Princess Johanna of Hesse and by Rhine

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Princess Johanna
Princess Johanna of Hesse and by Rhine in 1939.
House House of Hesse-Darmstadt
Father Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse
Mother Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
Born (1936-09-20)20 September 1936
Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany
Died 14 June 1939(1939-06-14) (aged 2)
Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany
Burial Rosenhöhe, Darmstadt
Grand Ducal Family of
Hesse and by Rhine
Ernest Louis
   Princess Elisabeth
   Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus
   Prince Louis
   Prince Ludwig
   Prince Alexander
   Princess Johanna

Princess Johanna Marina Eleonore of Hesse and by Rhine (20 September 1936 – 14 June 1939) was the third child and only daughter of Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse, and Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark. She was orphaned at the age of fourteen months when her parents, older brothers Ludwig and Alexander and paternal grandmother Eleonore were killed in an airplane crash on their way to a family wedding in London.[1]

After the accident, her uncle Ludwig married his bride Margaret Geddes. The couple adopted Johanna, their orphaned niece, and planned to raise her as their own daughter, but she developed meningitis and died twenty months later at the age of two and a half.[1] Her maternal grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, said later that the unconscious Johanna so closely resembled her mother at the same age that it felt like losing her daughter Cecilie all over again.[2] Following Johanna's death, she was buried with her parents and brothers at the Rosenhöhe. Her uncle Ludwig and aunt Margaret were not able to have children of their own.[1]

"Family curse"[edit]

Some considered the Hessian family victims of a curse due to the number of premature deaths in the family. Johanna was a great niece of Tsarina Alexandra and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, both of whom were killed with family members during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Her maternal great-grandmother Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and a great aunt, Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine, died of diphtheria. A haemophiliac great-uncle, Prince Friedrich of Hesse and by Rhine, tumbled twenty feet through an open window at age two and died of a brain hemorrhage hours later. An aunt, Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine, died at age eight of virulent typhoid, though she was rumored to have eaten from a poisoned dish meant for Nicholas II of Russia. One of Johanna's great-uncles, Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, was killed in 1979 by the Provisional Irish Republican Army along with his 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull, and his daughter's mother-in-law, Doreen Knatchbull, Baroness Brabourne. Early deaths continued into the next generation, when Leonora Knatchbull, a great-granddaughter of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, died at age five of a kidney tumor in 1991.[1]

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
  34. Princess Johanna of Hesse and by Rhine, 1936–1939



  1. ^ a b c d Duff (1967)
  2. ^ Vickers (2003)


  • Duff, David (1967). Hessian Tapestry. London, Frederick Muller.
  • Vickers, Hugo (2003). Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-30239-8