Princess Benedikte of Denmark is revealing many of her life stories and opinions in a new biography, Benedikte – A Royal Princess, and one of them is she thinks royal women spend too much on clothing.
The Princess, who is one of Queen Margrethe’s younger sisters, turned 75 on Monday. The book was released to commemorate the occasion and is written by journalist Anne Sofie Kragh. It includes candid interviews with Princess Benedikte as well as other members of the Danish Royal Family.
She discusses the idea of going on an engagement to support an organisation and promote a cause, “Therefore, we should not dress in a very expensive and extravagant outfit. I don’t think that’s a good thing.”
The Princess also shared in the book that her mother, Queen Ingrid, dressed beautifully but showed frugality in her wardrobe and repeated outfits often.
“You can go smartly dressed without having to be expensive. It’s the art,” Princess Benedikte said. “I had a bag the other day, it’s maybe 40-years-old. It’s a little worn, but you don’t see that when the music is playing.”
She added that she was “raised to buy quality so that both the fabric and the model can last for many years. I couldn’t dream of buying a skirt for a single season. You can easily use some clothes several times, so it’s not called: ‘Well, now she’s got a new dress again’. There might have been some who could learn a bit of it.”
Danish Royal House expert Søren Jakobsen told Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet he believes her words are aimed at Crown Princess Mary.
“The criticism can only be directed at the most prominent woman in the Royal Family, which is Crown Princess Mary. She is the most prominent, she has most duties, and she has the greatest opportunities to perform in the public. That’s what she’s hired for. She appears in full equipment in public, and she has a huge wardrobe available,” he said.
“She has a very large wardrobe with expensive stuff. A lot is changed and bought new. She wears expensive jewellery that is unique in design, and that is what Princess Benedikte is addressing. She does not think it should be a fashion show, and she argues that we need more recycling. It is the very opposite that happens. With Prince Henrik and with the Crown Prince, consumption has been increased.”
In the book, Princess Benedikte also stressed that royals “must not be part of the jet set and must never be,” adding that “I think there is a dull tendency for the press to present us as if we were film actors or part of the jet set. I don’t think we need to speak every single time. I might be a bit old-fashioned, but our role is not to act as film actors.”
Whether or not her remarks were aimed at anyone in her own family, or simply royal women in general, is unclear. But Jakobsen said in terms of family drama, “there is probably nothing going on because the Crown Prince Couple runs their own race.”
Although he thinks Princess Benedikte “has a point” the royal expert also said it was “very unusual for Princess Benedikte, who has always been very dutiful and reluctant, to make such a criticism.”