Princess Christina of Hesse

Princess Christina Margarethe of Hesse (German: Christina Margarethe Prinzessin von Hessen; 10 January 1933 – 22 November 2011) was a German princess. A first cousin of the king Charles III of the United Kingdom, she was the wife, from 1956 to 1962, of Prince Andrew of Yugoslavia, a son of Alexander I of Yugoslavia.

Princess Christina
Born(1933-01-10)10 January 1933
Kronberg im Taunus, Weimar Republic
Died22 November 2011(2011-11-22) (aged 78)
Gersau, Switzerland
(m. 1956; div. 1962)

Robert Floris van Eyck
(m. 1962; div. 1986)
IssuePrincess Maria Tatiana of Yugoslavia
Prince Christopher of Yugoslavia
Sophie van Eyck
Mark van Eyck
Christina Margarethe
FatherPrince Christoph of Hesse
MotherPrincess Sophie of Greece and Denmark

Family background and early lifeEdit

Born in Germany on 10 January 1933 at Friedrichshof Castle near Kronberg im Taunus, Princess Christina ("Krista") of Hesse was the eldest child of Prince Christoph of Hesse (1901 — 1943) and Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark (1914 — 2001).[1][2] the youngest sister of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[2] Her father, Prince Christoph of Hesse, was a nephew of Germany's last emperor Wilhelm II. Her mother, Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, was a grand-daughter of KIng George I of Greece and a sister of Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Christina belonged by birth to the senior line of the House of Hesse, a junior branch of which reigned as grand dukes of Hesse and by Rhine within the German Empire until 1918.[3] Christina's paternal grandmother, Princess Margaret of Prussia, was a daughter of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter Victoria, and as such a sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Prince Christoph, a member of the Schutzstaffel (SS), held important positions in Germany's Nazi regime. During World War II, he was a major in the Luftwaffe.[4] On 7 October 1943, when Christina was ten years old, her father was killed in an airplane crash in the Apennine mountains near Forlì, Italy.[4][2] His widow married Prince George William of Hanover[2] in 1946.

From her mother's two marriages, Christina had four siblings and three half-siblings: Princess Dorothea of Hesse (born 1934), Prince Karl of Hesse (1937-2022), Prince Rainer of Hesse (born 1939), Princess Clarissa of Hesse (born 1944), Prince Welf of Hanover (1947-1981), Prince Georg of Hanover (born 1949) and Princess Friederike of Hanover (born 1954).

Her childhood homes included her paternal grandmother's palace of Friedrichshof in Taunus, a family castle at Panker in Holstein,[5] and her parents' residence in Berlin-Dahlem.[3]

Christina participated in the 1953 coronation of her aunt at Westminster Abbey, walking in the procession led by her maternal grandmother, Princess Alice.[1] Christina and her cousin Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg spent the winter of 1955-1956 living in London,[2][6] where Christina studied the restoration of paintings under Anthony Blunt.[6] It was reported that the princesses' closest friend in England was Prince Andrew of Yugoslavia.[7] They had met him the previous year in Portugal, and he thought they were lonely in London.[7]

First marriageEdit

Princess Christina of Hesse married Prince Andrew of Yugoslavia, the youngest son of Alexander I of Yugoslavia and Princess Maria of Romania, on 2 August 1956, at Friedrichshof Castle.[8] They had two children:[9]

  • Princess Maria Tatiana ("Tania") of Yugoslavia (born 18 July 1957), lived for a while at Buckingham Palace prior to her marriage to Gregory Thune-Larsen on 30 June 1990, has practised professional photography, and has issue.
  • Prince Christopher of Yugoslavia (4 February 1960[10] – 14 May 1994), lived first with his father and stepmother in Portugal until their divorce in 1972, whereupon he returned to England to live with his mother and step-father.[9] He was deployed in Belize and Northern Ireland after enlisting in the British army, becoming a sergeant in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers until 1988. He studied optic electronics, obtained a degree in laser engineering at Heriot-Watt University and trained at Craigie College in Ayr before teaching high school science at Bowmore on the Isle of Islay in Scotland under the name "Chris George". He was accidentally killed while bicycling home from Port Ellen in May 1994, news of which tragedy his godfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, broke to Christopher's grandmother, Princess Sophie of Hanover, then a guest at Windsor Castle while visiting from Germany.[9]

