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Prince Philip's Older Sister Princess Cecilie Died in a Tragic Accident When She Was Only 26

Olawale Ogunjimi
Feb 10, 2020
12:30 P.M.
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Prince Philip has lived an extended and fulfilled life; however, not all members of his immediate family were that blessed. Find out what happened to his sister Princess Cecilie who died in a tragic accident almost 85 years ago.

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Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has been living for almost 97 years, and in those years, the royalty has experienced grief that he may wish not to remember.

One particular striking incident is perhaps the tragic death of his elder sister Princess Cecilie who died in a plane crash while going for her brother-in-laws' wedding.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend Royal Ascot 2017 at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England | Photo: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend Royal Ascot 2017 at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England | Photo: Getty Images

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THE TRAGIC ACCIDENT

The 16th of November 1937 will forever be remembered as the day tragedy struck Prince Philip the most. His elder sister Princess Cecilie who was eight months pregnant at the time, was on her way to Germany for a wedding before the plane crashed, leading to her death.

The princess was not the only one aboard the plane; she was with her husband George Donatus, her mother Elenore, two of her children, and the governess of the children. There were no survivors from the crash.

The plane crash, which was caused by bad weather, was more painful because the princess, who was eight months pregnant at the time, went into labor and was trying to give birth according to some reports.

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Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886-1954), Crown Princess of Prussia, born in Schwerin (Germany). Ca. 1905. | Photo: Getty Images

Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886-1954), Crown Princess of Prussia, born in Schwerin (Germany). Ca. 1905. | Photo: Getty Images

While others suggest that the baby might have been removed from her womb due to the high impact force of the crash, whatever the case may be, it was a painful experience for all involved.

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The crash occurred when the plane crashed into the chimney of a factory, causing the wing and one of the engines to come off. This led to the death of all the eleven occupants of the plane, including the baby that was later found in the wreckage.

The Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh re-visit Broadlands, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20 | Photo: Getty Images

The Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh re-visit Broadlands, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20 | Photo: Getty Images

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PRINCESS CECILE

The princess was the third of the five children born to Princess Alice and Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark.

The other children were princess Margarita, Theodora, Sophie, and Prince Philip. The family was exiled from Greece in 1922 and settled in Paris.

One surprising thing about the wedding was that none of his sisters were in attendance.

Princess Marie Cecilie of Prussia holding her two pet kittens, circa 1955 | Photo: Getty Images

Princess Marie Cecilie of Prussia holding her two pet kittens, circa 1955 | Photo: Getty Images

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A SAD STORY

The young Cecilie as she was fondly called got married to her first cousin removed, Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse with whom she raised three children and expected the fourth before their demise

Following the death of 26-year-old Cecile and 31-year-old George with two of their children, people were hopeful that their only surviving child Princess Johana would live long to carry the legacy of the family.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on his visit to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US. | Source: Wikimedia Commons

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on his visit to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US. | Source: Wikimedia Commons

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However, that was not to be as the then two-year-old Johana died two years after her parent's death due to meningitis.

Johana was laid to rest beside the rest of her family, who had been buried in the presence of Prince Philip, surrounded by people performing the Nazi salute to the late family.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, looking at City Hall in London. | Source: WikiMedia Commons

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, looking at City Hall in London. | Source: WikiMedia Commons

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LIFE AFTER CECILE'S DEATH

Following the death of Princess Cecile, Prince Philip joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1939, just before World War II broke out. That year while touring the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, he spent time with then-Princess Elizabeth.

The two kept in contact over the years via letters and eventually started seeing each other. In November 1947, they tied the knot at Westminster Abbey.

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One surprising thing about the wedding was that none of his sisters were in attendance. This was because all his sisters had connections with the Nazis as they had all gotten married to Germans.

If Cecile were to be alive, she would have been 109 years old already, even though she might have passed on before now. She did not get the chance to meet any of her siblings' children, which in itself is saddening.

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