International Royals

Princess Mary’s father-in-law Prince Henrik has died

Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark was 83.

By Bella Brennan

Prince Henrik of Denmark has sadly passed away at Fredensborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Prince Henrik was surrounded by senior members of the Danish Royals including wife Queen Margrethe and sons Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.

The palace confirmed his passing early Wednesday morning Danish time in a statement, which 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."

Look back at Prince Henrik's incredible life in pictures here...

Prince Henrik’s ailing health

Prince Henrik officially retired from his royal duties in January 2016 and has struggled with ill health ever since.

The 83-year-old's condition started deteriorating in September last year, when he was diagnosed with dementia following a slew of erratic behaviour and controversial comments made about The Queen.

"Following a longer course of investigation, and most recently, a series of examinations conducted during late summer, a team of specialists at Rigshospitalet has now concluded that His Royal Highness Prince Henrik suffers from dementia," the palace explained at the time.

"The diagnosis implies a weakening of the Prince's cognitive function level. The extent of the cognitive failure is, according to Rigshospitalet, greater than expected for the age of the Prince, and can be accompanied by changes in behaviour, reaction patterns, judgment and emotional life and thus also affect the interaction with the outside world."

"As a consequence of the diagnosis, the Prince will further downgrade his activities in the future."

Princess Mary, Prince Frederik and their four children have been keeping a bed-side vigil.
Princess Mary, Prince Frederik and their four children have been keeping a bed-side vigil.

He was last seen in public in August 2017 to help celebrate his grandson Prince Nikolai's 18th birthday.

At the start of this year, doctors found a benign tumour in the prince's lung and he was hospitalised with pneumonia.

He was moved from the lung surgery department to the infectious department for further treatment.

While his devoted family kept a bedside vigil, when his condition deteriorated to "serious" they ultimately decided to transfer the Prince home from Rigshospitalet hospital to Fredensborg Castle in Copenhagen so he could pass away peacefully at home.

Prince Henrik's last public appearance was for his grandson's 18th birthday.
Prince Henrik's last public appearance was for his grandson's 18th birthday.

Prince Henrik’s controversies

Last year, Henrik made headlines after announcing his decision not to be buried next to his wife, as planned in an already-designed sarcophagus at Denmark's Roskilde Cathedral.

The choice, he said, was due to the fact that he was never made King Consort.

"She's the one playing me for a fool," he said of his wife in an interview with Danish magazine Se og Hør.

"I didn't marry The Queen to get buried at Roskilde. It's my wife and not me that can do anything about this matter. If she wants me buried with her, she has to make me King Consort."

The prince has long-complained that he didn't become head of state when his wife acceded to the throne in 1972.

"It is no secret that the Prince for many years has been unhappy with his role and the title he has been awarded in the Danish monarchy. This discontent has grown more and more in recent years," the palace's communications chief, Lene Balleby, told tabloid BT.

"For the Prince, the decision not to buried beside the Queen is the natural consequence of not having been treated equally to his spouse - by not having the title and role he has desired," the spokesperson said.

The 83-year-old had been suffering from dementia.
The 83-year-old had been suffering from dementia.

In 2002, The Queen's husband raised eyebrows when he left Denmark for three weeks and took refuge to "reflect on life" at his Château de Caïx in the south of France following a run-in with his son Prince Frederik.

Henrik says he felt "pushed aside, degraded and humiliated" after Fred was picked over him by The Queen to host a New Year's Day reception.

"For many years I have been Denmark's number two. I've been satisfied with that role, but I don't want to be relegated to number three after so many years," he complained at the time.

Princess Mary and her father-in-law share a toast.
Princess Mary and her father-in-law share a toast.

Prince Henrik’s early years

Henrik was born in the Bordeaux wine region Talence, Gironde in France in 1934.

During the first five years of his life, he and his family lived in Hanoi, Vietnam for his father's work. In 1947, the family returned to Bordeaux.

Henrik graduated in 1952 and went on to study law and political science at the University of Paris.

A keen student, Henrik took Chinese and Vietnamese at the École Nationale des Langues Orientales. He served with the French military in Algeria from 1959 until 1962.

Years later, his upbringing would shape his love of a good drop and he made his own wine from his French vineyard. The royal was also an avid writer of poetry and released several of his works.

After meeting in London, the couple wed in 1967.
After meeting in London, the couple wed in 1967.

Prince Henrik’s marriage to Queen Margrethe

He met his future wife, Queen Margrethe, in London when he was working as a diplomat and she was the Crown Princess of Denmark.

After he converted from Catholicism to Lutheranism and he gave up his French citizenship, they married in 1967 in a lavish ceremony at the Naval Church of Copenhagen.

Following his wedding, Prince Henrik struggled to win over the Danish people.

He was cruelly mocked for his French accent and like Prince Philip, he struggled being his wife's second-in-charge.

His outspoken nature didn't sit well with the Danish people and he struggled to win them over.

"A lot of people think I'm a loser until I prove them wrong," he once remarked.

WATCH: Henrik and Margrethe on their wedding day. Post continues...

A young Prince Frederik with his father in 1972.
A young Prince Frederik with his father in 1972.

Will Prince Henrik’s death mean Prince Frederik and Princess Mary will take to the throne?

No, while it's morbid to think about, Prince Frederik won't come into the Danish throne until his mother Queen Margrethe, 77, passes away as she is the blood descent to the crown.

Henrik only became a royal through marriage, therefore Margrethe will continue to obtain her power.

Queen Margrethe will remain the ruler of the Danish throne.
Queen Margrethe will remain the ruler of the Danish throne.

Prince Henrik’s children and grandchildren

He is survived by his two sons Prince Frederik, 49, Prince Joachim, 48, and eight grandchildren.

Prince Henrik's grandchildren on Joachim's side are Prince Nikolai, 18, Prince Felix, 15, Prince Henrik Junior, eight, and Princess Athena, six.

While Fred and Mary have four children together, Prince Christian, 12, Princess Isabella, ten, and twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent, both seven.

Our thoughts are with Queen Margrethe, Prince Frederik, Prince Joachim and the entire Royal Family during this difficult time.

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