Soon after their marriage, Princess Christina and her first husband had purchased The Hollands, a commercial farm at Langton Green in Kent, England,[5] which did not prove a profitable venture.[4] Moving to London, Prince Andrew supported his family by working for an import/export business and, later, as a bank executive.[4]

In 1961 Christina left her husband to live with an abstract artist from the Netherlands, Robert Floris van Eyck.[4][11] Andrew initiated a divorce,[4] and obtained custody of the couple's two children when dissolution of the marriage became final on 31 May 1962.[9]

Second marriageEdit

Following her divorce, Christina married van Eyck on 3 December 1962 in London.[11][12][13] Of Sephardic extraction,[14] van Eyck was the son of poet, critic, essayist and philosopher Pieter Nicolaas van Eyck, and the brother of architect Aldo van Eyck. The couple had two children, Helen Sophia van Eyck (born 1963)[15] and Mark Nicholas van Eyck (born 1966).[16][17] Her first husband Prince Andrew also married for the second time, this time to another cousin, Princess Kira Melita zu Leiningen (1930-2006).

Christina and van Eyck separated in 1985, and divorced 3 February 1986.[9]

In addition to Germany and England, Princess Christina of Hesse had lived in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, and in Gersau, Switzerland.[9]



  1. ^ a b c Eade, Philip (2011). Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. XVIII–XIX, 108. ISBN 978-1-250-01363-7.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Duke's Nieces Job Hunting in London". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 30 December 1955. p. 1. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Haus Hessen (Maison de Hesse)". Almanach de Gotha (in French). Justus Perthes. 1942. pp. 61–63.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Valynseele, Joseph (1967). Les Prétendants aux Trônes d'Europe (in French). France: Saintard de la Rochelle. pp. 57, 451–452.
  5. ^ a b c "Haus Hessen (Maison de Hesse)". Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser, Band VI (in German). Glücksburg: C.A. Starke Verlag. 1961. pp. 63–66, 99–100.
  6. ^ a b "Serious Minded Princesses, Toast Of London, Prefer Work to Play". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Reuters. 28 January 1956. p. 28. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg". The Daily Telegraph. No. 44300. 21 November 1997. p. 31. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Royal Wedding at Kronberg Castle". The Daily Telegraph. No. 31510. London, England. 3 August 1956. p. 5. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Eilers, Marlene (1997). Queen Victoria's Descendants. Falköping: Rosvall Royal Books. pp. 66–68, 148–151, 158, 177, 179. ISBN 91-630-5964-9.
  10. ^ "Sonny Day for the Princess". Daily News. New York, New York. Reuters. 5 February 1960. p. C5. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Princess to Say an Abstract 'I Do'". Daily News. New York, New York. AP. 24 November 1962. p. 3. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Princess Married". The Guardian. London, England. 4 December 1962. p. 6. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Princess Christina of Hesse, a niece of Prince Philip". The Daily Telegraph. No. 33475. London, England. 4 December 1962. p. 17. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  14. ^ Fernández-Galiano, Luis (16 January 1999). "Fallece Aldo van Eyck, arquitecto clave del estructuralismo holandés". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Princess Christina of Hesse". The Daily Telegraph. No. 33761. London, England. 6 November 1963. p. 18. Retrieved 19 February 2019.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Princess Has A Son". Daily Independent Journal. San Rafael, California. UPI. 17 February 1966. p. 2. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  17. ^ Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh (1977). Burke's Royal Families of the World: Volume I Europe & Latin America. pp. 66–68, 148, 151, 177. ISBN 0-85011-023-8.

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