Princess Benedikte, biographies

Queen Ingrid once said that: “Benedikte is the most royal of my three daughters,” and Mette Bacher, the author of Benedikte: Prinsesse til Danmark, concurs in her foreword.

Ex-Queen Anne-Marie affirms the regal impression when she says in Prinsesse Benedikte – Prinsessen i midten that her sister “was – and is – more sophisticated [than Anne-Marie and Margrethe], and besides that, she’s a perfectionist. Many have thought that she was a snob, but she is a very private person, who can have sort of a shield between herself and the world.”

Benedikte herself acknowledges that if she was to have a royal motto, it would probably be “duty before everything,” the motto of her grandfather.

Where there have been countless biographies of her sister, the Danish Queen, there are fewer ones about Princess Benedikte. I’ve looked at two of them – Prinsesse Benedikte: prinsessen i midten (Princess Benedikte: the princess in the middle) by Randi Buchwaldt, and Benedikte: Prinsesse til Danmark (Benedikte: Princess to Denmark) by Mette Bacher.

And where the biographies about the Queen usually have a hefty size to them, as do the Sara Blædel biography on the youngest sister, the biographies on Princess Benedikte are leaflets in comparison. Perhaps, because, unlike her two sisters, the Princess have not a distinct role in being the one destined for the throne after the change in constitution, or being stuck in the middle of a coup in Greece.

Named Benedikte (“for it was a very Danish name, coupled with the fact that I was born during the war”) Astrid (“after Queen Astrid of Belgium, who was a very close friend of mother”) Ingeborg (“After my grandfather’s sister – a beloved aunt and friend of both Father and Mother, and Queen Astrid’s mother”) and Ingrid, after her mother as all the sisters were – Benedikte points out that she and her husband have continued this naming tradition with their own children.

Where the Bacher book goes the traditional role, and tells what is happening, the Buchwaldt book is a collection of Princess Benedikte’s recollections of her life. For that reason, the Buchwaldt book would be my preferred book if I were to read just one of them. After all, when someone who claims that they’ve been taught to weigh their words before speaking in public, does reveal something about the private life, it becomes much more interesting – because the details are all the more “rare” and not repeated ad nauseam.

Personal stories about her move to Germany, and the honeymoon (spending a night in Hawaii in a 4th class hotel, because they were traveling incognito, and someone had double-booked their original hotel room) mixes with the stories on her official involvement as a regent in Denmark when her sister cannot, and protectorates.

These are two very interesting biographies, about the second-to-last person in the Danish line of succession.

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