Who was Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark?
Her Royal Highness Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark was the third-eldest sister to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Her father was the Grand Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and her mother, the Princess Alice of Battenberg.
On 22nd June 1911, she was born at the summer estate of the Greek Royal Family at Tatoi. Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark’s siblings included Margarita, Theodora and Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark. Her brother was Philip who later became the Duke of Edinburgh after having married Queen Elizabeth II.
Marriage and Children of Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
The legendary marriage of the Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark took place on 2nd February 1931 at Darmstadt. The Princess married the handsome Georg Donatus, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse. They had three children, two boys and one baby daughter.
Prince Ludwig was born in 1931, Prince Alexander on 1933 and Princess Johanna, the youngest in 1936. According to various sources, they were a happy family and soon Princess Cecilie was expecting her fourth child.
What happened to Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark?
The fate of the family would turn out to be exceptionally tragic with some people even believing that the family was cursed. It was just one year before World War II broke out when Princess Cecilie was eight months pregnant and expecting her fourth child. On October 1937 Georg Donatus’ father, the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse died.
shortly after, the family arranged a match between Prince Ludwig (Georg Donatus’ brother) and the Hon. Margaret Campbell-Geddes. Soon, the wedding plans were in full swing with the ceremony being planned to take place in London. On 16th November Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark along with her entire family boarded a flight for London.
On that flight, travelling with Princess Cecilie, was her husband, mother-in-law, her young sons and Lina Henar the children’s nurse. Princess Johanna was left at Darmstadt because she was considered too young to accompany the family and the Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark was uncomfortable taking her on the flight. This could perhaps be due to the fact that the Princess was mortally terrified of flying.
The weather was absolutely clear and sunny when they took off, but it later became extremely foggy after flying for some time. No one knows the exact reason why but the pilot decided to make a quick landing near Brussels. However, he could not do so because of the dense fog and decided to land at Ostende, the next adjoining airport.
But it would turn out that Ostende Airport also had dense fog. The pilot was not able to spot a tall factory chimney in the bad weather and as a result, the aircraft’s wings hit. Within minutes the plane burst into flames and crashed to the ground. There were a total of eleven people on board including the Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark.
Unfortunately, nobody survived the crash. When the rescue team arrived, they found the dead body of a newly born baby within the wreckage. It is therefore believed that the Princess gave birth to her fourth child during the flight. This might also explain why the pilot tried to make an emergency and unscheduled landing.
The funeral took place in Nazi Germany in Darmstadt at the Rosenhöhe. This site is the traditional burial place of the Hesse family.
The sole survivor of their young family was Princess Johanna who was left at home. She was later adopted by her uncle Prince Ludwig but died from meningitis just two years later on 14th June 1939. The young princess was buried in Darmstadt with her family after her untimely death.