Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
|Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine|
22 June 1911|
Tatoi Palace, Tatoi, Kingdom of Greece
|Died||16 November 1937
|Spouse||Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine|
|Father||Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark|
|Mother||Princess Alice of Battenberg|
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Καικιλία της Ελλάδας και Δανίας) (22 June 1911 – 16 November 1937) was the wife of Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus of Hesse and third eldest sister to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Birth and ancestry
Cecilie was the third child and daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. She was born on 22 June 1911 at the summer estate of the Greek Royal Family at Tatoi, fifteen kilometres north of Athens. Although her given name was Cecilie, she was known to her family as Cécile.
Through her father Cecilie was a grandchild of King George I of Greece and his wife Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinova of Russia (a granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia). Through her mother she was a great-great granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Cecilie had three sisters: Margarita (wife of Prince Gottfried of Hohenlohe-Langenburg), Theodora (wife of Berthold, Margrave of Baden) and Sophie (wife firstly of Prince Christoph of Hesse and secondly of Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hanover). Her brother Philip, later Duke of Edinburgh, is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.
Marriage and children
On 2 February 1931 at Darmstadt, Cecilie married her maternal first cousin once-removed Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. They had four children:
|Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine||25 October 1931||16 November 1937||Killed in air accident|
|Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine||14 April 1933|
|Princess Johanna of Hesse and by Rhine||20 September 1936||14 June 1939||Died from meningitis.|
|Stillborn son||16 November 1937||Stillborn in air accident|
In October 1937, Cecilie's father-in-law Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse died. A few weeks after the funeral, her brother-in-law Prince Ludwig was due to be married to the Hon. Margaret Campbell-Geddes in London.
On 16 November 1937, Georg Donatus, Cecilie, their two young sons and Georg's mother Grand Duchess Eleonore left Darmstadt for London, where they planned to attend the wedding. The aircraft in which they were travelling struck a factory chimney in bad weather near Ostend, Belgium, and crashed in flames, killing all on board. Cecilie was eight months pregnant with her fourth child at the time of the crash, and the remains of her baby were found in the wreckage.
Cecilie was buried with her husband, two sons and the stillborn child in Darmstadt at the Rosenhöhe, the traditional burial place of the Hesse family. Cecilie's daughter Johanna was adopted by Prince Ludwig and Princess Margaret. However, Johanna died two years later from meningitis and is buried with her parents and siblings. Cecilie was the first of Prince Andrew and Princess Alice's children to die.
In popular culture
The crash figures in the plot of A Matter of Honour by Jeffrey Archer, where Grand Duke Georg has in his possession the jewels of his aunt, the last Tsaritsa of Russia, which the KGB are looking for. There is no evidence in reality that this was the case.
Titles, styles and honours
- 22 June 1911 – 2 February 1931: Her Royal Highness Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
- 2 February 1931 – 16 November 1937: Her Royal Highness Princess Cecile, The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, Princess of Greece and Denmark
- Greece: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia, 1st Class
- House of Hesse: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Order of the Golden Lion
- David Duff, Hessian Tapestry (London: Frederick Muller, 1967), plate facing p. 352.
- Greek Royal Family at the Wayback Machine (archived March 17, 2006)
- Jonathan Petropoulos, Royals and the Reich: The Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 382.
- "Germany: Curse of Hesse", Time magazine 29 November 1937.
- Duff, 351-352.
- Princess Cecile wearing bow formed Orders
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark.|
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
Cadet branch of the House of GlücksburgBorn: 22 June 1911 Died: 16 November 1937
|Titles in pretence|
Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
|— TITULAR —
Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine
9 October 1937 – 16 November 1937
Reason for succession failure:
Grand Duchy abolished in 1918
Title next held byMargaret Campbell Geddes