Lady Katherine Brandram

Share this article

Lady Katherine Brandram

Born: 4 May, 1913, in Athens. Died: 2 October, 2007, in Buckinghamshire, aged 94.

SHE was related to many of the royal families of Europe yet Lady Katherine Brandram spent most of her youth leading a somewhat nomadic life and then, following her marriage to a British Army officer, chose instead a quiet life in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. But Lady Katherine was the daughter of a king, the sister of three kings and a queen, the aunt of two kings and two queens and first cousin to Prince Philip. Lady Katherine's distinguished pedigree meant she was the granddaughter of a king and a Kaiser and the niece of a Kaiser. She had classic good looks (on a visit to Hollywood in the 1930s she was offered a film contract) but retained an old-fashioned style and elegance and even in her final years - many of which were spent in a wheelchair - she never lost her spirit and wit.

Born Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark, Lady Katherine was the daughter of Constantine of Greece and Sophie of Prussia. Her father's lineage was from the Russian and Greek royal families while on her mother's side she was related to Frederick (the Emperor of Germany) and his wife Victoria, who was the daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Her parents were deposed on several occasions throughout her youth (the first time when she was only four) but the friction between her parents added to a stressful upbringing. During the First World War, Lady Katherine was educated first in Switzerland then at a boarding school in Kent.

In the 1920s the family were exiled to Florence, where she lived with her sister, Queen Helen of Romania. In 1934 she was a bridesmaid - as was the young Princess Elizabeth, now The Queen - at the wedding of the Duke of Kent and Lady Katherine's cousin Princess Marina of Greece.

In 1935 the monarchy was restored in Greece and Lady Katherine returned with her family to Athens to fulfil her royal duties. In fact all her three brothers were, at some stage, to ascend the throne of Greece but it was a time of great political turmoil, with frequent coups and much unrest.

When war broke out in 1939 she joined the Greek Red Cross and was involved in nursing the sick at field hospitals.

In 1941 the family had to flee Greece in a flying boat rapidly organised by the RAF and Lady Katherine eventually made her way to South Africa, where she spent the rest of the war . There, in somewhat reduced circumstances, she continued her nursing and worked for the blind in a military hospital in Cape Town. She was known simply as Sister Katherine.

Making her way back to England, she met on board the ship a Royal Artillery officer, Major Richard Campbell Brandram MC, and the two were married in 1947.

Lady Katherine fitted into the lifestyle of the wife of an army officer while her husband saw service in various parts of the world. They spent some years in Baghdad and other troubled areas where the British Army maintained a military presence.

King George VI decided, after her marriage, to formalise Lady Katherine's position and granted her the title of Lady Katherine Brandram, with the rank of a duke.

Lady Katherine retired from public life and enjoyed painting and family life in a cottage in Marlow. She had attended the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and her cousin Prince Philip and the wedding of Crown Prince Paul of Greece in 1995.

One of her last public appearances was at the Duke of Edinburgh's 80th birthday service at St George's Chapel in Windsor in June 2001. Major Brandram died in 1994 and Lady Katherine is survived by their son.