Griev­ing the loss of her beloved fa­ther-in­law, Princess Mary pro­vides a pil­lar of sup­port for the dev­as­tated Dan­ish roy­als

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Princess Mary and her fam­ily are this week in mourn­ing af­ter her fa­ther-in-law, Prince Henrik of Den­mark, 83, passed away af­ter a roller­coaster life serv­ing the Dan­ish peo­ple.

Wo­man’s Day un­der­stands Mary and her hus­band Prince Fred­erik took their four chil­dren, Prince Chris­tian, 12, Princess Is­abella, 10, and seven-year old twins Prince Vin­cent and Princess Josephine to bid an emo­tional good­bye to “Far­far” (Dan­ish for grand­fa­ther) be­fore he trag­i­cally suc­cumbed to a lung tu­mour on Fe­bru­ary 13. Henrik was hos­pi­talised with the con­di­tion in Jan­uary, and last year was di­ag­nosed with de­men­tia.

A palace spokesper­son later con­firmed Fred­erik, his brother Prince Joachim and mother Queen Mar­grethe were at Henrik’s bed­side in Fre­dens­borg Cas­tle, 40km from Copen­hagen, when he passed away in his sleep.

Fred­erik rushed back from the Win­ter Olympics in South Korea to be with his fam­ily. While he and Mar­grethe will be con­sumed by or­gan­is­ing Henrik’s fu­neral, Wo­man’s Day un­der­stands Mary has stepped for­ward to be the fam­ily’s emo­tional sup­port.

“Fred’s amazed at how well Mary is cop­ing through this – she’s be­ing so re­silient for their kids, who are a lit­tle con­fused and ter­ri­bly sad,” a Dan­ish royal source tells us. “She’s a tower of strength for Fred, who’s just lost his dad. Mary re­mem­bers how painful it was when her mother died, so she’s made it her mis­sion to be there to com­fort ev­ery­one.”

That sad­ness is be­ing echoed by the en­tire Dan­ish com­mu­nity, who are ral­ly­ing around to sup­port Queen Mar­grethe, Fred, Mary and the rest of the fam­ily.

“All over the coun­try the flags are at half-mast and peo­ple have laid flow­ers out­side Amalien­borg Palace in Copen­hagen,” an­other in­sider tells us. “Both adults and small chil­dren are send­ing let­ters to the palace. The queen will be very moved by this. It means so much to her and the princes.”

French-born Henri Marie Jean An­dre de Laborde de Mon­pezat mar­ried Mar­grethe in 1967. When she be­came queen in 1972 he was ti­tled Henrik, Prince Con­sort of Den­mark – the start of a long bat­tle to find his place in the palace. “He openly and con­stantly com­plained about the fact he was only prince con­sort and not king,” our source says.

As his de­men­tia wors­ened, Henrik sadly made head­lines last year for pub­licly declar­ing, “If she [the queen] wants to bury me with her, she must make me a king con­sort. Fin­ished. I do not care,” he told Dan­ish mag­a­zine Se og Hor. He added, “My wife has de­cided she would like to be queen, and I’m very pleased with that. But as a per­son, she must know that if a man and a wo­man are mar­ried, then they are equal. My wife hasn’t shown me the re­spect an or­di­nary wife would show her spouse.”

But for all his con­tro­ver­sial state­ments, Henrik won over younger Danes in re­cent years, thanks to his dap­per dress sense and call­ing it like it is. He even once vis­ited a hip­pie com­mune known for grow­ing cannabis.

And if one per­son adored Henrik, it was his Aussie-born daugh­ter-in-law Mary.

“She was drawn to him when she moved to Den­mark, be­cause no­body knew bet­ter than him what it was like to be thrust into a strange new en­vi­ron­ment from an­other coun­try,” says a source. “Mary loved that he spoke his mind, and had a wicked sense of hu­mour. Plus he ab­so­lutely doted on his grand­chil­dren. They were his big­gest source of hap­pi­ness.”

“I saw him around his grand­chil­dren many times and he was so funny and car­ing and play­ing with them all the time,” an­other royal watcher tells us. “Even when the press was there.”

Henrik’s fu­neral ser­vice will be held on Fe­bru­ary 20. The palace has re­vealed that Mar­grethe is re­spect­ing his wishes not to be buried in the tomb re­served for them both in Roskilde Cathe­dral.

His body will be cre­mated, with the ashes scat­tered off the coast of Den­mark and buried in the grounds of Fre­dens­borg, where he took his last breath last week.

‘She was drawn to him when she moved to Den­mark’

Henrik was by Mar­grethe’s side for 50 years.

A DOT­ING GRANDAD Henrik and Mar­grethe with Fred­erik, Mary and their four chil­dren. Henrik shares a ten­der mo­ment with his grand­son Prince Vin­cent.

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