Here in Copenhagen, where I am spending a few days, the royal court earlier today announced the death of Count Christian of Rosenborg, by birth Prince of Denmark, a first cousin of Queen Margrethe II. The Count, who was 70 years old, died at Gentofte Hospital in Gentofte (just outside Copenhagen) at 11 p.m. last night. His wife, three daughters and sons-in-law were at his side.
The youngest of the three children of Hereditary Prince Knud and Hereditary Princess Caroline-Mathilde, His Highness Prince Christian Frederik Franz Knud Harald Carl Oluf Gustav Georg Erik of Denmark was born at Sorgenfri Palace in Kongens Lyngby on 22 October 1942. His father was the second and youngest son of King Christian X, while his mother was the daughter of Christian X's younger brother, Prince Harald.
As King Frederik IX had no sons and women were not entitled to succeed to the throne, Prince Knud became first in line to the throne when his elder brother succeeded to the throne in 1947. However, a plebiscite in 1953 introduced female succession, making Princess Margrethe heiress presumptive. The events of 1953 caused much bitterness to Prince Knud, who never again spoke to his elder brother except at official events, and the cousins were never particularly close.
Prince Christian did not receive the King's consent to his marriage in 1971 to the Danish commoner Anne Dorte Maltoft-Nielsen. Consequently he lost his position in the order of the succession, was stripped off his royal title and was, like other ex-princes before him, created Count of Rosenborg.
Count Christian and Countess Anne Dorte had three daughters - the twins Camilla and Josephine in 1972 and Feodora in 1975 - and eventually seven grandchildren. Since 1991 they lived in the Ladies' Pavilion at Sorgenfri. Count Christian pursued a career in the Navy, until he retired ten years ago with the rank (I believe) of Commander.
In 2009 Count Christian, who had been a heavy smoker since the age of eight, was diagnosed with throat cancer. He was declared cured after having undergone 33 rounds of chemotherapy, but lost his ability to speak above a whisper.
A few months ago his wife Anne Dorte was diagnosed with the same illness, while the Count's health again deteriorated. The last but one weekend they both missed the confirmation of their eldest grandchild, Anastasia, which was held at Sorgenfri. Their daughter Camilla subsequently told the magazine Se og Hør that things were going the wrong way with both her parents.
Today their daughter Josephine says to the online edition of the tabloid newspaper BT that she does not know what her father died from, but that it might have been the strain of his wife's illness. However, I understand that the Countess was expected to pass away before Count Christian.