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HH Princess Elisabeth of Denmark has died after a long illness surrounded by her family. She died at a rehabilitation center, Fortunen, at Lyngby. The Princess was 83 years old.
Elisabeth Caroline-Mathilde Alexandrine Helena Olga Thyra Feodora Estrid Margrethe Désirée of Denmark was born on May 8, 1935 at Sorgenfri Palace in Copenhagen. She was the eldest of three children of TRH Hereditary Prince Knud and Hereditary Princess Caroline-Mathilde. She was King Christian X's first grandchildren. Although at the time of the birth, she was not in line for the throne, her birth was "greeted with a cannon salute and the flying of flags."
Knud was the younger son of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine. In September 1933, he married his first cousin, Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark.
Elisabeth had two younger brothers, Prince Ingolf (1940) and Prince Christian (1942-2013.)
Prince Knud was the heir to his brother, Crown Prince Frederik, who succeeded as King Fredrerik IX in 1947. Frederik and his wife, Princess Ingrid, were the parents of three daughters, Margrethe (1940), Benedikte (1944) and Anne-Marie (1946). Denmark's succession law was Salic, meaning males only so it was largely assumed that Knud, who was the father of two sons, would succeed his brother.
Certainly to Knud's disappointment, the succession law was changed to male primogeniture, which would allow for female succession. The new law, which went into effect in 1953, was based on male primogeniture: sons before daughters, brothers before sisters. This meant that Frederik's three daughters moved into the line of succession after their father and before Uncle Knud. As the line of succession is limited to the descendants of Christian X, Elisabeth was 12th in line to the throne, the last eligible person.
Knud, who died of a heart attack in 1976, never "concealed his bitterness at the change that deprived him of a throne." There would be a great strain between Knud and his older brother and his family for some years. This was in spite of the fact that Knud continued to receive an allowance as the Hereditary Prince.
Princes Ingolf and Christian lost their titles and rights of succession when they married without official consent. Both were created Counts af Rosenborg.
Princess Elisabeth never married. She lived for many in Holte with Danish director and filmmaker Claus Hermansen, They never married. In an interview, the Princess once said that she had not wanted children. After Claus' death in 1997, the Princess returned to Sorgenfri, where she lived in an apartment in one wing of the palace.
The princess's niece, Countess Camilla af Rosenborg, was with her aunt when she died. She said her aunt died from old age. "She got weaker and weaker, and we've been there for her all the way, but unfortunately it was old age."
Elisabeth was "incredibly social," said Camilla. "She always had time for us. One of her favorite expressions was 'Let's go bananas!'"
As Elisabeth and Claus had decided they did not want children, the princess lavished love and attention on her three nieces, the twins, Countess Camilla, Countess Josephine and their younger sister, Countess Feodora, and their families.
"After the deaths of my children's' grandparents. Elisabeth became their grandmother. We are all very affected by her loss," said Camilla.Embed from Getty Images
Princess Elisabeth's funeral will take place at Lyngby Church on June 25. The church is the perfect place for the funeral as the princess had been baptized and confirmed there. She will be cremated and her remains will be buried next to Claus Hermansen, at the Sorgenfri cemetery.
Princess Elisabeth is survived by her youngest brother, Count Ingolf, her nieces, Camilla, Josephine and Feodora and their families.
For more information on Princess Elisabeth's life and career, please click the link.