A new investigation launched by The Sunday Times and Channel 4 alleged that Prince Michael of Kent, Queen Elizabeth's cousin, sold his royal status to people who needed access to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. The probe was, allegedly, sparked by Prince Harry's wife, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

The report suggested that this probe was instigated after Markle drew attention to members of the royal family who could cash in on their royal connections. According to reports, Meghan Markle told the High Court in her lawsuit against a British tabloid that there had been a precedent for members of the royal family earning money as a private citizen without giving their up their royal roles.

Markle was blasted by her critics for making such claims and she further angered the British public after she and Harry sat down for a tell-all interview exposing their experiences as working royals who are bounded by protocols. Supporters of the Duchess of Sussex, on the other hand, could cite this controversy with Michael as another incident that shows the difference in how the royal establishment treats the Sussex pair versus other more controversial royals.

The queen's cousin has denied he has access to Putin despite a Zoom recording showing that he was willing to accept $200,000 as his royal endorsement. The Kent royal's business partner, Simon Reading, also suggested that Michael could be hired for $17,800 as a confidential representative for House of Haedong, a fake firm set up by the journalists of The Sunday Times and Channel 4 for this probe.

Michael is not a working royal thus he does not receive public funds. However, he occasionally represents the queen at some royal engagements. He earns his own money through his 40-year-old consultancy firm and has extensively traveled to Russia for years.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time Markle has been linked to the Kents. In 2017, Michael's wife, the former Baroness Marie Christine Anna Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz, was said to have made a subtle dig at Markle, who is of mixed race, when she wore a blackamoor brooch to the royal family banquet.

The princess issued an apology after the public called her a racist for wearing the brooch when Meghan Markle was also a guest at that banquet. A spokesperson for the Kents said that the princess received this piece of jewelry as a gift and has worn it many times before but she will no longer wear the brooch following this incident.