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Danish Press Secretary talks about Prince Henrik’s dementia diagnosis

Lene Balleby, the Head of Communications for the Royal House of Denmark, has given an interview to Dansk Markedsføring [Danish Marketing] magazine about the late Prince Henrik’s dementia diagnosis and how the palace dealt with it.

“A lot of diagnoses were made out there,” says Balleby. “Some – also journalists – sent me links to websites where I could read about the disease, and then some wondered why we had not just announced anything about the Prince’s disease before.

“There, I have to say, we went out within 48 hours after [Prince Henrik was] diagnosed. A myth arose that we could just say something, but there was nothing to say before we actually did it.”

Balleby also spoke about the controversial announcement in August 2017 that Prince Henrik did not wish to be buried next to his wife, Queen Margrethe, in Roskilde Cathedral when he passed away, saying that it was a situation that wasn’t easy to handle, as it came before his dementia diagnosis.

At the time, Balleby told BT that “it is no secret that for many years the Prince has been dissatisfied with his role and the title he has been awarded in the Danish monarchy…the decision not to be buried next to the Queen is the natural consequence of not being treated equally with his spouse…”

Prince Henrik was diagnosed with dementia in September 2017 and declined over the winter. The Royal House issued a statement, saying that “the diagnosis implies a decline in The Prince’s cognitive functional level. The extent of the cognitive failure is, according to Rigshospitalet, greater than expected considering the age of The Prince, and can be accompanied by changes in behaviour, reaction patterns, judgement and emotional life and may therefore also affect the interaction with the outside world.”

The Palace asked for privacy as Prince Henrik dealt with his dementia, but he sadly passed away at age 83 on 13 February 2018. He was cremated in accordance with his wishes, and his ashes spread in the ocean by Denmark and in the private gardens at Fredensborg Palace.

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