The fashion billionaire had four children with Anne Storm Pedersen: Agnes, Alma, Astrid and Alfred. Pedersen told The Times last year that she and her husband tried to be “humble and like everyone else”, despite their wealth.
“I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground,” she said. “Our children go to a normal public school. I am very keen on teaching them that it’s not about money, it’s about who you are.”
At the same time, there’s no doubt that the family enjoyed the privileges of wealth. They were friends with the Danish royal family. They were able to travel to some of the world’s most gorgeous destinations. Alma’s Instagram account shows photos of the Maldives, Florida and St Barts, all over the past few months.
“Caribbean you are too good!!!” she wrote in January.
It was while the family were holidaying in Sri Lanka that three of the children were killed in the horrific attacks on Easter Sunday.
Povlsen’s wealth comes from Bestseller, the fashion business his parents Troels and Merete started as one clothes shop in a small town in Denmark in 1975. He is now worth an estimated $US7.9 billion, and is the largest shareholder in online retailer ASOS.
But Povlsen kept a low profile, quite possibly because of the trauma of previous kidnap attempts. He rarely did interviews. His children were barely mentioned or shown in the media.
In 1998, around the time that Povlsen’s parents were handing control of Bestseller over to him, the family was terrorised by an extortionist called Kurt Hansen. Hansen sent the family a series of threatening letters, scratched his initials on their cars and even broke into their home, leaving a note just a few metres away from where they were sleeping. When he was arrested, he was carrying handcuffs and ankle cuffs. It was discovered that he had built a hidden room under the floorboards of his house.
In 2003, a family friend was kidnapped in India.
“The gang thought he was my son,” Povlsen’s father Troels said at the time. “There’s no doubt that was why they picked him up, to blackmail me and get money out of Bestseller.”
Povlsen met Pedersen when she was working in sales for Bestseller. Pedersen says she grew up in a “very ordinary” family, with a passion for fashion and badminton.
“I wasn’t born into wealth,” she told The Times. “Neither of us were.”
She describes her husband as having a “conservation vision”. In 2006, he bought a 42,000 acre estate in Scotland, and then, gradually, a further 10 estates, making him Scotland’s biggest landholder.
Pedersen reveals that one of her daughters was not impressed with the historic Killiehuntly farmhouse when they arrived there.
“Mummy, why are we in this horrible dark old house?” she remembers her saying.
While Pedersen has been working on renovating the interiors of their Scottish properties, Povlsen has been working on “rewilding” the land.