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The Queen's cousin Prince Michael of Kent returns Russian honour amid Ukraine conflict

The royal is related to the late Tsar Nicholas II

Prince Michael of Kent, who is the cousin of the Queen, has returned the Order of Friendship award he was given by the Kremlin following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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The news was confirmed in a statement released on Thursday that simply said: "I can confirm that HRH Prince Michael of Kent is returning his Russian Order of Friendship. There will be no further comment." Michael was given the award, which is one of the top awards from Russia, in 2009 from the then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev.

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Michael has close ties to Russia, and through his grandmother, the Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna, he is related to the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II.

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He attended the family's burial in 1998, and is also patron to organisations with close links to Russia like the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and the St Gregory's Foundation.

The royals have been vocal in their support of Ukraine following Russia's invasion last week, with the Queen making a "generous" donation to the Disaster Emergency Committee.

Taking to Twitter, the organisation, which brings together 15 major UK charities to quickly co-ordinate responses to overseas incidents, thanked Her Majesty, tagging the royal family's account.

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The royal has close links to Russia

They wrote: "Many thanks to Her Majesty The Queen for continuing to support the Disasters Emergency Committee and for making a generous donation to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. @RoyalFamily #UkraineAppeal."

On Wednesday, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London.

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The Prince spoke to invited guests from the Ukrainian community in the UK in a heartfelt address.

He said: "I must say my wife and I have been deeply moved by everything we've heard today during our visit and above all by the extraordinary bravery, generosity and fortitude of the Ukrainian community in the face of such truly terrible aggression."

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The royals have offered their support to Ukraine

Camilla appeared close to tears as leading members of the UK’s Ukrainian community welcomed the couple by singing a mournful version of the song Chervona Kalyna, Red Guelder Rose, which was sung by Ukrainian insurgents during the Second World War.

Charles is understood to have approached the Ukrainian community offering his support and he brought representatives from five humanitarian organisations he is connected with to offer practical support.

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And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally thanked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their message of support.

The royal couple shared a personal tweet in support of Ukraine on Saturday, writing: "In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President Zelenskyy and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine's future. Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine's people as they bravely fight for that future W & C."

If you want to help the people of Ukraine amid the escalating Russian conflict, these are the charities in urgent need of donations: British Red CrossInternational Medical CorpsUNICEF and CARE.

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