Prince Joachim's first love: She could never have been princess
She was fully accepted at Amalienborg Palace and the best bet on the next Danish princess in the early 90s. But it was 'not an option', that Prince Joachim's childhood sweetheart Iben Detlef, which on Monday lost her battle to cancer, could have been married to the prince, tells a royal family expert.
For five years, Iben Detlef was Prince Joachim's chosen one. She was the royal inner circle and the obvious guest of Queen Margrethe's 50th birthday in 1990, and the royal couple's silver wedding two years later.
Iben Detlef died Monday at the age of 48 years. She spent her last moments in Svanevig Hospice on Lolland. Her illness began when she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, which subsequently spread to the abdomen and back. Later metastases occurred in the lungs and one in the pelvis. Iben Detlef was operated on, but the disease could not be cured.
22 years ago rumors swirled that Iben Detlef from Jutland would be the next Danish princess. But she could have never been. Suddenly it was over between her and her prince, who in 1993 started a job in Hong Kong, where he worked for AP Moller - Maersk Group.
Two years after Denmark got a new princess, when Prince Joachim married Alexandra Manley - a career woman from the same remote region.
Exactly what was Prince Joachim to do it abruptly past with the then 27-year-old woman from the Jutland splitting, Voldby is uncertain. But according royal family expert and historian Lars Hovbakke it was not really an option that Iben Detlef could be married to Prince Joachim:
- "There is absolutely no doubt that the Queen's point of view has always been that the princes have had to marry a foreigner"
, says Lars Hovbakke who is a lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.
- "It is actually the Head of State (the Queen, ed.), who has to approve the princes future spouses. It is not formally forbidden for them to marry someone from Denmark, but in practice she must approve who the next generation marries"
On paper Iben Detlef fit perfectly for the role of a princess. She understood at the royal etiquette, never gossiped and never said anything wrong to the vigilant press.
- "She was at the family events in the royal family and more accepted than some of the crown prince's old girlfriends. It was not her person, that was the problem. There was just that she came into the royal family, would the stories begin to escape. People would begin to squeal"
, notes Lars Hovbakke.