Wednesday, June 20, 2018

HH Princess Elisabeth of Denmark (1935-2018)

all images  Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection

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.

Embed from Getty Images
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.

Embed from Getty Images
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.
Embed from Getty Images

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.


DreamHouse said...

I read a quote from Princess Elisabeth in which she said she didn't marry because she did not want to lose her position in line to the throne. This leads me to believe that her right was conditional upon remaining single. Is that correct?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Or marrying someone noble or royal ... but a Danish commoner meant loss of succession rights and title

Bill said...

She looked very much like her mother.

DreamHouse said...

Would that rule still apply? The Queen's sons both married commoners. How can the royal house justify the difference? And whose approval would she have had to seek, the Danish parliament, or Margarethe? I suspect it was all because of who Elisabeth's parents were. I always liked her, I hope she had a happy life and a peaceful death.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

I expect things will be different when Frederik's kids find their spouses

- said...

Princess Elisabeth sold her villa in 2014 and only then she moved to Sorgenfri, where she was given a sort of a grace and favour use by the Queen for life.
Actually, she lived in a detached classical wing of the palace, called the Ladies' Building, where the Hereditary Prince and Princess Knud's family home was. So, she came back to her childhood home at the end of her life...
It was before occupied by Count Christian of Rosenborg and his wife. When they died in 2013 and 2014, respectively, it was possible for the ageing and short of cash princess to move to the palace. There were some reports of the Rosenborgs' daughters emptying the apartment from her parents' belongings and how sad it was for them.

Princess Elisabeth was, in a sense, forced to sell her beloved villa, which was her home with Claus Hermansen for so many years, because of her loneliness there, in such a big house, and, what's more important, because of running out of money as a big and lavish villa needs cash to maintain and she received no public funds, just her retirenment. The death of her brother and sister-in law, I'm sure sadly but still, opened a possibility for a change of her living situation and moving to the vacated apartment at Sorgenfri.


Marlene Eilers Koenig said...