The Danish Royal Family undertakes preparations for kidnap attempts

The Danish Royal Family made thorough preparations for how they would handle the kidnapping of one of their members. The information has come to light in the latest biography of Queen Margrethe’s sister, Princess Benedikte. According to the new book, “Benedikte – A royal princess”, the fear was particularly pronounced in the mid-1970s. This story was first told by the Danish newspaper BT in April this year.

The alarm was raised within the royal household when the German police found the family listed as one of several high-ranking German and Danish families whose kidnapping would have the greatest impact. It is understood that the Rote Armee Fraktion was associated with the kidnapping threat.

Prince Richard or Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and his wife Princess Benedikte of Denmark. Photo: Holger Motzkau via Wikimedia Commons.

The Rote Armee Fraktion, also known as the Baader–Meinhof Group, was a West German far-left militant organisation founded in 1970. It engaged in a series of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, bank robberies and shoot-outs with police over the course of three decades and was held responsible for thirty-four deaths.

In the mid-1970s, when Rote Armee Fraction was extremely active, Princess Benedikte’s elder daughter, Alexandra, was five while her other little girl, Nathalie, was just born and her son Gustav was six and has just started school. “I remember suddenly not having to be in the schoolyard anymore, and my father said we should not talk to anyone we did not know,” says Princess Benedikte’s son, Prince Gustav, in the biography.

Princess Benedikte Photo: Mads Danquah (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr

Prince Gustav also tells a story he remembers well. Once the police were called because a foreign woman had looked a little too interested in his play in the schoolyard. He also tells in the biography how his father, the late Prince Richard, insisted that Princess Benedikte move to safety in Denmark with their children. “After a period we moved back home to Germany. From then on we were always driven to school and on different routes,” he says in the book.

Prince Richard took the safety of his family very seriously. He ordered his wife to never drive alone and always be together with someone else. This was something the Princess did not like, as she states in her biography that she insisted on driving herself. According to the book, Princess Benedikte is an excellent driver and loves to drive – except when she performs her official duties in Denmark, the driver must just sit in the passenger seat.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.