Prince Christoph Ernst August of Hesse (14 May 1901 – 7 October 1943) was a nephew of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He was a German SS officer and was killed on active duty in a plane crash during World War II. His brother-in-law, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, fought on the British side and married the future Queen Elizabeth II after the war.
Prince Christoph of Hesse was born in Frankfurt, the fifth son of Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse and Princess Margaret of Prussia. His father, Frederick Charles, a scion of the House of Hesse, was elected King of Finland in 1918, when Finland declared its independence after the collapse of the Russian Empire. However, the overwhelming Republican victories in the 1919 Finnish parliamentary election effectively ended any ambitions for a Finnish monarchy.
Christoph's mother was the daughter of Emperor Frederick III and of Victoria, Princess Royal. Prince Christoph was thus a great-grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Christoph had several brothers, including Prince Philipp and Prince Wolfgang. His two eldest brothers, Friedrich Wilhelm and Maximilian, both died in World War I.
Prince Christoph was a director in the Third Reich's Ministry of Air Forces, Commander of the Air Reserves, and held the rank of Oberführer in the SS. His brother Prince Philipp joined Hitler's SA. They were certainly not the only family members to embrace Nazism; their mother "Mossy" (a sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II) invited Adolf Hitler to tea and flew the swastika from her home at Schloss Kronberg.
The historian Hugo Vickers claims that Prince Christoph was "disenchanted" with the Nazi Party by the time of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. He told his mother: "The death of a certain dangerous and cruel man is the best news I had in a long time."
Prince Christoph served in the Luftwaffe Research Office and in 1942 he joined the staff of the Jagdgeschwader (fighter squadron) 53. He was primarily based in Tunisia and Sicily, with missions to Malta. After the Allied Invasion of Italy, he was recalled to Germany, but never made it home.
On 7 October 1943, he was killed when his plane, a Siebel 104, collided with a hill in the Apennine Mountains near Forlì, Italy. His body and the body of his copilot were found two days later and they were buried on the site.
Christoph married his second cousin, once removed Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark on 15 December 1930 in Kronberg im Taunus, Germany. Princess Sophie was the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, and the sister of the future Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
They had five children:
Write a comment (no registration required)