HRH Prince Michael of Kent
Commodore-in-Chief of the Maritime Reserves and Honorary Rear Admiral of the Royal Naval Reserves
Prince Michael of Kent was born on 4 July 1942 and was christened Michael George Charles Franklin, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of his godfathers. His father, Prince George, Duke of Kent, was the fourth son of King George V and his mother, Princess Marina, was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and of Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia. Prince Michael is a cousin to both Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Related through his grandmother to Tsar Nicholas II, Prince Michael has always had a strong emotional attachment to Russia, which he first visited in 1992 after the collapse of communism. He is closely involved with a number of charitable, humanitarian, and artistic organisations in Russia.
Prince Michael has been honoured in Russia for his charitable work. In 1998, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Plekhanov Economics Academy. In 2003, His Royal Highness was made an Honorary Professor of the Sinerghia Economics and Finance Institute and in 2012 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the St Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Prince Michael has been the Royal patron of the Russian Poets Fund since its foundation in 1995.
Dr Rowan Williams
104th Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Baron of Oystermouth in the City and County of Swansea
Rowan Douglas Williams was born on 14 June 1950, and was educated at Christ's College Cambridge and Oxford University, where he studied theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought.
In 1986, Dr Rowan Williams became Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1990. In 2002, with eleven years' experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury.
Dr Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar, and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical, and educational commissions, and has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study – philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality, and religious aesthetics. He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical, and social topics and, since becoming archbishop, has turned his attention increasingly on contemporary cultural and interfaith issues. He is also a translator and accomplished poet in his own right.
Dr Rowan Williams became a patron of the Russian Poets Fund in 2014.
Sir Andrew Motion
FRSL, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009
Sir Andrew Motion was born on 26 October 1952, and read English at University College, Oxford. He was editor of Poetry Review (1981-83) and was Poetry Editor and Editorial Director at London publishers Chatto & Windus (1983-89). He succeeded Malcolm Bradbury as Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and is now Professor of Creative Writing at John Hopkins University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has been Chairman of the Arts Council of England's Literature Panel since 1996. An acclaimed poet (and champion of poetry), critic, biographer and lecturer, Andrew Motion became Poet Laureate in 1999, succeeding Ted Hughes and preceding Carol Ann Duffy.
He was awarded the Newdigate Prize at Oxford for his poem 'Inland', included in his first collection of poems, The Pleasure Steamers, published in 1977. His poetry collections include Independence (1981); Secret Narratives (1983); Dangerous Play: Poems 1974-1984 (1984), which won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; Natural Causes (1987), which won the Dylan Thomas Award; The Price of Everything (1994); Salt Water (1997); Selected Poems 1976-1997 (1998); and Public Property (2002). His latest collection of poems is The Cinder Path (2009), shortlisted for the 2010 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.
Andrew Motion is also the author of several acclaimed biographies including The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit (1986), which won a Somerset Maugham Award; Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life (1993), which won the Whitbread Biography Award; a life of John Keats published in 1997; and Wainewright the Poisoner (2000), an account of the life of Thomas Wainewright, critic, forger, painter and suspected murderer.
He has also written a short novel, The Invention of Dr Cake, which combines elements of mystery and detective fiction, and was published in 2003. His memoir, In The Blood, was published in 2006, and a selection of his autobiographical and critical writings, Ways of Life: On Places, Painters and Poets in 2008. In 2009, Andrew Motion received a knighthood for his services to literature.
Sir Andrew Motion became a patron of the Russian Poets Fund in 2014.