COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s Prince Henrik has died at 83, taking to the grave his resentment at playing second fiddle to his wife, Queen Margrethe.
The 83-year-old French-born prince died in his sleep late on Tuesday, the palace said, adding that it would respect his wish not to be buried in a tomb prepared for him and Margrethe who he said had never acknowledged him as her equal.
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, 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. [L8N1LN3PI]
As in most monarchies, a Danish princess becomes queen when her husband takes the throne, but a man does not become king through being married to a queen.
After a 2009 Danish referendum supported sexual equality in royal successions, Henrik said: “I hope that men will be as equal as girls,” spurring further debate and briefly finding support in parliament in favour of granting him the title of king, a movement that came to nothing.
In accordance with his wishes, rather than being buried at a sarcophagus prepared for him and his wife in Roskilde Cathedral, Henrik’s body will be cremated and half of the ashes scattered in Danish waters and half buried in the garden of Fredensborg Castle, north of Copenhagen, where he died.
Born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat in France in 1934, Henrik married Margrethe in 1967. They have two sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.
Both loved and criticized by the Danes for his aristocratic manner, exemplified by his colourful clothes and thick French accent, in recent years Henrik found support particularly amongst the Danish youth for breaking with Danish norms.
Known for his love of wine and food, the prince also wrote poetry, made sculptures and published cookery books.
He was diagnosed with a benign tumour two weeks ago and was later transferred from a Copenhagen hospital to Fredensborg Castle, where he had wanted to spend his last moments.
The funeral service will be a ceremony for his family at Christiansborg Slotskirke in Copenhagen on Feb. 20.
Writing by Teis Jensen; Editing by Robin Pomeroy