It was announced by the Royal Danish House on Wednesday that His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark has died at the age of 83. He was the husband of Queen Margrethe and father to Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.
The Royal Danish House said in a statement, “His Royal Highness Prince Henrik died on Tuesday, February 13, at. 23.18 peacefully in his sleep at Fredensborg Palace.
“The Prince was surrounded by Her Majesty The Queen and their two sons.”
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Queen Margrethe; son and daughter-in-law, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary; son and daughter-in-law, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie; grandchildren, Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Henrik, Prince Vincent, Princess Josephine and Princess Athena, as well as several nieces and nephews.
The Prince has been in ill health for some time with several hospitalisations in recent years. On 6 September 2017, it was announced that he had been diagnosed with dementia after a series of examinations.
Just earlier this year, His Royal Highness was hospitalised in Egypt for a few days before returning to Denmark and being admitted to Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet for further tests. It was determined a few days later that the Prince had a benign tumour on his left lung. He was transferred to the infectious department from the lung surgery department at the hospital for treatment.
It was also announced upon his release from hospital he would take up residence at Fredensborg Palace; Queen Margrethe was to take up residence there, as well, to be near her ill husband.
On 9 February, the Royal House announced that His Royal Highness’s condition had worsened considerably; Crown Prince Frederik, who was in South Korea as part of his role as a member of the International Olympic Committee, was called home two weeks ahead of schedule.
Several members of the Danish Royal Family visited Henrik in hospital on the day of the announcement, as well.
Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat was born on 11 June 1934 in Talence, Gironde, France, to Count André de Laborde de Monpezat and Countess Renée de Monpezat, née Doursennot.
Henri, as he was then known, spent his first five years in Vietnam while his father was employed there. He was educated privately at home until 1947 before enrolling at the Jesuit boarding school in Bordeaux. Henri would attend upper secondary school in Cahors, France, and would later graduate from the French upper secondary school in Hanoi, Vietnam. For his university studies, he studied law and political science at the Sorbonne in Paris while also focusing on Chinese and Vietnamese at École Nationale des Langues Orientales.
He served in the French Army during the Algerian War and worked in the French Foreign Affairs ministry. A lover of poetry, the Prince has had several of his works published in French, Greenlandic and Danish as well as other memoirs and a recipe book.
The polyglot, who spoke his native French, Danish, English, Chinese and Vietnamese, married Princess Margrethe of Denmark (heir apparent to the Danish throne) on 10 June 1967. He converted from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism and changed his name to the Danish form “Henrik.” Upon his marriage, he became His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark.
Together, they had two sons: Crown Prince Frederik (b. 1968) and Prince Joachim (b. 1969). They also had eight grandchildren: Princes Christian and Vincent and Princesses Isabella and Josephine through Crown Prince Frederik’s marriage to Crown Princess Mary, Prince Nikolai and Felix from Prince Joachim’s first marriage to Alexandra Manley and Prince Henrik and Princess Athena from his second marriage to Princess Marie.
Margrethe came to the throne upon the death of her father in 1972. He was made Prince Consort in 2005, and in 2008, both of Margrethe and Henrik’s sons were conferred the title “Count of Monpezat.” It was also made hereditary for both male and females of their male-line descendants.
In her New Year’s address at the end of 2015, Queen Margrethe announced that Prince Henrik would begin to slim down his duties. Later that year, he gave up the title of Prince Consort. It was revealed in August 2017 that Henrik did not wish to be buried beside his wife in Roskilde Cathedral. A spokesperson stated that the Queen accepted his decision.