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25th Jan 2005, 04:50
The Sunday Times - Britain
January 23, 2005

Tsar of Kent makes it in the movies
Nicholas Hellen

THE QUEEN’S cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, has achieved a rare royal success in Hollywood that overshadows the modest achievements of the Queen’s son Edward, the Earl of Wessex.
The prince is to play a pivotal role in the making of a $90m (£48m) epic telling the story of an American bid in 1774 to enlist Russia for its war of independence from Britain.

Although the Russians executed his ancestor Nicholas II, the last tsar, Prince Michael, 62, hopes to persuade them to open former Romanov palaces to film-makers.

He also intends to use his contacts among Russian’s oligarchs to help raise approximately one third of the budget. He has in the past been close to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, formerly the richest man in Russia, and Boris Berezovsky, who fell foul of Vladimir Putin’s government.

On visits to Russia, the prince travels with police outriders and is protected by members of its secret service.

The production, due to start filming in the winter of 2006, marks a gratifying improvement in the prince’s fortunes which, a decade ago, were at such a low ebb he went on American television to sell trinkets made by royal warrant holders marketed as the House of Windsor Collection.

READ MORE (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1452571,00.html)