By DAVID BLACKMORE
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The Duke of Edinburgh left Norfolk this morning to travel to London attend the funeral of his niece, Princess Margarita of Baden.
The 80-year-old had been a regular visitor to Sandringham House during Prince Philip and the Queen’s annual Christmas break in Norfolk.
This included attending the royal Christmas lunches and attending church services at the nearby St Mary Magdalene Church.
Her funeral is being held at St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in London. The Queen will not be in attendance as she is going to a meeting of a Women’s Institute meeting at a Norfolk village hall this afternoon.
The 86-year-old monarch is the honorary president of Sandringham WI, which meets at West Newton Village Hall.
Princess Margarita, was well known in Britain, having trained as a nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in the 1950s and made England her home after her marriage to Prince Tomislav of Yugoslavia.
She was born at Salem, Germany, on July 14 1932, the eldest of three children of Prince Berthold, Margrave of Baden, and his wife, Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, a sister of Prince Philip.
Margarita, along with her parents, was not invited to the Queen’s wedding in 1947 but they did attend the Coronation in 1953 as guests of Prince Philip. At the time of the Coronation, Margarita had been in London for five years.
It was in London that Princess Margarita met her future husband, Prince Tomislav of Yugoslavia, then in exile – as were all the Yugoslav Royal family.
Prince and Princess Tomislav married in a civil ceremony at Salem on June 5, 1957. The next day they were married in Orthodox and Lutheran services.
Prince Philip attended the wedding and with King Simeon of Bulgaria, the Duke of Edinburgh also acted as a witness at the Serbian Orthodox service.
The Tomislavs settled in England and had two children, Prince Nikolas, born in 1958, and Princess Katarina, born in 1959.
Prince Tomislav and Princess Margarita ran a fruit farm near Billingshurst in Sussex, but despite their best efforts it was not a financial success. They divorced in 1981, and Tomislav remarried, had further children and died in 2000.
In the years that she was on her own, Princess Margarita was included in all the great royal ceremonies, such as the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Her last appearances were at the wedding of the Duke of Cambridge in April 2011 and the Duke of Edinburgh’s 90th birthday service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, two months later.
She was also invited to the Queen’s annual Christmas lunch for the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace.