Marie was born in Arolsen, then part of the German Principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont. Her younger brother, Friedrich , was the last reigning prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont . Two of her younger sisters, Emma and Helena , married her third cousin once removed William III of the Netherlands and Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (youngest son of Queen Victoria ), respectively.
He was born in Arolsen the son of Hereditary Prince Josias of Waldeck and Pyrmont and his wife, Duchess Altburg of Oldenburg (1903–2001). Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler were his godfathers.  Wittekind, who has served in the German Armed Forces and held the rank Lieutenant Colonel , succeeded as head of the House of Waldeck and Pyrmont on the death of his father on 30 November 1967. 
In 1985, Princess Michael acknowledged that her father had been a member of the Nazi party and held the rank of Major in the SS (Schutzstaffel). After her parents divorced, her father moved to Mozambique where he became a farmer and big game hunter, and her mother took Marie-Christine and her older brother to Sydney, Australia where she ran a hair salon.