Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II has announced during her traditional New Year’s speech that her 81-year-old husband’ Prince Henrik’ is to retire from most official duties.
He will take part in the New Year’s reception on Friday but he will not be joining the royal family for other receptions held next week. In her new year message, The Queen thanked her husband for all his support, help and inspiration and says she understands and respects his decision.
The Court Marshall later explained which activities the Prince Consort would do and not do. He will partake in official functions ‘in his own house’, he will retain most of his patronages and he will be active in the areas of art and culture.
He is looking forward to spending more time on ‘art, literature and music’ in his free time, according to the Court Marshall. The Prince Consort’s duties will be taken over by Queen Margarethe herself and other members of the family.
Surprisingly the Court Marshall also said there is no reason to reduce the Prince Consort’s stipend now that he is retiring. Most of his stipend already goes to the maintenance of palaces and other set expenses.
Prince Henrik was born in France on 11 June 1934 as Henri de Laborde de Monpezat and he married then Princess Margrethe on 10 June 1967 at the Naval Church in Copenhagen. Princess Margrethe had become heiress presumptive in 1953 after a constitutional amendment, before that she had been ineligible to succeed.
She became Queen upon the death of her father on 24 January 1972. At the time of his wedding his name was Danicised to Henrik and he was created His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark. He and Margrethe have two children and eight grandchildren.
Prince Henrik has complained in the past about not being King of Denmark, but rather simply Prince Henrik. He was created ‘Prince Consort’ in 2005, though this did not stop him complaining, even during recorded interviews.
In 2008 Queen Margrethe conferred the title of ‘Count of Monpezat’ on both her sons, which was made hereditary for male-line descendants.