French-born hus­band of Dan­ish queen dies at 83

Hen­rik fa­mously pushed for more prom­i­nent ti­tle.

Dayton Daily News - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Len­nart Si­mon­s­son

Prince Hen­rik, STOCK­HOLM — the French-born hus­band of Queen Mar­grethe II, stood out from the Dan­ish royal fam­ily for not hid­ing his per­sonal views on mat­ters of the realm, in­clud­ing most fa­mously seek­ing a more prom­i­nent ti­tle.

Through­out his mar­riage to Mar­grethe, the prince con­sort bat­tled re­peat­edly with the lim­its of his role. This was de­fined by law as that of the queen’s hus­band — and not the role of a monarch in his own right.

Hen­rik died peace­fully in his sleep at the age of 83, the royal palace said in a state­ment is­sued early Wed­nes­day.

“His Royal High­ness Prince Hen­rik died peace­fully in his sleep Tues­day 13 Fe­bru­ary at 11:18 pm, at Fre­dens­borg Palace. Her Majesty the Queen and the two sons were at his side,” the state­ment read.

He was born Henri Marie Jean An­dre Count de Laborde de Mon­pezat in Ta­lence, south­west France.

He spent his early years in Viet­nam where his father, a count, looked af­ter the fam­ily busi­nesses. In 1939, the fam­ily re­turned to France and Hen­rik went to school at home un­til 1947 when he en­rolled at a board­ing school run by Je­suits in Bordeaux.

In 1950, he re­turned to Hanoi and grad­u­ated from the French up­per sec­ondary school there be­fore study­ing law and po­lit­i­cal science at the Sor­bonne in Paris. He also stud­ied Chi­nese and Viet­namese at the Ecole Na­tionale des Langues Ori­en­tales.

Dur­ing his mil­i­tary ser­vice, Hen­rik served in the in­fantry in Algeria be­tween 1959 and 1962 and then joined the French For­eign Min­istry with posts in the Asia depart­ment and the French em­bassy in Lon­don.

He met then Dan­ish Crown Princess Mar­grethe at a 1965 din­ner party in Lon­don, where she was study­ing. They met again the fol­low­ing year at a wed­ding in Scot­land and he later in­vited her to a pri­vate din­ner. The queen later said that she “then be­came aware how madly I loved him,” not­ing that she ap­pre­ci­ated his good looks and that he took her se­ri­ously.

On mar­ry­ing Mar­grethe in 1967, he con­verted to be­come a Lutheran and changed his name to the more Dan­ish Hen­rik. Mar­grethe be­came monarch in 1972. She and Hen­rik had two sons, Fred­erik, born in 1968, and Joachim, born in 1969.

Both the queen and Prince Hen­rik have said they would have wished for more time to­gether and with their sons be­fore hav­ing to take on the many of­fi­cial du­ties that en­sued when she be­came monarch.

Both Hen­rik and the queen shared an in­ter­est in the arts and cul­ture. He pub­lished sev­eral po­etry col­lec­tions, some il­lus­trated by the queen, as well as books on cook­ery and his mem­oirs.

Over the years, Prince Hen­rik made no se­cret that he de­sired a more prom­i­nent role and ti­tle although this was not pos­si­ble un­der the Dan­ish con­sti­tu­tion that clearly states that the queen is the monarch. In some in­ter­views he said he would have pre­ferred to be known as “king,” and made head­lines back in 2002 when he ap­peared un­happy to be ranked third be­hind his son, Crown Prince Fred­erik. As of 2005 he was ad­dressed as prince con­sort.

In Au­gust 2017, the prince raised eye­brows af­ter an­nounc­ing he would not be buried in Roskilde Cathe­dral next to the queen in a spe­cial sar­coph­a­gus, which was seen as a break with tra­di­tion. The queen said she would not change her fu­neral plans.

The palace did say how­ever that he wished to be buried in Den­mark.

The fol­low­ing month, the palace an­nounced that the prince was suf­fer­ing from de­men­tia and that the im­pact was as­sessed to be “greater than ex­pected” for his age.

He had al­ready in 2016 with­drawn from many of his of­fi­cial du­ties, and no longer had the ti­tle prince con­sort.

Hen­rik and the queen shared an in­ter­est in the arts and cul­ture.

MIKKEL BERG PED­ER­SEN / RITZAU 2017

Den­mark’s Queen Mar­grethe and Prince Hen­rik ar­rive aboard the royal yacht Dan­nebrog last June at the port of Aarhus in Den­mark. In some in­ter­views, the prince said that he would have pre­ferred to be known as “king.”

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