A Queen Loses Her Prince: Prince Henrik of Denmark Dies at Fredensborg Palace

Prince Henrik of Denmark husband of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has died at Fredensborg Palace. Prince Henrik requested to move from hospital on Tuesday to spend his final days at the Palace where he and The Queen stay for three months in the spring and three in the autumn.

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He recently was hospitalised following a visit to Egypt when it was reported he had a benign tumour in his left lung. Henrik was also diagnosed with dementia in September 2017.

Crown Prince Frederik, an IOC member who was at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, rushed home to be with his family on the day of the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Henrik’s family made daily visits to be with the ailing Royal before the decision was made to return to Fredensborg.

Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat was born on 11 June 1934 in Talence, France to Count André de Laborde de Monpezat and Renee Doursenot, were members of the French nobility.

Henri was privately educated until attending a Jesuit school in Bordeaux. As a child, his father ran a newspaper in Vietnam, and young Henri spent a few years there attending a French school in Hanoi. His love for Asia would see him further his education in Hong Kong and Saigon. He went to Paris University where he obtained a Masters Degree in French literature.

He would meet his future wife, then Princess Margrethe of Denmark while working in the French foreign services as the third secretary at the French Embassy in London in the Department of Oriental Affairs.

During his time working at the Embassy, Princess Margrethe attended a dinner at the French Embassy. There was not a connection at the time as Henri was uncertain about meeting and the young Frenchman did not take the Danish Royal and Margrethe.

It was not until they attended a wedding and met each other again that they would realise there was a spark between them. The Danish Princess and Henri began a romantic relationship which was kept a low profile due to the fact the Danish Princess was not splashed across magazine overs in the U.K., so she and Henri were able to have a relationship with visits and no one knowing who the couple were. In fact, when the engagement announcement was made, it was a bit of a surprise to those in Denmark.

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Princess Margrethe married Henri at the Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen, followed by a banquet at Fredensborg Palace on 10 June 1967.

Following the wedding, Henri became a Prince of Denmark and became known by Henrik, the Danish version of Henri.

The royal couples life would change dramatically when King Frederik IX died on 14 January 1972. Princess Margrethe then became Queen Margrethe II.

Controversy followed Henrik throughout the years. Recently in 2016, he renounced his title of Prince Consort which he received in 2005. He retired from public duties and chose to attend a limited amount of events.

In the past, the late Prince was vocal about his role as Prince Consort. Henrik told the French newspaper Le Figaro that he harbours a grudge about the title, believing he should have been King.

“It makes me angry that I am subjected to discrimination. Denmark, which is otherwise known as an avid defender of gender equality, is apparently willing to consider husbands as worth less than their wives,” Henrik commented.

Last year The Danish Royal House published a press release stated that Prince Henrik would not be buried with his wife the Queen at the traditional burial site of Danish Royals, Roskilde Cathedral.

“The Royal House has announced today that His Royal Highness Prince Henrik does not want to be buried in Roskilde Cathedral, as it had been planned. The Prince’s decision implies that he will not be buried next to Her Majesty The Queen in the sarcophagus that Professor and sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard has prepared. The Queen has been aware of the decision for some time and supports the decision. The Prince’s decision does not change the Queen’s funeral plans. It has been stated in the media that the Prince wants to be buried in France. This is not correct. The Prince still wishes to be buried in Denmark, but the arrangements are not yet in place.”

Henrik is survived by Queen Margrethe, his two sons Crown Prince Frederik (Crown Princess Mary) and Prince Joachim (Princess Marie) as well as eight grandchildren.

Photo Credits: Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa-3.0) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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