Denmark’s Prince Henrik, who has died at the age of 83, will be cremated after he refused to be buried in a tomb prepared for him and his wife Queen Margrethe, it has emerged.
The grieving royal family has declared a month of mourning after Henrik died ‘peacefully in his sleep’ at Fredensborg Castle, north of Copenhagen, last night.
The palace said it would respect his wish not to be buried in a sarcophagus prepared for him and Margrethe who he said had never acknowledged him as her equal. A private funeral will be held on February 20 with half of his ashes spread in Danish waters and half buried on the grounds of the castle.
Resenting never being named king, in 2016, he renounced the title of prince consort and spent much of his time at a chateau on a vineyard in southwestern France, although he remained married to the queen and officially still lived with her.
In August 2017, French-born Henrik announced he did not wish to be buried next to the queen, breaking a 459-year-old tradition. Shortly afterwards, the palace announced he had dementia – he was hospitalised late last month with a lung infection.
This morning, members of his family, including his son Frederik and daughter-in-law Mary, were seen arriving at the castle while flags have been lowered to half-mast nationwide.
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Prince Henrik, the French-born husband of Danish monarch Queen Margrethe, has died at the age of 83. The couple are pictured with their children Joachim and Frederik in 1970
Henrik had long vented his frustration at not being the social equal of his wife or their son in line to become Denmark’s king. He is pictured (left) at the New Year’s Diplomatic Reception, Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen in 2015 and (right) with Margrethe in 2012
Prince Frederik and Princess Mary (pictured together in 2013) will become King and Queen of Denmark at the time of Queen Margrethe’s abdication or death
Danish Queen Margrethe’s husband (pictured together) had been transferred from hospital to the family’s residence north of Copenhagen, ‘where he wished to spend his last moments’
Tributes: The flag was at half staff at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark today following Henrik’s death on Tuesday
Henrik died ‘peacefully in his sleep’ late on Tuesday at Fredensborg Palace. This morning people arrived to leave flowers outside
Danish Crown Prince Frederik (right), his wife Princess Mary (left) and children arrive by car at Fredensborg Palace, in Fredensborg this morning
Danish Prince Joachim (right), his wife Princess Marie (left) and children were also seen arriving at Fredensborg Palace today
Earlier on Tuesday, he was moved from a Copenhagen hospital to the family’s residence, ‘where he wishes to spend his last moments,’ the royal palace said. He died at 11.18pm in his sleep with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and their children, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, 49, and Prince Joachim of Denmark, 48 at his side.
Frederik had cut short his trip to the Winter Olympics and flown back from South Korea to be with his father after Prince Henrik’s condition had ‘seriously worsened’ in recent days.
Speculation has mounted since early last year that Queen Margrethe II will abdicate the throne. If this does happen, Frederik is next in line – which would leave his Australian wife Crown Princess Mary, 46, as queen consort.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the late prince had ‘represented Denmark magnificently.
‘His commitment was infectious, and his insight great.’
The royal families in neighbouring Sweden and Denmark sent condolences.
The Danish royal family has no political authority, but is one of the world’s oldest kingdoms and prides itself on stability.
Henrik, however, caused a scandal last August by announcing that when he died he didn’t want to be buried next to Margrethe in the cathedral where the remains of Danish royals have gone for centuries.
The queen already had a specially designed sarcophagus waiting for the couple.
Born on June 11, 1934, in southwestern France to parents with the noble titles of count and countess, Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat married Denmark’s future queen in 1967.
Henri became Henrik and converted to Denmark’s state Lutheran Church. However, he found it difficult to fit in with Denmark’s egalitarian lifestyle.
He was titled prince consort – the husband of a reigning queen but not a king – and he wasn’t in the line of succession – his oldest son Frederik being the heir.
A later statement said Henrik died at 11.18pm in his sleep and that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and their children, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, 49, and Prince Joachim of Denmark, 48 were at his side. Pictured: People leave flowers at Fredensborg Castle this morning
Crown Prince Frederik was pictured with his children Prince Isabella and Prince Vincent, visiting Prince Henrik at hospital in Copenhagen on February 10
The Royal Danish family led by Queen Margrethe were seen at the entrance to The Government Hospital where they visited the critically ill Prince Henrik on February 10
Prince Frederik and Princess Mary along with their children Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine are pictured outside a hospital in Copenhagen after visiting Henrik on Sunday
French-born Henrik, husband of Queen Margrethe (pictured together), was first admitted to hospital on January 28 with a lung infection – he was later diagnosed with a benign tumour
Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark are pictured with Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle in April 1974
Margrethe and Henrik are pictured with their two children Prince Frederik and Joachim in 1970
Queen Margrethe of Denmark is pictured, left, with Henrik at the Anglo-Danish Society’s Jubilee dinner and dance at the Royal Garden Hotel, London in 1974. Right: Henrik with son Frederik in 1968
Who was Prince Henrik?
