The princess rides!

Move over Zara, Nathalie’s the true queen of the equestrian scene

Britain isn’t the only nation competing in the Olympics with a royal in its team, and for that matter, Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Zara Phillips isn’t even a princess.

Step forward Princess Nathalie Xenia Margarete Benedikte of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, the daughter of Queen Magrethe II’s sister Benedikte. She won bronze in the team dressage in 2008, finished fourth on Tuesday in this year's team event, and is bidding for another gong in the individual event later today.

Her serene highness, 37, who competes under the name of Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, qualified in 13th place for the final last week with a score of 74.942, nearly seven whole points off the top three.

She sets off onboard Digby to win an unlikely medal this afternoon. Coverage starts at 13:30 and will continue until 17:00.  

Cheering her on, alongside a few patriotic Danish royalists, will be her husband Alexander Johannsmann, a German horse breeder, who she married in 2010 (it was a shotgun wedding – of the James Purdey & Sons variety).

Funnily enough, Princess Nathalie lost her right to one day become the queen of Denmark when her parents decided to live abroad – a condition of the Act of Succession introduced by King Frederik IX in 1953 stipulated that all claimants must have permanent residence in Denmark – and has more chance of becoming queen of England.   

Give or take a few unaccounted deaths and births, she is 227th in the line of succession to the British throne, 12 places below her aunt, and 213 places behind, damn her, Zara Phillips, who is 14th.





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