You are welcome, ladies.
This excerpt from the portrait book is a bit more dramatic!
Back in the 70's Rote Armee Fraktion was, as you may recall, very active, and Prince Richard, and as such also Princess Benedikte, belongs to one of the most prominent noble families in Germany.
There was for a period a genuine fear of being kidnapped.
Benedikte's children explains how they were driven to school in Berleburg (the school is pretty close to Schloss Berleburg) and always by different routes.
One day the police was called when it was noticed that a woman looked a little too long and too interested at Gustav at the school.
Gustav was told not to go out into the school yard anymore and he and his sisters were told not to speak to strangers. (The locals would of course know who they were and would I imagine often say hello or say a few friendly words to the children when meeting them.)
At some point Prince Richard insisted that Benedikte and the children moved to Denmark for a while, where they would be safer.
When they returned home, the precaution about different routes to school was implemented.
He also insisted that Benedikte never drove alone. There should always be a driver. Benedikte however is an excellent driver and she loves to drive, so a driver did accompany her - but with Benedikte behind the wheel.
As it is to this day, Benedikte only has a chauffeur when she's on the job.
- The summary of the BB interview will be posted in separate post, in order not to confuse it with the portrait book, which consists of people talking about Benedikte. While the BB interview is Benedikte talking about herself.
--------------------------- (Merged, despite request not to)
Summary of interview in Billed Bladet #17, 2019.
Interviewer: Henrik Salling.
BB has always covered Benedikte and her family faithfully and in a positive angle, so it's no wonder Benedikte repays the favor by giving an interview to the magazine. But while the Berleburgs in general are almost infamous for giving shockingly frank interviews, Benedikte is too well-schooled for that.
It's an open interview, but by no means controversial.
The interview took place in Benedikte's apartment at Amalienborg, which our reporter describes in an almost Hemmingway'sk way that I'm almost genuinely sorry to leave out.
Born in 1944 Benedikte grew up in a warm family (she can of course not remember the War) where she was used to having photographers around, as the then CP-family was very well-featured in the Danish press - also from "private" moments, like tea-time.
Living basically an upper middle-class life the sister's upbringing was as close to being normal as possible, explains Benedikte.
That included walking to and from school every day. Queen Ingrid was a firm believer in the benefits of walking and fresh air. Something Benedikte agrees with. - QMII as we now know, hated the daily walks.
Apart from that there was no need to waste petrol on driving the girls to school.
It was usually the nannies who took the girls to school and picked them up again, but sometimes mother Ingrid would do that.
Benedikte explains that it was important for their parents that no particular considerations should be made of their children, as such they were also taught to appreciate and be grateful for things and favors done for them. It's important to say thank you, even for small things.
Something today's young may not always do, is the opinion of Benedikte.
Their parents taught them to be considerate to other people and not having too high airs about themselves. - Something Benedikte would also like to see a little more off with certain people today...
While slowly being introduced into the official life of a royal Benedikte concludes that they had a more strict upbringing than average. No skipping home work, no taking the easy way out!
Benedikte has many lovely memories from her childhood, including her dad taking the girls on a drive through the streets of Copenhagen to have a look at the Christmas decorations at the various stores.
She has alsways had a good relationship to her sisters, albeit much closer to Anne-Marie than QMII, because there was only two years between the two youngest. And QMII did learn to ride, but otherwise showed no interest in horses. - Benedikte is very much into horses, as we all know!
However, today she and QMII have a little common project about the kitchen-garden at Gråsten Manor.
In 1966 all young royals in Europe decided to get married! - Okay, perhaps not all, but it was a year with quite a few weddings, and King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid couldn't attend them all, so they shipped Benedikte off to the wedding between Princess Beatrix and Claus von Amsberg in the Netherlands. And here she met Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. She already did know him through his Swedish family, but during the wedding party she really got to know him better. - And she fell for him!
After the wedding party the two of them exchanged letters. They didn't communicate on the phone, that would have revealed Benedikte, because there were no private phones in the rooms at Amalienborg back then.
She did however mention to her mother, more or less casually, that she had met the son of Margareta von Wittgenstein...
But in the summer of 1966 Queen Ingrid decided to throw a party for her daughters at Gråsten, where they could invite their friends. So having asked her mother whether she could invite Prince Richard, she decided to present him to her family. Being totally smitten by his charm and sense of humor she hoped they would too. - They did. Not least her father.
In Benedikte's eyes, Prince Richard was Swedish through and thorugh. (There was still a good deal of stigma to being German in 1966, not least within the DRF.) She married a Swede and that's how it felt for the first couple of years, not least because the two of them spoke together in Swedish. Later on he learned Danish and Benedikte became fluent in German. (I'll leave it to our resident Germans to judge how good her German is.)
However, moving to Berleburg did not mean that Benedikte should leave the Line of Succession. It was agreed with her father and older sister that she should maintain an active role within the DRF. Not least because QMII had not yet had children.
So Benedikte came to Denmark often and in many way represented the DRF or was Rigsforstander. And that has been a duty Benedikte has always been willing to undertake. To be able to do something for others is never a sour duty.
In 2017 she lost her husband. He came home from a drive through the forests around Berleburg, lay down on his bed, shared by his beloved dogs, fell asleep. And never woke up again.
Benedikte know she was the last one to talk to him. The two of them had been on the phone together, when Richard came home.
Benedikte is glad that "that the light was suddenly just turned off", rather than her husband lingering on in his sickbed for a period, which can be terribly hard for the relatives. (Benedikte is not good at dealing with sick people. She more or less escaped to DK when Prince Richard was seriously ill for the first time with cancer.)
But she does miss him. There are no longer a husband shouting: "Benediiiikte" anymore when he comes home...
But while missing him, the transition to being alone hasn't been so hard on her. After all they were often apart in their married life. Richard often being away on hunts and Benedikte often being in DK. And she reckons that's been pretty beneficial and healthy.
Today, Benedikte is an active mormor, as far as duties and time permits. As such she often picks up her youngest grandchildren, Konstantin and Louisa from school and kindergarten.
Her oldest daughter, Princess Alexandra, now live in Denmark. With her oldest granddaughter now attending Herlufsholm boarding school, where Nikolai also went.
She is asked how she coped with the divorce of Alexandra and Count Jefferson in 2017. And while giving a full and polite answer, Benedikte dodges the question by really not saying anything.
That doesn't mean she never see her oldest grandchildren. Prince Richard is very fond of Copenhagen and he and Comtessa Ingrid sometimes visit Benedikte in her Swiss chalet.
Benedikte is heavily and personally involved in her protections and well informed about news, like osteoporosis. Something her mother undoubtedly suffered from, even though she was never diagnosed.
And she has no plans about retirement, she's happy with doing her duties as they are, feeling that she makes a difference.
And you can find the scans to the interview here: https://app.box.com/s/akh712odqy7pv8muqc2f7mgiztdbq5jv