* Prince Henrik was born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpeza on 11 June, 1934.
* Henrik was born in Talence, Gironde, France. He was the son of André de Laborde de Monpezat and his wife, Renée Doursenot.
* Before his marriage, Henrik served in the French Army in the Algerian War, and worked for the French Foreign Affairs ministry at the French Embassy in London.
* He later moved to Denmark in 1967 to marry the then-crown princess, Margrethe, and changed his name from Henri to Henrik.
* The Queen and Prince Henrik had two children, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, and eight grandchildren.
* Prince Henrik’s native language was French, and his second language was Danish. He also spoke fluent English, Chinese and Vietnamese.
* Prince Henrik had a great affinity for poetry, which he wrote in his native language, French.
Shortly after the royal marriage, media criticized Henrik because he had openly aired his views that spanking was good for children. In the mid-1980s, Henrik publicly said he wanted a paycheck instead of relying on the queen, who gets annual allowances.
The law was eventually changed to give him roughly 10 percent of the annual allocation Parliament makes to royals each year.
In a 2002 interview, Henrik again stunned Danes by saying he felt he had been pushed aside in his own home, not only by his wife but also by his son.
This followed the annual royal New Year’s reception for foreign diplomats, where Frederik had been host because his mother was unavailable due to a broken rib.
‘For many years I have been No. 2,’ Henrik told Danish tabloid B.T. ‘I have been satisfied with that role, but after so many years in Denmark I don’t suddenly want to become number three and become some kind of wearisome attachment.’
Teased for his French accent and unable to understand why protocol required him to remain in his wife’s shadow, Henrik never really found his place in Denmark.
‘A lot of people think I’m a loser until I prove them wrong,’ he once said.
Over recent days, Margrethe and members of the royal family including Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have together or individually visited the prince
The Royal couple attended the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik, their son, and Australian, Mary Donaldson, in 2004 (pictured)
Henrik (pictured with Princess Isabella of Denmark and Princess Josephine) passed away at Fredensborg Palace – in an ‘environment that matters to him’, according to Danish media
It wasn’t until 1997 that he stood in for his wife at a public engagement for the first time.
‘People are just used to considering Prince Henrik as … a little dog that follows behind and gets a sugar cube once in a while,’ he said.
In 2002, he made headlines when he fled to his chateau in southern France to ‘reflect on life’, complaining he didn’t receive enough respect in Denmark after his son, Crown Prince Frederik, was chosen to represent the queen at a New Year’s ceremony instead of him.
He said he felt ‘pushed aside, degraded and humiliated.
‘My self-respect is destroyed’.
Some politicians dubbed Henrik’s behaviour ‘tiresome’, while media had a field day, one television show conferring on him the title of ‘Whiner of the Year’.
But it also marked a turning point, as Danes saw a more vulnerable side of Henrik and slowly started to warm to him.
Over time, his contrarian streak and flamboyance helped earn him cult status among young people.
In 2013, he collaborated with Danish pop group Michael Learns To Rock, playing the piano on a track recorded for the king of Thailand.
Henrik (pictured with his family on Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary’s wedding day) lived part of the year with the queen at Fredensborg Palace
The prince first moved to Denmark from France in 1967 ahead of his June wedding to the then-crown princess (pictured with Queen Margrethe, Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik in 2014)
Last year, Prince Henrik of Denmark (pictured in 2015), accused his wife Queen Margrethe of not showing him the respect ‘a normal wife must give her spouse’ – because he was never made king
The Royal couple (pictured in 2014) have hosted countless royal wedding parties, banquets and state dinners
Months later he was photographed strolling with friends in the self-governed Copenhagen hippie community of Christiania, known for its cannabis trade, and in June 2014 he dressed up in a panda costume at a charity event.
In April 2015 he controversially cancelled his appearance at Margrethe’s 75th birthday celebrations for ill health, only to resurface in a tourist-packed square in Venice less than two days later.
The tabloids were outraged, but fans saw it as the kind of erratic behaviour they had come to love him for.
On Twitter, a popular radio show host wrote: ‘Words cannot describe how much I love Henrik!’
Prince Henrik was transferred from hospital to the family’s residence north of Copenhagen last week, ‘where he wished to spend his last moments’, the royal palace said.
He was first admitted to hospital on January 28 while he was travelling in Egypt, when he was diagnosed with a lung infection.
