Prince Henrik of Denmark dies at the age of 83

Prince Henrik, the French-born husband of Danish regent Queen Margrethe (both pictured), died peacefully in his sleep in Copenhagen at the age of 83, the palace announced  on Wednesday.

Her Majesty the Queen and two sons Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim were at his side.

The death came hours after he was transferred from Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet to Fredensborg Palace on Tuesday to spend his “final days” with his family.

A statement issued by the royal palace on Wednesday morning did not say where the prince would be buried.

Henrik did not want to be buried next to his wife in Roskilde Cathedral, west of Copenhagen, because he was not made her equal in life. His royal title of prince was never changed to king after Margrethe became queen in 1972.  But this was not possible under the Danish constitution that clearly says the queen is the monarch.

Prince Henrik, who had been hospitalised since January for a lung infection, was discharged on Tuesday to spend “his last days” at home.  Crown Prince couple, Frederik and Mary, arrived at Fredensborg around 5 pm on Tuesday two hours after Prince Henrik was moved there.

The prince was admitted to Copenhagen’s Rigshospitalet on January 28 for a tumour in his left lung, which turned out to be benign, and a pulmonary infection.  In September 2017, he was diagnosed with dementia.

Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat on June 11, 1934 near Bordeaux, the  prince spent his childhood in Vietnam, then French Indochina, where his father André de Laborde de Monpezat, a count, ran businesses founded by his grandfather, Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, at the turn of the century.

Young Henri attended a French preparatory school in Hanoi. Later, he studied law and politics at Paris-Sorbonne University as well as at the French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations.

After serving the French Army in the Algerian War between 1959 and 1962, he joined the French Foreign Affairs ministry in 1962 and worked as a secretary at the embassy in London from 1963 to 1967.

in 1965, he met Margrethe, then Danish Crown Princess, at a dinner party in London where she was studying.

In his memoirs, he said he felt an attraction for the young woman. They met again the following year at a wedding in Scotland and he later invited her to a private dinner.

The queen later said she “then became aware how madly I loved him,” noting that she appreciated his good looks and that he took her seriously.

After marrying Margrethe in 1967, Henri converted to become a Lutheran and changed his name to the more Danish Henrik.

Both Henrik and the queen shared an interest in the arts and culture. He translated several works in literature from French to Danish and some of them carried illustrations by the queen.

— AFP and dpa contributed to this report