The Heartbreaking Death Of Prince Philip's Sister, Cecilie

Although Prince Philip's life might have looked perfect from the outside, he experienced many traumatic events during his long life. When he was just a toddler, his father was forced into exile by an army court martial, which meant his family had to flee from Greece (via BBC). They then found shelter in France, where Philip attended a day school, but tragedy soon struck again. His beloved mother experienced a mental breakdown and was institutionalized against her will, according to Vogue. Philip's father later ran off with his mistress, leaving the prince pretty much alone at just the age of 10. 

This left Philip having to bounce between family members that were living in different parts of the world. The royal didn't hear from his mother for years, which had to be very difficult for a small child to go through. "It's simply what happened," the prince later commented (via Town & Country). "The family broke up. My mother was ill, my sisters were married, my father was in the south of France. I just had to get on with it. You do. One does." If that weren't enough for a young man to go through, he also lost his sister at a young age.

How Prince Philip's sister passed away

Philip's sister, Princess Cecilie, married Georg Donatus, who was the Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse (via Salon Privé Magazine). By all accounts they were a happy family and had three children together, with one on the way. In 1937, they were planning to attend a wedding in London and boarded an airplane while Cecilie was eight months pregnant. Their daughter Princess Johanna was left home because she was considered too young to travel at the time.

Although the family's plane took off while it was a sunny day, soon fog rolled in during their flight. The pilot had to make an unexpected landing, but because of thick haze he crashed into a factory chimney. Sadly, nobody made it out of the wreck alive. When responders came to the scene they found a newly born baby that had perished, leading them to believe this was the reason for the emergency landing. Cecilie was just 26 years old at the time of her death. 

Philip was just a teenager when he was told of his sister's heartbreaking passing and was said to be in "profound shock" (via BBC). It was also noted that even though he felt deep sorrow, Philip didn't break down because of all the other tragedies he'd experienced.