He was quickly transported back to Copenhagen, where tests revealed a benign tumour in his left lung.
Prince Henrik had also been diagnosed with dementia in September last year.
A previous statement from the palace reported: ‘Following a longer course of investigation, and most recently, a series of examinations conducted during late summer, a team of specialists at Rigshospitalet has now concluded that His Royal Highness Prince Henrik suffers from dementia.’
Prince Henrik (pictured together with Queen Margrethe at their 60th birthday celebrations in Denmark) changed his name from the French, Henri, when he arrived in Denmark
Prince Henrik (pictured with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip and Queen Margrethe) had an affinity for writing poetry, which he wrote in his native language, French
Prince Henrik is a prince consort, not a king, as is traditional for men married to female monarchs (pictured with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and Queen Margrethe II)
He retired from public service in 2016 (pictured with Queen Margrethe of Denmark at a New Year’s banquet in 2015)
On Friday, the palace said Prince Henrik’s eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, an International Olympic Committee member, had left the Winter Games in Pyeongchang because his father’s condition had ‘seriously worsened’.
Over recent days, Margrethe and members of the royal family including Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have together or individually visited the prince at Copenhagen’s university hospital before he returned to Fredensborg Palace.
Henrik lived part of the year with the queen at the palace.
‘Here the prince can be surrounded by the family and stay in an environment that matters to him,’ Lene Balleby, Head of Communication, told Danish media.
The palace, 20 miles north of Copenhagen, was used by Margrethe and Henrik as one of their residences.
Henrik walked his dogs in the adjacent public park and the castle has seen scores of royal wedding parties, banquets and state dinners.
The complex of 28 buildings and annexes was inaugurated in 1722 by King Frederik IV and additional construction was made under the three following monarchs.
The prince first moved to Denmark from France in 1967 ahead of his June wedding to the then-crown princess, changing his French name, Henri, to Henrik.
Before his marriage, he served in the French Army in the Algerian War, and worked for the French Foreign Affairs ministry at the French Embassy in London.
Among his interests, Henrik had an affinity for poetry, which he wrote in French. Several of his poems have been published in poetry collections.
Prince Henrik is a prince consort, not a king, as is traditional for men married to female monarchs. He retired from public service in 2016.
A new press release issued from the palace on Wednesday confirmed that there will be a ‘presentation’ on Tuesday 20 February in Copenhagen to celebrate Prince Henrik’s life.
The palace also said that there will be a period of mourning until Wednesday 14 March, with the Royal family not participating in any events or entertaining until at least that point.
When will Princess Mary become queen? Speculation mounts that Margrethe will abdicate due to Prince Henrik’s death – leaving the Tasmanian to ascend to the throne with husband Frederik
Speculation has mounted since early last year that Prince Frederik’s mother, Queen Margrethe II, will abdicate the throne.
If she were to, Crown Prince Frederik, 49, is next in line – which would leave Crown Princess Mary, 46, as queen consort.
However, the editor of the The Australian Women’s Weekly and author of The Royals In Australia, Juliet Rieden said an abdication by Queen Margrethe would be very unlikely.
Speculation has mounted since early last year that Queen Margrethe II, would abdicate – which would mean Crown Princess Mary and Prince Frederik would be Queen and King (picutred)
‘I talked to a lot of people in Denmark about this and the consensus is that Queen Margrethe is very unlikely to abdicate,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘The only reason that she would abdicate is if she became infirm and incapable of being a queen.
‘Prince Henrik hasn’t been by her side for a little bit so she is already used to taking the reigns on her own and done so very easily and with a lot of confidence so I don’t imagine she will step aside now.’
She added: ‘Obviously Princess Mary will become Queen consort one day next to Prince Frederik who will be King but I don’t think it will be in the next 12 months.
Speculation about Queen Margrethe (pictured with Princess Mary) intensified in September, when it was revealed Prince Henrik was suffering with dementia
‘I talked to a lot of people in Denmark about this and the consensus is that Queen Margrethe is very unlikely to abdicate,’ she told FEMAIL (Princess Mary pictured in 2017)
‘You can never tell and other European monarchs have stepped aside for younger heirs but Queen Margrethe has always been very devoted to the job and she is known for that.
‘There is a long tradition in Denmark for the head of state to stay in office for as long as he or she lives. In fact, the last time a Danish King resigned before he died was in 1523 so I think for Queen Margrethe to break with that historic tradition would be a big deal for Denmark.’
Queen Margrethe II is the ruling monarch of Denmark, and she has had the throne since 1972 following the death of her father, King Frederick IX.
Prince Frederik and Princess Mary will become King and Queen of Denmark at the time of Queen Margrethe’s abdication or death.