Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse

Intro German noble
A.K.A. Georg Donatus von Hessen-Darmstadt
Was Noble Aristocrat
From Germany
Type Royals
Gender male
Birth 8 November 1906, Darmstadt, Germany
Death 16 November 1937, Ostend, Belgium (aged 31 years)
Star sign Scorpio
Politics Nazi Party

Prince Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse (Georg Donatus Wilhelm Nikolaus Eduard Heinrich Karl, 8 November 1906 – 16 November 1937) was the first child of Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse and his second wife, Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich. He was a nephew of Empress Alexandra, wife of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia.

Marriage and children

On 2 February 1931 at Darmstadt Georg, a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, married his first cousin once-removed, Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark, daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg (and thus a sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. They had four children:

Name Birth Death Notes
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 16 November 1937 Killed in air accident
Princess Johanna of Hesse and by Rhine 20 September 1936 14 June 1939 Died from meningitis.
Stillborn son 16 November 1937 Apparently born in or just before air accident.

On 1 May 1937 Georg Donatus and Princess Cecile both joined the Nazi Party.

Death

In October 1937, Georg Donatus' father, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse died. A few weeks after the funeral, his younger brother, Prince Louis was due to be married to the Hon. Margaret Geddes, daughter of Lord Geddes. On 16 November 1937, Georg Donatus, Cecilie, their two young sons, Georg's mother Grand Duchess Eleonore, the children's nurse, a family friend, a pilot and two crewmen, flew from Darmstadt bound for the United Kingdom, where Prince Louis was due to be married. The aeroplane hit a factory chimney near Ostend and crashed into flames, killing all those on board. Cecilie was heavily pregnant with her fourth child at the time of the crash, and the remains of the newborn baby were found in the wreckage, indicating that Cecilie had gone into labour during the flight; the Belgian inquiry into the crash suggested that the pilot was attempting to land in Ostend despite the poor weather conditions because of the birth.

Aftermath

Prince Louis' wedding had been scheduled for the 20th, but, following discussions with his future father-in-law Sir Auckland Geddes, was brought forward to the day following the accident (17 November), as a small and quiet ceremony with the guests dressed in mourning. Immediately afterward, he set off with his new wife Margaret to Belgium to visit the crash site. The funeral and burial of Georg Donatus and his family took place at the Rosenhöhe, Darmstadt, Hesse a few days later. Attending were Prince Philip, Prince Christoph of Hesse, Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Prince Philipp of Hesse, Berthold, Margrave of Baden, Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia and Lord Louis Mountbatten, among others. A photograph of the funeral procession, showing Prince Louis as chief mourner, shows crowds saluting the mourners with the Hitler salute. World War II began less than two years later. The Hereditary Grand Duke and Duchess' fourteen-month-old daughter, Johanna, was the only one of the family who was not on board the aircraft. She was adopted by her uncle Prince Louis and aunt Princess Margaret in early 1938. Johanna died of meningitis in 1939. With the death of the childless Prince Louis in 1968, the male line of the Hesse and by Rhine became extinct.

In popular culture

The crash figures in the plot of A Matter of Honour by Jeffrey Archer, in which 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. He is depicted in the Netflix series The Crown portrayed by German actor August Wittgenstein.

Titles

His Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine Georg Donatus never acceded to the grand ducal throne as it had been abolished at the end of the First World War. Titles became surnames after that point; and it was rare for the head of a royal, grand ducal or ducal family to change his title upon accession as head of a house.

