Born Krystyna Skarbek in Warsaw, Poland in 1915 , the daughter of Count Jerzy Skarbek, a Polish aristocrat and the granddaughter of a wealthy Jewish banker in the Goldfeder family. Was educated in a convent in Warsaw and at age 17 was crowned Miss Poland after winning a beauty contest.
Was married briefly but divorced her husband soon thereafter. Remarried in , this time to Georg Gizycki, a writer who was twice her age. After they were married, they were living in Africa, where he was working on a book, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939. The couple immediately traveled to Britain and she volunteered to work with British intelligence services (her husband joined the Free Polish Services and was later killed in combat).
Krystyna was brought into the Special Operations Executive branch of British intelligence, recruited because of her intellect and her fluency in several different languages. Was given the name Christine Granville by SOE and used it for the rest of her life. She was to work with resistance group in fighting the Nazi invasion and received special training in espionage.
Was assigned to Budapest where she worked under the cover of being a journalist. Her real purpose was to aid Polish refugees to escape across the border. An excellent skier, she skied several times across the Tatra Mountains into Poland to retrieve escaped Polish prisoners of war and bring them out of the country. She would go on to establish several escape routes, bringing Polish refugees back into England.
Was sent to parachute training in Cairo, Egypt and would use this training for numerous jumps into Nazi-occupied France. Was also assigned to gather information on German troop readiness in Poland as well as information on German armaments, including a new antitank gun. She traveled several times between England and Poland delivering this information. On her trip into Poland, she was stopped by German soldiers. She reportedly pulled the pins out of two live grenades and told the soldiers that if the they attempted to take her into custody, she would drop the grenades, killing all of them. The soldiers allowed her to retreat to safety.
Was stopped on another trip at the border but dumped incriminating evidence into a river beforehand. Unfortunately, she was still in possession of a large sum of money which she could not explain. Brazenly, she told the guards to either take the money and let her and her comrades or to turn everything over to their superiors (who would keep the money). The guards kept the money and let them escape. On another occasion, when stopped by border guards, she convinced them that she and her companions were simple farm peasants on their way to have a picnic. On yet another occasion where she and her companions were arrested by Hungarian police, she bluffed her way out of trouble, convincing them that she was related to Admiral Horthy, Regent of Hungary. She was soon thereafter released and made her way back to England with photos showing German troop buildup.
Was parachuted into southern France in 1944 and was used as a courier, using the name Pauline (and sometimes Jacqueline) Armand, delivering messages and materials that could not be transmitted via radio or telegraph to Cairo.
Granville was often used to spread propaganda, insisting that England would not abandon Poland in its fight against Nazi Germany and convincing Italian troops to desert their German allies. She worked for a period of time under Colonel Francois Cammaerts, head of the 10,000 troop maquis in Rhone Valley. When he and two allies were captured in Digne and imprisoned as spies, Granville reported met with the Nazi commandant and convinced him that if he did not release the three men immediately, he would be shot by the approaching Allied forces (A more likely scenario is that she claimed to be the niece of British General Montgomery, and threatened two local Digne liaisons. They demanded that she write out a statement clearing them of collaborating with the Nazi and also demanding monetary payment, both of which were accommodated).
As soon as the war ended, Granville was released from her intelligence duties and was forced to find any work she could. She worked for a time as switchboard operator at the India Hotel in London, then as a saleswoman at Harrod’s department store and later an attendant at the Paddington hotel.
In 1951 she took a job as a stewardess on the ocean liner, Winchester Castle which sailed between England, Australia and South Africa. Her superior on the liner was a steward named Dennis Muldowney. Muldowney who suffered from schizophrenia became obsessed with Granville and declared his love for her. After she rebuffed his advance several times, Granville quit her job and moved to London. Muldowney followed her there, quitting his job and taking a position with the Reform Club in Winchester. Again professing his love for her, Muldowney was told by Granville in no uncertain terms that she wanted him to leave her alone. After this final rejection, Muldowney, began stalking her. On June 15, 1952, Muldowney spotted her walking down there stairs in her hotel and rushing to her, stabbed her to death. Muldowney was sentenced to death for the murder and was hanged in September 1952 at Pentonville Prison.
Granville was buried with the French Croix de Guerre, a medal from Poland, the George Medal for Special Services, the Order of the British Empire and the badge of the French Resistence.