It was announced today that Countess Anne Dorte of Rosenborg, the widow of the former Prince Christian of Denmark, passed away last night at the age of 66. The Countess, who had been suffering from cancer for a long time, died at Gentofte Hospital outside Copenhagen at 8 p.m.
The daughter of Villy Maltoft-Nielsen and Bodil Jakobsen, Anne Dorte Maltoft-Nielsen was born in Copenhagen on 3 October 1947. On 27 February 1971 she married Prince Christian of Denmark, the second son of Hereditary Prince Knud (the younger brother of King Frederik IX), who had been heir presumptive to the Danish throne until a change to the Act of Succession in 1953 deprived him of that position and gave it to the current Queen Margrethe II, causing bad blood between the two family branches until the death of the Hereditary Prince in 1976.
As King Frederik IX did not give his consent to his nephew’s marriage to Anne Dorte Maltoft-Nielsen, Prince Christian forfeited his place in the order of succession and was stripped of his royal title. Instead, King Frederik created Christian and Anne Dorte Count and Countess of Rosenborg, a title which, since 1914, had traditionally been given to princes who lost their rights of succession through marriage.
In 1972 Count Christian and Countess Anne Dorte became the parents of twin daughters, Camilla and Josephine. A third daughter, Feodora, completed the family in 1975.
The family lived in ordinary houses in Frederikssund and Holte, but in later years the Count and Countess lived in a house adjacent to Sorgenfri Palace in Kongens Lyngby just outside Copenhagen, a palace which has been uninhabited since the death of Christian’s mother, Hereditary Princess Caroline-Mathilde, in 1995. By her own account the Countess enjoyed a happy marriage, and Count Christian would teasingly tell the press that he referred to his wife as “Stampemor” (roughly, “Stompie”) because of her habit of stomping her foot when she was angry with him.
Although they did not belong to the royal house, Count Christian and Countess Anne Dorte were usually on the guest list for all major Danish royal occasions. Their open and friendly attitude to the media also meant that they were well-known to the Danish public and generally well-liked by the press.
Some years ago, Count Christian and Countess Anne Dorte, both life-long smokers, were both diagnosed with cancer of the throat, but while the Count was believed to have recovered, other health issues added to the Countess’s plight. Last spring Countess Anne Dorte was expected to have only a short time left to live, but it came as a surprise to everyone when Count Christian, who had hidden the fact that his cancer had returned, passed away on 21 May.
Recently the Countess’s condition was said to have improved and she was able to celebrate Christmas with her family at Sorgenfri, but after Christmas her condition deteriorated and she was admitted to the nearby Gentofte Hospital. Yesterday the family, including her sister-in-law, Princess Elisabeth, was summoned to the hospital, where Countess Anne Dorte calmly bid them farewell and made the final arrangements for her funeral.
The funeral will take place in Lyngby Church in Kongens Lyngby on Thursday 9 January at 10.30 a.m. Following cremation, her ashes will be buried next to her husband in the cemetery adjacent to Lyngby Church.