Denmark’s Prince Henrik, who wanted to be king, dies aged 83

Denmark’s Prince Henrik, the French-born husband of Queen Margrethe II, has died at the age 83, after a half-century struggle to win the hearts of Danes that only succeeded in his later years.

The prince passed away Tuesday night surrounded by his wife and their two sons, the palace said.

Henrik was hospitalised for a lung infection and a benign lung tumour in late January, and returned home to Fredensborg Castle on Tuesday “to spend his last days”, the palace said.

He was diagnosed with dementia in September 2017.

With a jovial face framed by understated glasses, the prince had a reputation as a bon vivant who enjoyed cooking, poetry and wine.

But his frequent outbursts of anger and flamboyant style, in a country that values humility and discretion, long irritated the Danish people.

Denmark’s Prince Henrik, right, waves as he drives a Tesla Roadster at the electric car maker’s headquarters in Palo Alto Credit: AP

The prince moved to Denmark in 1967 ahead of his June wedding to the then-crown princess, but he found it hard being relegated to a supporting role.

Disappointed that his royal title of prince was never changed to king when his wife became queen in 1972, Henrik spoke out often in the media about his frustration, which did little to endear him to his subjects.

Instead, Danes found him arrogant and hungry for recognition.

Shortly after retiring from public service in 2016, he announced he would no longer use the title “Prince Consort”, asking to be known as “Prince Henrik”.

In 2017, he revealed that he did not want to be buried next to his wife because he was never made her equal.

Though his decision broke with the tradition of burying royal spouses together in Roskilde Cathedral west of Copenhagen, the queen accepted it, the palace said.

Prince Charles is greeted by members of the Danish Royal Family, including Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik, and Prince Henrik  Credit: Reuters

Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat on June 11, 1934 in…

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