Ancestry

16. Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse
16. Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse
8. Prince Karl of Hesse and by Rhine
17. Princess Wilhelmine of Baden
4. Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse
18. Prince Wilhelm of Prussia
9. Princess Elizabeth of Prussia
19. Landgravine Marie Anna of Hesse-Homburg
2. Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse
20. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
10. Albert, Prince Consort
21. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
5. Alice of the United Kingdom
22. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
11. Queen Victoria
23. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
1. Prince Georg Donatus
24. Karl Ludwig, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
12. Ferdinand, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
25. Princess Henriette of Bentheim and Steinfurt
6. Hermann, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
26. Anton Octavian, Prince of Collalto and San Salvatore
13. Countess Caroline of Collalto and San Salvatore
27. Countess Karolina Apponyi de Nagyappony
3. Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
28. Konstantin, Count of Stolberg-Wernigerode
14. Wilhelm, Count of Stolberg-Wernigerode
29. Baroness Ernestine von der Reck
7. Countess Agnes of Stolberg-Wernigerode
30. August, Count of Stolberg-Roßla
15. Countess Elisabeth of Stolberg-Roßla
31. Countess Caroline of Erbach-Schönberg
16. Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse
8. Prince Karl of Hesse and by Rhine
17. Princess Wilhelmine of Baden
4. Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse
18. Prince Wilhelm of Prussia
9. Princess Elizabeth of Prussia
19. Landgravine Marie Anna of Hesse-Homburg
2. Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse
20. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
10. Albert, Prince Consort
21. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
5. Alice of the United Kingdom
22. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
11. Queen Victoria
23. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
1. Prince Georg Donatus
24. Karl Ludwig, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
12. Ferdinand, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
25. Princess Henriette of Bentheim and Steinfurt
6. Hermann, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
26. Anton Octavian, Prince of Collalto and San Salvatore
13. Countess Caroline of Collalto and San Salvatore
27. Countess Karolina Apponyi de Nagyappony
3. Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
28. Konstantin, Count of Stolberg-Wernigerode
14. Wilhelm, Count of Stolberg-Wernigerode
29. Baroness Ernestine von der Reck
7. Countess Agnes of Stolberg-Wernigerode
30. August, Count of Stolberg-Roßla
15. Countess Elisabeth of Stolberg-Roßla
31. Countess Caroline of Erbach-Schönberg
8. Prince Karl of Hesse and by Rhine
17. Princess Wilhelmine of Baden
4. Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse
18. Prince Wilhelm of Prussia
9. Princess Elizabeth of Prussia
19. Landgravine Marie Anna of Hesse-Homburg
2. Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse
20. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
10. Albert, Prince Consort
21. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
5. Alice of the United Kingdom
22. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
11. Queen Victoria
23. Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
1. Prince Georg Donatus
24. Karl Ludwig, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
12. Ferdinand, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
25. Princess Henriette of Bentheim and Steinfurt
6. Hermann, Prince of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
26. Anton Octavian, Prince of Collalto and San Salvatore
13. Countess Caroline of Collalto and San Salvatore
27. Countess Karolina Apponyi de Nagyappony
3. Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich
28. Konstantin, Count of Stolberg-Wernigerode
14. Wilhelm, Count of Stolberg-Wernigerode
29. Baroness Ernestine von der Reck
7. Countess Agnes of Stolberg-Wernigerode
30. August, Count of Stolberg-Roßla
15. Countess Elisabeth of Stolberg-Roßla
31. Countess Caroline of Erbach-Schönberg

Patrilineal descent

Gilbert I, Count of the Maasgau, d. 842 Gilbert II, Count of the Maasgau, 825–875 Reginar, Duke of Lorraine, 850–915 Reginar II, Count of Hainaut, 890–932 Reginar III, Count of Hainaut, 920–973 Lambert I, Count of Leuven, 950–1015 Lambert II, Count of Leuven, d. 1054 Henry II, Count of Leuven, 1020–1078 Godfrey I, Count of Leuven, 1060–1139 Godfrey II, Count of Leuven, 1187–1226 Godfrey III, Count of Leuven, 1140–1190 Henry I, Duke of Brabant, 1165–1235 Henry II, Duke of Brabant, 1207–1248 Henry I, Landgrave of Hesse, 1244–1308 Otto I, Landgrave of Hesse, 1272–1328 Louis the Junker of Hesse, 1305–1345 Hermann II, Landgrave of Hesse, 1341–1413 Louis I, Landgrave of Hesse, 1402–1458 Louis II, Landgrave of Hesse, 1438–1471 William II, Landgrave of Hesse, 1469–1509 Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, 1504–1567 George I, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1547–1596 Louis V, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1577–1626 George II, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1605–1661 Louis VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1630–1678 Ernest Louis, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1667–1739 Louis VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1691–1768 Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, 1719–1790 Louis I, Grand Duke of Hesse, 1753–1830 Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse, 1777–1848 Prince Charles of Hesse and by Rhine, 1809–1877 Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse, 1868–1937 Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse, 1906–1937

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