Thursday, November 17, 2011

Prince Ludwig marries after air crash





November 17, 1937

Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine and the Miss Margaret Geddes were married today in "a private wedding ceremony at St. Peter's Church in Eton Square, reports the Associated Press.    The couple began a "sad honeymoon" to Ostend to identify members of the Prince's family were who killed yesterday in an air crash in Belgium.

The bodies of the groom's mother, Grand Duchess Eleonore of Hesse and by Rhine, his older brother, Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus of Hesse and By Rhine and his wife, Cecile, and their two young sons, Princes Alexander and Ludwig, were on board plane bound for London to attend Prince Ludwig's wedding.  The plane crashed in a fog in Ostend, Belgium.  Six other people were also killed in the crash.

It was also disclosed earlier today, that the late Grand Duchess Cecile gave  birth prematurely "when the crash occurred."   The stillborn infant was placed in a coffin the Ostend hospital, where the flower-wreath bodies lay until further arrangements are made.

The wedding had been scheduled for Saturday, but was moved forward due to the tragedy.   Lord Louis Mountbatten, the groom' s first cousin, stood in as best man.   The Duke and Duchess of Kent and German Ambassador Joachim von Ribbentrop were among the guests.  The bride and most of the guests were dressed in black.

The Duchess of Kent and the late Grand Duchess Cecile were first cousins.

Prince Ludwig "gave the Nazi salute" as he left the church.

Hereditary Grand Duchess Cecile was due to give birth in six weeks.  The premature birth was confirmed by the mortuary where six coffins were provided.  The "sixth coffin contained the body of the baby."

Prince and Princess Ludwig are expected to arrive in Ostend this evening, and they will accompany the bodies to Darmstadt tomorrow.

Jewelry belonging to the late Grand Duchesses Eleonore and Cecile were found "among the wreckage."  Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus' youngest child, Princess Johanna Marina, remained behind in Darmstadt. 

Darmstadt is in mourning for the six deaths of members of the Grand Ducal family.  All of the city's streets "are crowded with mourners, and flags bordered with black crepe are at half-staff."

There are large crowds outside the Grand Ducal Palace.




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