MARY’S SAD FAREWELL TO PRINCE HENRIK
Grieving the loss of her beloved father-inlaw, Princess Mary provides a pillar of support for the devastated Danish royals
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.