Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse

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Georg Donatus
Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse
GeorgdonatusHD.jpg
Spouse Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
Issue Prince Ludwig
Prince Alexander
Princess Johanna
Stillborn son
Full name
German: Georg Donatus Wilhelm Nikolaus Eduard Heinrich Karl
English: George Donatus William Nicholas Edward Henry Charles
House Hesse-Darmstadt
Father Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse
Mother Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
Born (1906-11-08)8 November 1906
Darmstadt, Germany
Died 16 November 1937(1937-11-16) (aged 31)[1]
Ostend, Belgium
Burial Rosenhöhe, Darmstadt
Grand Ducal Family of
Hesse and by Rhine
Wappen-HD.png
Ernest Louis
Children
   Princess Elisabeth
   Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus
   Prince Louis
Grandchildren
   Prince Ludwig
   Prince Alexander
   Princess Johanna

Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse (Georg Donatus Wilhelm Nikolaus Eduard Heinrich Karl, 8 November 1906 – 16 November 1937) was the first child of Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse and Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich.

Marriage and children[edit]

On 2 February 1931 at Darmstadt Georg, a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, married his first cousin once-removed, Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark, daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg (and thus a sister of Prince Philip), a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. They had four children:

Name Birth Death Notes
His Grand Ducal Highness Prince Ludwig Ernst Andreas of Hesse 25 October 1931 16 November 1937 Killed in air accident
His Grand Ducal Highness Prince Alexander Georg Karl Heinrich of Hesse 14 April 1933 16 November 1937 Killed in air accident
Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Johanna Marina Eleonore of Hesse 20 September 1936 14 June 1939 Died from meningitis.
Stillborn son 16 November 1937 16 November 1937 Stillborn in air accident.[2]

Death[edit]

In October 1937, Georg Donatus' father, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse died. A few weeks after the funeral, Ernst Ludwig's younger son, Prince Louis was due to be married to the Hon. Margaret Geddes, daughter of Lord Geddes. On 16 November 1937, Georg Donatus, Cecilie, their two young sons, Georg's mother Grand Duchess Eleonore, the children's nurse, a family friend, a pilot and two crewmen, flew from Darmstadt bound for the United Kingdom, where Prince Louis was due to be married. The aeroplane hit a factory chimney near Ostend and crashed into flames, killing all those on board. Cecilie was heavily pregnant with her fourth child at the time of the crash, and the remains of the newborn baby were found in the wreckage, indicating that Cecilie had gone into labour during the flight; the Belgian inquiry into the crash suggested that the pilot was attempting to land in Ostend despite the poor weather conditions because of the birth.[3]

Aftermath[edit]

Prince Louis' wedding had been scheduled for the 20th, but, following discussions with his future father-in-law Sir Auckland Geddes, was brought forward to the following day (17 November), as a small and quiet ceremony with the guests dressed in mourning.[4]

Immediately afterward, he set off with his new wife Margaret to Belgium to visit the crash site. The funeral and burial of Georg Donatus and his family took place at the Rosenhohe, Darmstadt, Hesse a few days later. Attending were Prince Philip, Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Prince Philipp of Hesse, Berthold, Margrave of Baden, Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia and Lord Louis Mountbatten, among others. A photograph of the funeral procession, showing Prince Louis as chief mourner, shows crowds saluting the mourners with the Hitler salute. World War II began less than two years later.

The Hereditary Grand Duke and Duchess' fourteen-month-old daughter, Johanna was the only one of the family who was not on board the aircraft. She was adopted by her uncle Prince Louis and aunt Princess Margaret in early 1938. Johanna died of meningitis in 1939.

With the death of the childless Prince Louis in 1968, the male line of the Hesse and by Rhine became extinct.

Titles[edit]

  • His Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

Georg Donatus never acceded to the grand ducal throne as it had been abolished at the end of the First World War. Titles became surnames after that point and it was rare for the head of a royal, grand ducal or ducal family to change his title upon accession as head of a house.

Ancestry[edit]

Patrilineal descent[edit]

  1. Gilbert I, Count of the Maasgau, d. 842
  2. Gilbert II, Count of the Maasgau, 825–875
  3. Reginar, Duke of Lorraine, 850–915
  4. Reginar II, Count of Hainaut, 890–932
  5. Reginar III, Count of Hainaut, 920–973
  6. Lambert I, Count of Leuven, 950–1015
  7. Lambert II, Count of Leuven, d. 1054
  8. Henry II, Count of Leuven, 1020–1078
  9. Godfrey I, Count of Leuven, 1060–1139
  10. Godfrey II, Count of Leuven, 1187–1226
  11. Godfrey III, Count of Leuven, 1140–1190
  12. Henry I, Duke of Brabant, 1165–1235
  13. Henry II, Duke of Brabant, 1207–1248
  14. Henry I, Landgrave of Hesse, 1244–1308
  15. Otto I, Landgrave of Hesse, 1272–1328
  16. Louis the Junker of Hesse, 1305–1345
  17. Hermann II, Landgrave of Hesse, 1341–1413
  18. Louis I, Landgrave of Hesse, 1402–1458
  19. Louis II, Landgrave of Hesse, 1438–1471
  20. William II, Landgrave of Hesse, 1469–1509
  21. Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, 1504–1567
  22. George I, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1547–1596
  23. Louis V, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1577–1626
  24. George II, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1605–1661
  25. Louis VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1630–1678
  26. Ernest Louis, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1667–1739
  27. Louis VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1691–1768
  28. Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1719–1790
  29. Louis I, Grand Duke of Hesse, 1753–1830
  30. Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse, 1777–1848
  31. Prince Charles of Hesse and by Rhine, 1809–1877
  32. Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, 1868–1937
  33. Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse, 1906–1937

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Worldroots.com
  2. ^ Curse of Hesse - Time Magazine 29-11-1937. Searchers poking in the charred wreck of the plane stumbled on the remains of an infant, prematurely delivered when the plane crashed. Accessed 20-12-2009
  3. ^ "Birth of Royal Infant seen as Cause of Crash". The Evening Independent. 23 November 1937. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "A Twelfth Victim.". Western Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA : 1916 - 1938) (Kalgoorlie, WA: National Library of Australia). 23 November 1937. p. 19. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse
Born: 1906 Died: 1937
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Ernst Ludwig
— TITULAR —
Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine
1937
Reason for succession failure:
Grand Dukedom abolished in 1918
Succeeded by
Louis V