Denmark's prince, who wanted to be king, dies

| Updated: February 16, 2018 22:19:34

Denmark's prince, who wanted to be king, dies

Prince Henrik of Denmark, the husband of Queen Margrethe who was famous for his public unhappiness at never being named king, has died at the age of 83.

The controversial French-born prince had returned to Fredensborg Castle, north of Copenhagen, after being in hospital with a lung infection.

His flamboyant style was both loved and criticised by Danes.

Frustrated with his royal title, he announced in 2017 that he did not want to be buried next to his wife.

The queen, 77, is said to have accepted her husband's decision, which broke a 459-year-old tradition of burying royal spouses together.

She already has a specially-built sarcophagus in a cathedral west of Copenhagen where the remains of Danish royals are buried.

The prince, who was diagnosed with dementia last year, died "peacefully in his sleep" at the castle, the Royal House announced. Queen Margrethe and their two sons were at his side.

No plans for his funeral have been announced.

Prince Henrik was born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat in 1934, and married the then-crown princess Margrethe in 1967.

She became queen in 1972 and over the years Prince Henrik made no secret that he was unhappy at being denied the title of king.

Many Danes disliked him for that, seeing it as a sign of an arrogant man hungry for recognition. 

In Denmark, a princess traditionally becomes queen when her husband takes the throne, but a man does not become king if his wife becomes queen.

But in recent years, many youngsters thought his manner represented a break from the norms of cultural uniformity in Danish society.

In 2016, he retired from official duties, renouncing the title of Prince Consort. In the time since, he was often in France at his private vineyard.

He spoke with a thick French accent and was known for his love of food, wine and poetry.

Prince Henrik and Queen Margrethe have two sons - Crown Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim.

Crown Prince Frederick returned from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea last week to be with his ailing father, reports BBC.

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