Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark: Wikis


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Princess Cecilie
Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse
Spouse Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse
Prince Ludwig
Prince Alexander
Princess Johanna
House House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
House of Hesse-Darmstadt
Father Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
Mother Princess Alice of Battenberg
Born 22 June 1911(1911-06-22)
Tatoi Palace, Tatoi, Greece
Died 16 November 1937 (aged 26)[1]
Ostend, Belgium

Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark (Greek: Πριγκίπισσα Σεσίλια της Ελλάδας και Δανίας) (22 June 1911 – 16 November 1937) was the wife of Hereditary Grand Duke George Donatus of Hesse and the sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.


Birth and ancestry

Cecilie as a young girl.

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 indeed Cecilie, she was known to her family as Cécile.

Cecilie was baptised at Tatoi on 2 July 1911. Her godparents were King George V of the United Kingdom, Grand Duke Ernst Louis of Hesse, Prince Nicholas of Greece and Duchess Vera of Württemberg.

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-granddaughter of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha).

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 of the United Kingdom.

In 1922 Cecilie and her sisters were bridesmaids at the wedding of their uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten (later Earl Mountbatten of Burma) to Edwina Ashley.[2]

Marriage and children

Princess Cecilie with her children Princes Alexander and Ludwig and Princess Johanna.

On 2 February 1931 at Darmstadt Cecilie married George Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. They had four children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Prince Ludwig Ernst Andreas of Hesse 25 October 1931 16 November 1937 Killed in air accident
Prince Alexander Georg Karl Heinrich of Hesse 14 April 1933 16 November 1937 Killed in air accident
Princess Johanna Marina Eleonore of Hesse 20 September 1936 14 June 1939 Died from meningitis.
Stillborn son[3] 16 November 1937 16 November 1937 Stillborn in air accident

On 1 May 1937 Cecilie and her husband both joined the Nazi Party.[4]


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, along with Georg's mother Grand Duchess Eleonore, left Darmstadt for London. The aeroplane hit a factory chimney near Ostend and crashed into flames, killing all those on board. Cecilie was eight months pregnant[3] with her fourth child at the time of the crash, and the remains of her baby were found in the wreckage, indicating that Cecilie had gone into labour[5] or suffered sufficient bodily trauma to result in birth.

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; she died two years later from meningitis and is buried with her parents and siblings.

This is used in A Matter of Honour by Jeffrey Archer. It claims that the Grand duke was actually holding the jewels of his aunt, the last Tsaritsa of Russia, which the KGB are looking for.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


Titles and styles

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark (1911–1931)
  • Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine (1931–1937)


See also

Monarchical Styles of
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
Reference style: HRH
Spoken style: Your Royal Highness
Alternative style: Ma'am


  1. ^
  2. ^ David Duff, Hessian Tapestry (London: Frederick Muller, 1967), plate facing p. 352.
  3. ^ a b Greek Royal Family
  4. ^ Jonathan Petropoulos, Royals and the Reich: The Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 382.
  5. ^ Duff, 351-352.
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 22 June 1911 Died: 16 November 1937
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
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 by
Margaret Campbell-Geddes


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