Princess Benedikte of Denmark

Princess Benedikte
Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

The Princess at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden, 8 June 2013
Born (1944-04-29) 29 April 1944
Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Spouse Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (m. 1968)
Issue Gustav, Hereditary Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Princess Alexandra, Countess von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth
Princess Nathalie, Mrs Johannsmann
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; 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 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]

Birth and family

Princess Benedikte's birthplace: Frederick VIII's Palace at Amalienborg, photographed in 2006

Princess Benedikte was born on 29 April 1944 at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen as the second child of Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Ingrid of Denmark. Her father was the eldest son of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, and her mother was the only daughter of Crown Prince Gustav Adolf and Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden.

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 Church of Holmen in Copenhagen. Her godparents were the King and Queen of Denmark (her paternal grandparents), Prince Gustav of Denmark (paternal granduncle), the King of Sweden (maternal great-grandfather), Count Sigvard Bernadotte af Wisborg (maternal uncle), Princess Knud of Denmark (paternal aunt), the Duchess of Västergötland (paternal grandaunt), Princess Axel of Denmark (paternal first cousin, once removed), Sir Alexander Ramsay (maternal granduncle) and the Queen of the United Kingdom (maternal second cousin, once removed).[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.

Early life

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.


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 is 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]


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.[7]

She is also involved in equestrian sport, and has acted as an honorary patron of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses.[8] 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.[9]

Children and grandchildren

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

Benedikte's monogram

Benedikte enjoys the style of Royal Highness and has been Princess of Denmark since birth.[10] As the wife of the Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleberg, she is also entitled to the title of Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleberg.


See also: List of honours of the Danish Royal Family by country

National Honours

Foreign Honours

Awards and Patronages





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  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. 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.
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  9. "Haya of Jordan Elected FEI President". Phelps Sports. Phelps Sports. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
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  42. Benedikte wearing the Grand Officer bow on her left chest
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  48. Boletín Oficial del Estado. 24 April 1980.
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  55. "Princess Benedikte's 70th Birthday | Official Denmark 2014 Stamps and Stamp Issues at face value | WOPA Stamps". Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  56. "World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts - Our World: Denmark". Retrieved 15 September 2015.
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  61. 1 2 "Honorary Doctorate for Princess Benedikte | The Royal Forums". Retrieved 15 September 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Princess Benedikte of Denmark.
Princess Benedikte of Denmark
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 29 April 1944
Lines of succession
Preceded by
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Line of succession to the Danish throne
11th position
Succeeded by
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Line of succession to the British throne
descended from Arthur, son of Victoria
Succeeded by
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