His Highness Prince Richard died Monday, and the news was released yesterday morning in a press release by Princess Benedikte’s private secretary. Princess Benedikte is, naturally, in deep sorrow. The same can be said for all the members of the Danish Royal Family, and Queen Margrethe has ordered that the flag be at half-mast at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen.
Sadly, Princess Benedikte was at work in Denmark when her husband died. The Danish Royal Court chose not to publish the news of the Prince’s death before Princess Benedikte had travelled back to their home in Germany. Their oldest son, Prince Gustav Frederik, lives at the castle with his wife and was present when his father died. Prince Gustav has worked with his father for many years and is now the 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg; he is expected to take over all of the family’s businesses and assets.
Swedish magazine, Svensk Damtidning, interviewed Princess Benedikte in conjunction with her 70th birthday two years ago. Then, the Princess praised her husband’s struggle to overcome cancer. The two met during a trip to the Netherlands in 1966 and married two years later. Together they have three children.
Prince Richard has a history of illness. The Prince has, for many years, fought cancer, but it is likely not cancer that killed him. The fact that the Danish Royal Court wrote that he suddenly died and that Princess Benedikte was in Denmark suggests that the death came unexpectedly on the family.
The Prince rarely had engagements for the Danish Royal Family since he is the head of a noble German family. The Prince’s last appearance in Denmark was a little over a year ago in connection with the state visit of King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. At the time, he appeared very healthy. His Highness is still a well known personality in Europe’s royal families; he is, among other things, a good friend of the Norwegian royal couple and attended Norwegian Royal Family celebrations in the 1990s. He was also present at Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s wedding in 2001.