suggesting that both her parents were Austrian, even though her father was a German.
DISCLOSE FASCIST WORKING FOR BRITISH GOVERNMENT
The revelations followed yesterday’s disclosure by the same newspaper that Denis Pirie, for 25 years one of Britain’s leading fascists, is employed as an advisor on exports at the British Ministry of Trade. He has been sent on a week’s leave while the government investigates the revelations.
Pire, 45, was a key figure in the virulently anti-Semitic National Front movement and was said to be responsible for promoting the slogan “Boycott Jewish supermarkets.” Although he claims to have ceased his Nazi activities, he was recently involved in discussions about forming a new neo-Nazi organization called “Our Nation.”