by Scott Mehl
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark was born at Tatoi Palace on June 22, 1911. She was the third daughter of Prince Andreas of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. Cecilie had four siblings:
- Princess Margarita (1905) – married Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, had issue
- Princess Theodora (1906) – married Berthold, Margrave of Baden, had issue
- Princess Sophie (1914) – married (1) Prince Christoph of Hesse, had issue; (2) Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hanover, had issue
- Prince Philippos (1921) – married Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, had issue
On February 2, 1931, in Darmstadt, Cecilie married her first cousin once removed, Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine. He was the son of Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich. Cecilie and Georg Donatus (known as Don) had three children:
- Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine (1931)
- Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine (1933)
- Princess Johanna of Hesse and by Rhine (1936)
Cecilie’s life came to a tragic end on November 16, 1937. A very pregnant Cecilie, her husband, their two sons, and her mother-in-law, were traveling by plane to London to attend the wedding of Don’s brother, Prince Ludwig and Margaret Geddes four days later. Facing bad weather, the plane was unable to land in Brussels as scheduled and was instead diverted to Ostend. While attempting to land, the plane clipped a chimney on a factory near the airport, and the plane crashed leaving no survivors.
Having received the news, a private wedding ceremony was hastily arranged for Ludwig and Margaret the following day. They then traveled to Belgium to accompany the bodies back to Darmstadt. A funeral was held a few days later, attended by all of Cecilie’s family. Cecilie and her family were all buried in the burial ground next to the New Mausoleum in the Rosenhöhe.
Ludwig and Margaret adopted Cecilie and Don’s only surviving child, Princess Johanna. Sadly, less than two years later, Johanna contracted meningitis and died. She was buried alongside the rest of her family.