|Birth||April 29, 1944 (Amalienborg, Copenhagen Municipality, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark)|
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Prince Richard died on 13 March 2017 after 49 years of marriage.
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.
She is also involved in equestrian sport, and has acted as an honorary patron of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses. 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.
Children and grandchildren
- Gustav, 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (born 12 January 1969). His long-term girlfriend is Carina Axelsson (born 5 August 1968).
- Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (born 20 November 1970). On 6 June 1998 at Gråsten Palace, she was married to Count Jefferson von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth (born 12 July 1967). The couple has two children:
- Count Richard von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth (born 14 September 1999).
- Countess Ingrid von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth (born 16 August 2003).
- Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (born 2 May 1975). On 27 May 2010, she married to Alexander Johannsmann (born 6 December 1977). The couple has two children:
- Konstantin Johannsmann (born 24 July 2010).
- Louisa Johannsmann (born 28 January 2015).
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
- 1944 — 1968: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark
- 1968 — 1969: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark, The Hereditary Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
- 1969 — present: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark, The Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
The full title of Princess Benedikte is: Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte Astrid Ingeborg Ingrid of Denmark, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Countess of Sayn, 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.
- Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant (R.E.)
- Denmark: Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog(S.Kmd.)
- Denmark: Dame of the Royal Family Decoration of King Christian X
- Denmark: Dame of the Royal Family Decoration of King Frederik IX
- Denmark: Dame of the Royal Family Decoration of Queen Margrethe II
- Denmark: Recipient of the Cross of Honour of the Order of the Dannebrog(D.Ht.)
- Denmark: Recipient of the Homeguard Medal of Merit
- Denmark: Recipient of the 100th Anniversary Medal of the Birth of King Christian X
- Denmark: Recipient of the 50th Anniversary Medal of the Arrival of Queen Ingrid to Denmark
- Denmark: Recipient of the 50th Birthday Medal of Queen Margrethe II
- Denmark: Recipient of the Silver Anniversary Medal of Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik
- Denmark: Recipient of the Silver Jubilee Medal of Queen Margrethe II
- Denmark: Recipient of the 100th Anniversary Medal of the Birth of King Frederik IX
- Denmark: Recipient of the Queen Ingrid Commemorative Medal
- Denmark: Recipient of the 75th Birthday Medal of Prince Henrik
- Denmark: Recipient of the 350th Anniversary Medal of the Royal Danish Life Guards
- Denmark: Recipient of the 70th Birthday Medal of Queen Margrethe II
- Denmark: Recipient of the Ruby Jubilee Medal of Queen Margrethe II
- Denmark: Recipient of the 400th Anniversary Medal of the Guard Hussar Regiment
- Denmark: Recipient of the 75th Birthday Medal of Queen Margrethe II
- Argentina: Grand Cross of Order of the Liberator General San Martín
- Belgium: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
- Finland: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose
- Germany: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1st Class
- Greek Royal Family: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Saints Olga and Sophia
- Iceland: Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon
- Iranian Imperial Family: Knight Grand Cordon of the Imperial Order of the Crown
- Italy: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
- Two Sicilian Royal Family: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I
- Luxembourg: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau
- Mexico: Grand Cross of the Order of the Aztec Eagle
- Monaco: Knight Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown
- Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
- Netherlands: Recipient of the Wedding Medal of Princess Beatrix, Princess of Orange and Claus Van Amsberg
- Norway: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Olav
- Spain: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
- Sweden: Member Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star
- Sweden: Recipient of the 50th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf
- Sweden: Recipient of the Ruby Jubilee Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf
- Sweden: Recipient of the 70th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf
- Tunisia: Grand Officer of the Order of the Republic
- Holy See: Knight of the Decoration of Honour
Awards and Patronages
- Denmark: Chairman of the Joint Committee of Girl Guides in Denmark
- Denmark: Protector of the Green Girl Guides
- Denmark: Protector of the The Danish Guide and Scout Association
- Denmark: Patron of the Danish World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
- Denmark: Patron of the Danish Dressage
- Denmark: Patron of the Danish International Federation for Equestrian Sports
- Denmark: Patron Award of the Danish Warmblood Society
- Denmark: Patron of the Alzheimer's Association
- Denmark: Honorary Member of the Guild of St George in Denmark
- South Korea: Honorary Doctorate of the Seoul Women's University
- United Kingdom: Patron of the Olave Baden-Powell Society
|Ancestors of Princess Benedikte of Denmark|