Princess Benedikte of Denmark

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Princess Benedikte
Dowager Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Princess of Denmark
Princess Benedikte of Denmark -2.jpg
The Princess at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden, 8 June 2013
Born (1944-04-29) 29 April 1944 (age 72)
Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Spouse Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (m. 1968; d. 2017)
Issue Prince Gustav, 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Princess Alexandra
Princess Nathalie
Full name
Benedikte Astrid Ingeborg Ingrid
House Glücksburg[1]
Father Frederick IX of Denmark
Mother Princess Ingrid of Sweden

Princess Benedikte of Denmark RE, SKmd, D.Ht. (Benedikte Astrid Ingeborg Ingrid, dowager Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, born 29 April 1944) is the second daughter of King Frederick IX of Denmark and Ingrid of Sweden. 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 eleventh in the line of succession to the Danish throne.[2]

Early life[edit]

Birth[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 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 Crown Princess Margaret née Princess Margaret of United Kingdom.

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]

Baptism[edit]

She was baptised on 24 May 1944 in the Church of Holmen in Copenhagen. Her godparents were King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine (her paternal grandparents), Prince Gustav of Denmark (paternal granduncle), 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 grandaunt), Princess Margaretha of Sweden (her fathers first cousin), Sir Alexander Ramsay (maternal granduncle) and Queen Elizabeth, Queen Consort of United Kingdom.[4]

At her birth, Princess Benedikte had one elder sister, Margrethe, the present Queen of Denmark. Her second sister Princess Anne Marie was born in 1946. Anne-Marie later married Constantine II of Greece and now lives in Greece.

Childhood[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 VIIII's Palace at Amalienborg in Copenhagen and in Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand. She spent summer holidays with the royal family in her parent's 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 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.[5]

Along with her younger sister, Anne-Marie, Benedikte was a bridesmaid at the 1962 wedding of Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark.

Marriage[edit]

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, born in Giessen on 29 October 1934. He was the son of Prince Gustav Albrecht, 5th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1907–1944) and his wife, Margareta Fouché d'Otrante (1909–2005). The King decreed that her 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.[6] Prince Richard died on 13 March 2017 after 49 years of marriage. [7]

Interests[edit]

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]

Children and grandchildren[edit]

The children of Princess Benedikte are styled as Highnesses in Denmark by an Order in Council. Elsewhere they are Serene Highnesses by courtesy.

Titles, styles, honours and awards[edit]

Benedikte's monogram
  • 1944 — 1968: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark[11]
  • 1968 — 1969: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark, The Hereditary Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
  • 1969 — 2017: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark, The Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
  • 2017 — present: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark, The Dowager Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

The full title of Princess Benedikte is: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte Astrid Ingeborg Ingrid of Denmark, The Dowager Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Dowager Countess of Sayn, Dowager Lady of Homburg, Vallendar, Neumagen and Neuenhemsbach, Knight of the Order of the Elephant, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog, Recipient of the Cross of Honour of the Order of the Dannebrog.


Honours[edit]

National Honours[edit]

Foreign Honours[edit]

Awards and Patronages[edit]

National[edit]

Foreign[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "150 years of the House of Glücksborg". Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Succession to the throne – Official website of the Danish Monarchy
  3. ^ Peter Øvig Knudsen: Efter drabet (s. 191), forlaget Press, Oslo 2003, ISBN 82-7547-119-2
  4. ^ Prinsesse Benediktes fødsel og dåb – Website of the Danish National Archives.
  5. ^ "Stilfuld stilfærdighed" (in Danish). Kristeligt Dagblad. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  6. ^ Conditional Consent, Dynastic Rights and the Danish Law of Succession at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 August 2009), Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard.
  7. ^ Paulsen, Tommy M. (14 March 2017). "HH Prince Richard Has Died". kongehuset.dk (in Danish). Royal Family of Denmark. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  8. ^ Rosenbom, Niels (December 2007). "Prize of honour to HRH Princess Benedikte". World Gazette Mondiale-News from the International Scout and Guide Fellowship (an organisation for adults)-ISGF. Archived from the original (– Scholar search) on 9 May 2008. 
  9. ^ "Three candidates for the FEI Presidency". FEI. International Equestrian Federation. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
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  11. ^ "Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte". Danish Royal Court. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
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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
Princess Elisabeth of Denmark
Line of succession to the British throne
descended from Arthur, son of Victoria
Succeeded by
The Hereditary Prince of
Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg