Denmark’s Prince Henrik has passed away at the age of 83

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark celebrates her 76th birthday

Last summer, the Danish royal family got some unwanted attention. I rarely cover the Denmark’s royal family, because I generally think they keep their noses clean and stay uncontroversial. But last August, Queen Margrethe II’s husband, Prince Henrik (the prince consort) announced that he did not want to be buried with his wife when his time came. His reasoning was super-petty: after fifty years of marriage, Prince Henrik was still carrying a grudge about never being named “king,” only “prince consort.” He said it was discrimination. He was really mad about it. A short time after that announcement, the palace quietly confirmed that Prince Henrik had been diagnosed with dementia, which was possibly an explanation for the recent pettiness. Well, sad news. Prince Henrik’s health deteriorated rapidly in the past six months, and he passed away on Tuesday.

Denmark’s Prince Henrik has died at the age of 83. A statement shared publicly by the Denmark Royal Family read, “His Royal Highness Prince Henrik died on Tuesday, February 13, at 23.18 quietly at Fredensborg Palace. The Prince was surrounded by Her Majesty the Queen and their two sons.”

Prince Henrik was hospitalized with pneumonia at the end of January while traveling in Egypt. Upon his return to Copenhagen, doctors discovered a benign tumor in his lung. Henrik later contracted an infection, and the palace announced last Friday that his condition had “greatly worsened.” That same day, his son Prince Frederik returned home from the Olympics to be with his family.

Last September, Prince Henrik was diagnosed with dementia. The royal is survived by Queen Margrethe II, who he wed in June 1967 in Copenhagen, and their two sons, Crown Prince Frederik, 49, and Prince Joachim, 48.

[From E! News]

I heard that Prince Frederik flew home from South Korea in a hurry, like he had to make a really quick turnaround. Which makes me think that while Prince Henrik was ailing and feeling unwell, he got a lot worse very quickly too, or else Frederik wouldn’t have even flown to South Korea. I feel sorry for the Queen and for the two princes, and I wonder if they’re going to “honor” Henrik’s wishes to NOT be buried in the same royal tomb as the Queen.

I also can’t help but think of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Not to be morbid, but I get the feeling that Philip isn’t going to hang on for much longer. And QEII might fall apart without him.

Danish royal family celebrates the 73rd birthday of Queen Margrethe

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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20 Responses to “Denmark’s Prince Henrik has passed away at the age of 83”

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  1. Maria says:

    I read that too. I think he wanted to be cremated and he has asked that his ashes be scattered here and there. Margarethe will probably honour that. There is also some talk that she might abdicate but I don’t there has ever been an abdication in the Danish royal family so that may not happen. This is less than a year after Prince Richard her brother-in-law died. I always found Henri to be a colourful character, not afraid to speak his mind. RIP Henri.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      There has never been a voluntary abdication in the history of the Dansih monarchy.

      Quite a few kings were murdered in the early Middle Ages (one in a church no less!) and in 1522, the Danish nobility rebelled against him, forcing him to flee Denmark. He was later captured by the new king and spent the remainder of his life in prison.

      • Maria says:

        Thanks for clearing that up. I didn’t know about the murders. In any case I feel that Margrethe is a strong woman and she will continue to reign. Still sad though. Wonder if she will still go to their place in France for the summer.

      • notasugarhere says:

        I think Margrethe will continue as Queen too. Sadly it may be easier for her to continue now with Henrik (finally) at peace. She’s already walked out briefly to see the flowers people are leaving, which I thought was very strong.

  2. Julie says:

    Hi, Dane here. Yes, they will honor his wish. As the first Danish royal ever he will be cremated and his ashes will be divided and scattered over the Danish sea and in the royal garden of Fredensborg Palace, respectively. Fredensborg Palace is also where he spent his last day.

    • Ankhel says:

      Well. That’s a bit awkward, seeing how a double sarcophagus made of crystal and gold has already been made. At the state’s (considerable) expense, I’m guessing.

      • Julie says:

        Yup. It was quite the outrage when he announced his refusal to be buried there. Granted, it happened before his dementia diagnosis was made public but even afterwards people were pretty worked up about it. It must be a tough call to make – to respect one of his final wishes and let him be buried (or, in his case, scattered) elsewhere, or dismiss his announcement as a result of his illness and just put him next to where she will be. And I guess they decided his wish was to be respected.

  3. Merritt says:

    I read elsewhere that Prince Henrik’s body will be cremated and the ashes divided.

  4. OriginalLala says:

    sad news. I’ve always like Queen Margarethe because she is my mother-in-law’s royal doppelganger, I hope she is doing ok considering the sad circumstances.

  5. katrine troelsen says:

    Julie, er det dig? Kragh? :D Eller er det Bendtsen? :)

  6. Em says:

    Henrik was funny, charming and, artistic. Most journalists here (in Denmark) had him as their favourite royal – always engaging, chatty and quite casual. He surely will be missed!

    • notasugarhere says:

      I think he had the most trouble adapting to being second to his born-royal wife (Prince Philip and Prince Claus being his cohorts). He and Margrethe have always interested me and seemed like a passionate love-and-intellect match. Margrethe likely found him easy to fall in love with, difficult to love at times. And my word he was a dish when younger.

      • Maria says:

        I agree. And he seems to have been talented too. Played the piano well and wrote poetry. It happened quickly.

  7. Lizounette says:

    RIP Henri! I think Queen Margrethe will be just fine. She’s so lively herself, not like QEII who seems frail in her old age.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Margrethe is 14 years younger than QEII though, and suffers from spinal arthritis/stenosis from her years of ballet. I tend to forget she became queen almost as young as QEII, Elizabeth at 25 and Margrethe at 31.

    • Merritt says:

      QEII looks quite good for being nearly 92. She walks unassisted and stays decently active for her age.

  8. Rachel says:

    I am in Denmark right now and by weird coincidence was visiting one of the palaces when the news was announced. So sad even at that age.