Monday, 20 May 2013

At the road’s end: Dorrit Countess of Rosenborg (1926-2013)

Dorrit Countess of Rosenborg, the ex-wife of the former Prince Oluf of Denmark, died on Tuesday 14 May at the age of 86. Born Annie Helene Dorrit Puggaard-Müller in Copenhagen on 8 September 1926, she was the daughter of Gunnar Puggaard-Müller and Gerda Annie Nielsen. On 4 February 1948 she married Prince Oluf of Denmark, the youngest child of Prince Harald (the third son of King Frederik VIII) and Princess Helena.
Oluf was the first prince to marry a commoner in the reign of Frederik IX, who did not consent to the match and showed himself a tad stricter than Christian X, who had allowed princes who married commoners a lesser princely title to which the title Count of Rosenborg was added, by demoting the groom to Count Oluf of Rosenborg. Frederik IX would subsequently apply the same practice to the princes Flemming, Ingolf and Christian.
Count Oluf and Countess Dorrit had two children, Ulrik in 1950 and Charlotte in 1953. However, the Countess eventually embarked on a relationship with the policeman Bent Lund, who had been her daughter’s driving instructor, and the Count and Countess were divorced on 20 January 1977.
Dorrit married Bent Lund on 9 December 1978, but continued to use the title Countess of Rosenborg, a rather unusual practice which was, however, sanctioned by the royal court.
Bent Lund later served as Mayor of Slangerup, a small town north of Copenhagen, and the couple were present at certain royal events, such as the reburial of the Dowager Empress Marya Fyodorovna of Russia in 2006 and the 70th birthday of Queen Margrethe in 2010.
Dorrit Countess of Rosenborg is survived by her second husband, her two children and four grandchildren. Her funeral will take place in Slangerup Church at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.


  1. That is an interesting point regarding the different approaches of Christian X versus Frederik IX to unapproved marriages. (Some have speculated that the differing treatment came down to Prince Valdemar's sons being HRHs, but your explanation makes more sense.)

    Under typical circumstances, would a Danish noblewoman-by-marriage lose her title upon divorce or upon remarriage, and do you know whether this is regulated by law or merely by custom?

    1. That is the other possible explanation, that they were all brought down one notch (but the HRHs for Prince Valdemar's sons were of course granted them as an extraordinary favour), but personally I find that too formalistic.

      We do know that Queen Ingrid exerted great influence and was the actual head of the family, and that this influence extended to title matters (according to Prince Henrik it was she who decided on his title in 1967). My theory, and this is pure speculation, is that Queen Ingrid, who apparently approved whole-heartedly of how her father (officially her grandfather) treated her brothers and cousin when they married commoners in 1932, 1934 and 1946 (to the extent that she broke off contact with Sigvard when he took back his princely title in 1983), influenced her husband to adopt a stricter policy towards princes who married commoners.

      I do not believe there is a law regulating the loss of noble titles upon divorces, but I believe that the custom is that such titles acquired by marriage are not retained after remarriage. However, as the late Dorrit was referred to by the royal court as a Countess of Rosenborg it seems the court approved her continued use of that title.

    2. Thank you for the additional information, Trond. You always know such interesting stories.


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