Prince Henrik of Denmark, the French-born husband of Queen Margrethe II, has sadly passed away. Prince Henrik was 83 at the time of his death.
Struggling To Fit In
Prince Henrik had struggled over the past 50-odd years to win the hearts of Danes who were turned off by his French heritage and seemingly outlandish behavior. He only managed to do so in his later years.
The palace confirmed Henrik had passed away Tuesday night, with his wife and two sons by his side. He was hospitalized for a lung infection and benign lung tumor late last month, before returning to Fredensbourg Castle Tuesday to spend his final days with family.
Prince Henrik had an eccentric personality, by Danish standards, which angered and confused the infamously low-key citizens. It was seen to be in stark contrast to the strictly-held royal traditions of the palace.
Henrik originally moved to Denmark in 1967, ahead of his June wedding to the then-crown princess. The Frenchman reportedly found it difficult to adjust to playing second fiddle to Margrethe and was frustrated to learn his title would remain as Prince, rather than being elevated to King.
Henrik often aired these grievances in the press, which contributed to his negative public image. Danes reportedly found him arrogant and hungry for unearned recognition as a result.
In 2016, Henrik retired from public service and renounced his title as the "Prince Consort." He requested to be known only as "Prince Henrik."
The following year, he announced he did not wish to be buried next to the Queen as he'd never been made her equal in life. This broke with tradition, but Margrethe had no issue with the request.
A Colorful Life
Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat, in Talence, near Bordeaux, Prince Henrik spent much of his childhood in Vietnam. He met Margrethe while stationed in London as a diplomat.
In order to marry her, he changed his name to Henrik, renounced his French citizenship to become Danish, and converted to Protestantism. The couple had two young children, both sons, by the time Margrethe ascended to the throne in 1972.
Henrik had considerable trouble fitting in with the Danes, expressing to the media that he was looking to prove himself to them.
"A lot of people think I'm a loser until I prove them wrong," he said.
The Prince's fortunes changed immensely following a public engagement, where he stood in for his wife for the first time.
However, after his son was subsequently chosen to represent the Queen instead of him, Henrik fled to his chateau in France. Although the media and many commentators made fun of him for this reaction, the Danish people warmed to the new, vulnerable side of their Prince.
He later became a hit with young people, after playing piano on a song with Danish pop group Michael Learns To Rock, appearing at a popular hippie commune, and wearing a panda costume to a public event.
"Words cannot describe how much I love Henrik!" wrote a popular radio show host on Twitter.
Danes flocked in droves to write warm messages of condolence on the royal household's Facebook page following news of the Prince's passing.