Princess Benedikte of Denmark

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Princess Benedikte
Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Princess Benedikte of Denmark -2.jpg
Benedikte at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden, 8 June 2013
Born (1944-04-29) 29 April 1944 (age 76)
Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
IssueGustav, 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Princess Alexandra, Countess Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille
Princess Nathalie, Mrs. Johannsmann
Full name
Benedikte Astrid Ingeborg Ingrid
FatherFrederick IX of Denmark
MotherIngrid of Sweden

Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg RE, SKmd, D.Ht. (Benedikte Astrid Ingeborg Ingrid, born 29 April 1944) is the second daughter and child of King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark. She is the younger sister of the reigning Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, and the older sister of Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

Princess Benedikte often represents her elder sister at official or semi-official events. She and her late husband, Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, have three children. Princess Benedikte is currently 11th in the line of succession to the Danish throne.[2]

Early life[edit]


Princess Benedikte was born on 29 April 1944 at the Frederick VIII Palace in the Amalienborg Palace Complex in Copenhagen as the second child and daughter of Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark and Crown Princess Ingrid née Princess Ingrid of Sweden. Her father was the eldest son of King Christian X of Denmark and Queen Alexandrine née Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin; and her mother was the only daughter of Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden (later King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden) and his first wife Crown Princess Margaret née Princess Margaret of Connaught.

Her birth took place during Nazi Germany's Occupation of Denmark. The day after the birth of the princess, members of the Danish resistance group Holger Danske performed a salute of 21 bombs in the Ørstedsparken public park in central Copenhagen as a reference to the traditional 21-gun salute performed by the Danish Army and Navy at the occasion of royal births.[3]

She was baptised on 24 May 1944 in the Holmen Church in Copenhagen. Her godparents were King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine (her paternal grandparents), Prince Gustav of Denmark (paternal grand-uncle), King Gustav V of Sweden (maternal great-grandfather), Prince Sigvard, Duke of Uppland (maternal uncle), Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark (paternal aunt-by-marriage), Princess Ingeborg of Denmark (paternal grand-aunt), Princess Margaretha of Sweden (her father's first cousin), Sir Alexander Ramsay (maternal grand-uncle) and Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.[4]

Princess Benedikte has one elder sister, Margrethe, present Queen of Denmark, and a younger sister, Anne Marie, who was born in 1946 and married Constantine II of Greece.

Childhood and education[edit]

Princess Benedikte as a bridesmaid at the 1962 wedding of Princess Birgitta of Sweden and Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern.

Princess Benedikte and her sisters grew up in apartments at Frederick VIII's Palace at Amalienborg in Copenhagen and in Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand. She spent summer holidays with the royal family at her parents' summer residence at Gråsten Palace in Southern Jutland. On 20 April 1947, King Christian X died and Benedikte's father ascended the throne as King Frederick IX.

At the time of her father's accession to the throne, only males could ascend the throne of Denmark. As her parents had no sons, it was assumed that her uncle Prince Knud would one day assume the throne. The popularity of Frederick IX and his daughters and the more prominent role of women in Danish life paved the way for a new Act of Succession in 1953 which permitted female succession to the throne following the principle of male-preference primogeniture, where a female can ascend to the throne if she has no brothers. Benedikte's elder sister Margrethe therefore became heir presumptive, and Princess Benedikte and Princess Anne-Marie became second and third in the line of succession.

Princess Benedikte was educated at N. Zahle's School, a private school in Copenhagen, followed by stays at a boarding school (Benenden School)[5] in England and a Swiss finishing school. In 1965 she took a class at the Margrethe-Skolen, a private fashion and design school in Copenhagen.[6]


Princess Benedikte with Prince Richard before their marriage

Benedikte was married on 3 February 1968 at Fredensborg Palace Church to Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1934-2017). They had three children:

The King had decreed that Princess Benedikte's children would need to be raised in Denmark in order to have succession rights. Since the condition was not met, Princess Benedikte's three children are not in line to succeed to the throne.[7] The children of Princess Benedikte are styled as Highnesses in Denmark by an Order in Council. Elsewhere they are Serene Highnesses by courtesy.


Princess Benedikte at the summer camp of The Danish Guide and Scout Association in 1999.

Princess Benedikte is very much involved in the Scout/Guide organization in Denmark as well as internationally. When she was a child, a special Scout unit was created, so that she could join the Guides. Now her involvement is more at the organisational level as she is chairman for Pigespejdernes Fællesråd Danmark (Joint Committee of Girl Guides in Denmark). She is patron of De grønne pigespejdere (The Green Girl Guides, Denmark) and Det Danske Spejderkorps (The Danish Guide and Scout Association). In addition she is patron of the Olave Baden Powell Society (OB-PS), a support organisation for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

She is an honorary member of the St George's Guilds in Denmark. In 2007 she was awarded with a prize of honour by this Scout association for adults.[8]

She is also involved in equestrian sport, and has acted as an honorary patron of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses.[9] In 2006, she ran in an election for president of the International Equestrian Federation, but she was heavily defeated, earning only 16 votes and placing last out of the three candidates.[10]

Titles, styles, honours and awards[edit]

Benedikte's monogram

As Princess of Denmark, Benedikte is entitled to the style "Her Royal Highness".[11]




Awards and patronages[edit]





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  5. ^ Courtney, Nicholas (1986). Princess Anne: A Biography. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Retrieved 22 April 2020. The school helped too, although Miss Gee admitted to having a Royal charge 'a bit of a shock, but we had had a princess at Benenden before - a Danish one [Benedikte] - and after she [Anne] had arrived, it was all perfectly normal.
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External links[edit]

Princess Benedikte of Denmark
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 29 April 1944
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Princess Athena of Denmark
Line of succession to the Danish throne
11th position
Succeeded by
last in line