Prince Henrik is reported to have died peacefully at Fredensborg Castle, just north of the Danish capital of Copenhagen. His wife, Queen Margrethe, was at his side along with their two sons – Crown Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim. Frederick had been representing Denmark at the Olympics, and rushed home to be with his father as Henrik’s health failed.
The French-born Count Henri de Monpezat became the husband of Denmark’s future queen on June 10, 1967. It was a love match and his marriage to Margrethe appeared successful.
Margrethe became queen just a few years later on the 14th of January, 1972. King Frederick IX, Henrik’s father-in-law, died after an illness, and the new queen was proclaimed – but not a king.
This was a point of contention with Prince Henrik, who was angered that he was not given equal status to his wife. Like his British counterpart, the Duke of Edinburgh, the ascendancy of his wife to monarch status was difficult to deal with. It disrupted the family life – one person died, a beloved father – and the rest of the family had to shift into entirely new roles. Understandably, this is extremely difficult.
Whereas the Duke decided to take control of various royal residences and his children’s education to occupy himself (as well as various sports and travels), Denmark’s consort has made his unhappiness vocal over the course of his wife’s reign about being shut out of equal treatment. In his mind, Henrik should’ve been king.
So angry was Henrik that he made a public declaration last year that he would not be buried next to Queen Margrethe II in the event of his death, which, sadly, has come much sooner than expected.
As in the UK, a man marrying a monarch does not make him king. The status of king is higher than that of queen, and it would be inappropriate for a blood-princess – who is a direct heir – becoming a lower rank than her husband, no matter if he is a commoner or a prince. Thus, while women marrying a king makes them queen, the roles are still in their usual order.
No matter what Henrik felt about his status, his marriage seemed happy overall and I am sure Margrethe must be heartbroken, as is the rest of the family. Princess Marie, also a native of France, had a good relationship with her father-in-law, with whom she spoke French and shared their love of culture together. Marie and Joachim even named their eldest son Henrik in his honor.
I wish them peace and comfort in this very trying time. The one happiness that they have is that Henrik is now at peace, no longer suffering.
Prince Henrik did not want a state funeral and the ceremony will be small and private, according to the Royal court.
Henrik will then be cremated, with half his ashes spread over Danish waters and the other half buried in the royal private garden at the Fredensborg Castle.