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Princess Benedikte of Denmark's husband Prince Richard dies unexpectedly at palace home

by Ainhoa Barcelona

Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg has died aged 82, the Danish royal palace has confirmed. A statement was released by Tommy M. Paulsen, Princess Benedikte of Denmark's private secretary, announcing that her husband has passed away. "It is with great sadness that I, on behalf of Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte, announce that His Royal Highness Prince Richard has passed away. His Royal Highness died suddenly at Berleburg palace on the night of Monday 13 March."

The statement went on to confirm that Princess Benedikte will be travelling from Denmark to the couple's home in Germany, Berleburg palace, on Tuesday morning following her husband's unexpected death. Benedikte is the younger sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. She married the German prince in February 1968. The couple went on to have three children together – Gustav Hereditary Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Princess Alexandra and Princess Nathalie. Richard had four grandchildren.

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Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg with his wife Princess Benedikte

The prince, who was a great fan of the outdoors, lived at Berleburg palace in Germany. He handed the ownership of the palace to his only son Gustav, along with 15,000 hectares of forest area. Richard was involved in several conservation programmes, including one to reintroduce European bison to Germany.

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In 2003, the late royal underwent surgery for treatment of prostate cancer. Richard had previously undergone treatment for skin cancer, and was again successfully treated.

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Prince Richard pictured at his home, Berleburg palace, in Germany

Richard, who was styled as the 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, was the head of the House of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. His father was a highly decorated German army officer, Gustav Albrecht, 5th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, while his mother was Margareta Fouché d'Otrante, a descendant of Napoleonic statesman Joseph Fouché. During the war, the family fled to Sweden where Richard was raised by his grandfather. He returned to Germany to attend university and lived in his home country, with Princess Benedikte, for the remainder of his life.