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Please help improve this article by expanding it. Further information might be found on the talk page. (August 2007) Marita Georgina Phillips (b. 28 May 1954, London), a British songwriter and playwright[1][2], was born the third daughter of Lt.-Col. Harold Pedro Joseph Phillips and his wife, Georgina Wernher, who was the elder daughter and co-heiress of Sir Harold Wernher, 3rd Bt, by his wife Countess Anastasia de Torby (later Lady Zia Wernher, CBE). She had a brother Nicholas Harold Phillips (1947-1991), two older sisters including the Duchess of Abercorn, and a younger sister Natalia (the Duchess of Westminster).[1] Marita is a direct descendant of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin[3]. Through Pushkin, she is descended from his African great-grandfather, Abram Petrovich Gannibal (otherwise Ibrahim Hannibal) who was Peter the Great's protégé.[1] She has written songs for artists such as Peter Skellern, Demis Roussos, William Lovelady and Art Garfunkel. She furthermore wrote the libretto for the opera “The Poet and the Tsar”, based on the lives of her great-great-great-grandfathers, Alexander Pushkin and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, which were performed by the Helikon Opera in Moscow in 2007 as well as a play on Alexander Pushkin, entitled “Song from a Cage.” Marita Phillips studied acting at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and ballet at the Nesta Brooking School before training as a mime with Adam Darius, with whom she founded and ran The Mime Centre, London. Royal ancestry Marita and her three other sisters, including the Duchess of Abercorn and the Duchess of Westminster are close to the British Royal Family, and are related distantly, via their Russian great-grandfather, to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.[1][4] Their maternal grandmother Lady Wernher was born Countess Anastasia de Torby (later Lady "Zia" Wernher), younger morganatic daughter of Grand Duke Michael Mihailovich of Russia (a grandson of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia) by his wife Countess Sophie of Merenberg, morganatic daughter of Prince Nicholas of Nassau (himself brother of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg by his wife, the younger daughter of Russia's greatest poet Alexander Pushkin. Lady Zia's sister Nadezhda (or "Nada") was wife of the George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, elder maternal uncle of Prince Philip. The Torby sisters were third cousins of the prince through their common ancestor Nicholas I. It is through their Russian grand ducal father that Marita is descended from Sophia, Electress of Hanover. Marita's sister Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster is a godmother of Prince William of Wales. Marita's mother, Lady Kennard, remains a close friend of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1982, Marita married Randall Crawley (1950-1988), a son of Aidan Crawley MP and his wife Virginia Cowles. Crawley was killed with his brother Andrew in a private plane crash near Turin in Italy on 10 September 1988[5][6], leaving issue two sons and one daughter. The posthumous younger son Galen Crawley is a godson of Charles, Prince of Wales.[7] In 2006, Marita remarried, her second husband being the journalist, turned media baron, Andrew Knight (b. 1939).[1] Siblings Alexandra Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn (born 27 February 1946) Nicholas Harold Phillips (23 August 1947–1 March 1991) Fiona Mercedes Phillips (born 30 March 1951) Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster (born 8 May 1959) References ^ a b c d e The Peerage A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe ^ CDI Library Russia List ^ The Wire Pushkin gets a makeover in the west ^ London tribute to honor contributions to conservation and the arts ^ Harriet Crawley, their sister, speaks about the Crawley Gap Year Scholarships in memory of her brothers.[1] Retrieved 18 September 2007. ^ " Ayer's adopted son dies" The Daily Telegraph, 2004. [2] Harriet Crawley loses her husband Julian Ayer, adoptive son of the philosopher Freddie Ayer, in a Sri Lankan flood. ^ Work of the SMA Trust The Peerage A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe Work of the SMA Trust London tribute to honor contributions to conservation and the arts The Wire Pushkin gets a makeover in the west CDI Library Russia List This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. You can help. The discussion page may contain suggestions. (May 2009) Persondata Name Crawley, Maria Alternative names Short description Date of birth 1954 Place of birth Date of death Place of death