HRH Princess Michael of Kent is the Royal President of Peace Hospice Care. She has proved a staunch and loyal supporter of the Hospice since her first visit in 1996 and has made many subsequent visits, both formal and informal.
The Princess, who was formerly known as Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz, became a member of the British Royal Family when she married Prince Michael of Kent in 1978. Prince Michael is a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth and a grandson of King George V, to whom he bears a striking resemblance.
Princess Michael trained as an interior designer and has written books about European royalty. She and the Prince live at Kensington Palace and have two children – Lord Frederick and Lady Gabriella – and two grandchildren. She is patron of about fifty charities, mainly concerned with wildlife and various cultural activities. Peace Hospice Care is the only hospice she supports. She is familiar with the district, having been Patron of the Watford General Hospital CT Scanner appeal previously.
Princess Michael performed the official opening of the Hospice in September 1996 and made an immediate impression with her compassion and interest in the patients. She returned five years later to open the Inpatient Unit. On both occasions she was accompanied by her lady in waiting Lady Emma Fellowes, the wife of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. Further visits to the Hospice followed, and she also attended fundraising Dinners at the House of Lords and a Gala Concert at Watford Town Hall (now the Colosseum). Her last visit was in 2014, when she inaugurated the Starlight Centre. This occasion, like her previous “official” visits, is commemorated by a wall plaque.
This post is part of information gathered during Peace Hospice Care’s oral histories project 2014-16. The project captured 25 years of Peace Hospice Care and explored the legacy of the Peace Memorial Hospital. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Foundation.
Find out more about Peace Hospice Care by visiting www.peacehospicecare.org.uk or the online project archive http://ourview.peacehospicecare.org.uk/ Oral histories from the project will be deposited with Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies by end 2016.