Prince Henrik of Denmark, the husband of Queen Margrethe famous in Europe for his ‘public unhappiness’ at never being named king, has died at the age of 83.
The controversial French-born prince had been diagnosed with dementia last year and was admitted to hospital in January with a lung infection, says BBC report.
The 77-year-old queen accepted her husband’s decision, the Royal House said at the time, breaking a 459-year-old tradition of burying royal spouses together.
She already has a specially-built sarcophagus in a cathedral west of Copenhagen where the remains of Danish royals are buried.
The prince died “peacefully in his sleep” at the Fredensborg Castle, north of Copenhagen, with Queen Margrethe and their two sons – Crown Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim – at his side.
In September last year, the Royal Danish Court announced that a panel of specialist doctors from Rigshospitalet concluded that Prince Henrik suffers from dementia.
By then, the prince was in the media spotlight for his controversial statements expressing dissatisfaction with his royal role and his announcement that on his death, he did not want to be buried in Roskilde Cathedral with Queen Margrethe.
The Prince dabbled in poetry and painting as well. Not everyone praised his efforts though.
“The diagnosis shows a weakening of the prince’s cognitive function level. The extent of this is, according to the specialists, greater than normal for a person of his age and could be accompanied by changes in personality, reaction patterns, judgement and emotional life and therefore also influence his interaction with the world around him.”
“As a consequence of this diagnosis, the prince’s activities will be further reduced, and his honorary positions and protectorships will also be examined,” the release has stated.
Accordingly, the Queen, on behalf of herself and other members of the Royal Family, expressed a wish that Prince Henrik be allowed to be left in peace in order to cope with the condition.
Born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat on 11 June 1934, Prince Henrik married the then-crown princess Margrethe in 1967.
When she became queen in 1972, he was named Prince Consort – in Denmark, a princess traditionally becomes queen when her husband takes the throne, but a man does not become king if his wife becomes queen.
Prince Henrik made no secret about his unhappiness at being denied the title of king. And many Danes disliked him for that, seeing it as a sign of an arrogant man hungry for recognition.
‘Degraded and humiliated’
Prince Henrik did not take it lightly when, in 2002, Crown Prince Frederik was chosen to represent Queen Margrethe at a New Year’s ceremony, instead of him.
Saying he had to “reflect on life”, he dramatically fled to his chateau in southern France, where he would stay for three weeks.
To a Danish tabloid, he said the royal staff had shunted him into “third place in the royal hierarchy”. He had felt “pushed aside, degraded and humiliated”, and his self-respect was being destroyed.
“For many years I have been Denmark’s number two,” he said then. “I’ve been satisfied with that role, but I don’t want to be relegated to number three.”