Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark

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Henrik
Prince Consort of Denmark
Royal Wedding Stockholm 2010-Konserthuset-420.jpg
Consort of the Danish monarch
Tenure 14 January 1972 – present
Born (1934-06-11) 11 June 1934 (age 82)
Talence, Gironde, France
Spouse Margrethe II of Denmark (m. 1967)
Issue Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
Prince Joachim
Full name
Danish: Henrik
French: Henri Marie Jean André
House Monpezat
Father André de Laborde de Monpezat
Mother Renée Yvonne Doursenot
Religion Church of Denmark
prev. Roman Catholic
Prince Henrik of Denmark in Vágur, Faroe Islands

Prince Henrik of Denmark (Danish pronunciation: [ˈhɛnˀʁæɡ̊]; born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat 11 June 1934), is the husband of Queen Margrethe II.

Henrik married Margrethe at the Naval Church of Copenhagen on 10 June 1967 and became her consort when she succeeded her father, King Frederick IX, as monarch of Denmark on 14 January 1972. The couple have two sons, Crown Prince Frederik (born 1968) and Prince Joachim (born 1969).

In her New Year's speech to the Danish people on 31 December 2015 Queen Margrethe announced that Prince Henrik would 'wind down' and give up most of his official duties with immediate effect from 1 January 2016. On 14 April 2016 Prince Henrik renounced the title of Prince Consort, which he had been given in 2005.[1]

Early life[edit]

Henrik was born in Talence, Gironde, France. He is the son of André de Laborde de Monpezat (Mont-de-Marsan, 6 May 1907 – Le Cayrou, 23 February 1998) and his wife, Renée Doursenot (Périgueux, 26 October 1908 – Le Cayrou, 11 February 2001) (married religiously in Cahors, 6 January 1934[citation needed] and civilly in Cahors, 22 January 1948), who was previously married firstly civilly in Paris on 29 September 1928 and divorced at the Tribunal Civil Français de Saigon on 21 September 1940 Louis Leuret (Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, 18 March 1881 – Saigon, South Vietnam, 29 December 1962). He was raised Catholic.[2]

He spent his first five years in Hanoi (Vietnam), where his father looked after family business interests. He returned to Hanoi in 1950, graduating from the French secondary school there in 1952. Between 1952 and 1957 he simultaneously studied law and political science at the Sorbonne, Paris, and Chinese and Vietnamese at the École Nationale des Langues Orientales (now known as INALCO). He also studied in Hong Kong in 1957 and Saigon in 1958.

After military service with the French Army in the Algerian War between 1959 and 1962, he joined the French Foreign Affairs ministry in 1962, working as a Secretary at the embassy in London from 1963 to 1967.

Marriage[edit]

On 10 June 1967 he married Princess Margrethe, the heir presumptive to the Danish throne, at the Naval Church of Copenhagen. At the time of the wedding his name was Danicised to Henrik and he was created HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark. Before the wedding, the Prince converted to Lutheranism.[2]

The Queen and Prince Henrik have two children and eight grandchildren:

Prince Henrik's native language is French, and his second language is Danish. He also speaks fluent English, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Although he quickly learned Danish after marrying Margrethe, Danes still joke about his grasp of Danish and his thick French accent.

2002 "flight" from Denmark[edit]

Prince Henrik with his wife Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 2010.

In 2002, Henrik left Denmark and went to stay at the couple's Château de Caïx in Cahors in southern France. The cause of his departure from Denmark was a New Year's Day reception in which his son, Crown Prince Frederik, had been appointed as host in the absence of Queen Margrethe. Henrik felt "pushed aside, degraded and humiliated"[3] by being relegated to "third place in the royal hierarchy."

"For many years I have been Denmark's number two," he said. "I've been satisfied with that role, but I don't want to be relegated to number three after so many years." Henrik "fled" Denmark to reflect on his status in the Danish Royal Family. Queen Margrethe flew to France to meet her husband.[3] Henrik stressed that neither his wife nor son were to blame for the incident. The Prince Consort spent three weeks in Caix, and did not appear with his wife as expected at the wedding of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, and Máxima Zorreguieta.[4] After three weeks, Henrik returned to Denmark.

On 30 April 2008, shortly before the wedding of his younger son, Prince Joachim, to Marie Cavallier, the Queen conferred the new Danish title "Count of Monpezat" (Danish: Greve af Monpezat) on both of her sons and made it hereditary for their male-line descendants, both male and female.[5] The Queen's private secretary Henning Fode commented, "The Queen and the Prince Consort have considered this for quite some time, and it has led to the belief that it was the right thing to do."[5]

In fact, Henrik had mentioned this possibility as long ago as 1996, in his published memoir, "During our generation the future sovereign will perhaps receive approval to see 'Monpezat' added to the dynastic name of 'Oldenburg-Glücksburg'".[6] While being interviewed by the French weekly Point de Vue in October 2005, Henrik raised the issue shortly after the birth of Crown Prince Frederik's first son, Prince Christian, who is expected to inherit the Danish crown one day: "It also makes him very proud and happy that Monpezat will be added to this small grandson's future name as Prince of Denmark. 'It is a great joy for me that his French roots will also be remembered.'"[7] Although no announcement was made at that time, Prince Christian does now include this part of his French grandfather's surnames among his hereditary titles. The grant does not extend this Danish comital title to Henrik himself.

Poetry[edit]

Henrik has written many poems in his native language French, some of which have been published in the poetry collections; Chemin faisant (1982), Cantabile (2000), Les escargots de Marie Lanceline (2003), Murmures de vent (2005), Frihjul (Roue-Libre, 2010), Fabula (2011), La part des anges (2013), and Dans mes nuits sereines (2014). The symphonic suite Cantabile by Frederik Magle is based on Henrik's poetry collection Cantabile and was premiered by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra at two concerts celebrating Henrik's 70th and 75th birthdays in 2004 and 2009.

Henrik has said about writing poetry (translated from Danish): "I see poetry as an opportunity for immersion in a superficial time dominated by news and entertainment that makes us rootless and restless. Poetry takes us closer to the true nature of the world, in poetry we can approach the eternal questions such as love, loneliness and death."[8]

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
Prince Henrik of Denmark
Royal Monogram of Prince Henrik of Denmark.svg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir
  • 11 June 1934 – 10 June 1967: Count* Henri de Laborde de Monpezat
  • 10 June 1967 – 2005: His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark
  • 2005 – 14 April 2016: His Royal Highness The Prince Consort
  • 14 April 2016 – present: His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark

* Use is disputed, see section "French title controversy" below

French title controversy[edit]

Laborde de Monpezat family coat of arms

The Laborde de Monpezat family style themselves as counts, though their right to the use of that title is disputed: The Encyclopédie de la fausse noblesse et de la noblesse d'apparence (English: Encyclopedia of False and Seeming Nobility) states that Prince Henrik's ancestor, Jean Laborde, received royal letters patent of ennoblement in 1655, conditional on his reception as a noble in the Estates of the province of Béarn where his lands were located.[9] But this condition was never fulfilled, as the Estates refused Laborde's petitions in 1703 and again in 1707.[9] The family's surname was "Monpezat" by the time of the French Revolution, without title, until 14 July 1860, when it was changed by imperial decree to "de Laborde-Monpezat", and legally changed again on 19 May 1861 to "de Laborde de Monpezat".[10] Although the comital title has been used by the family as if it were a titre de courtoisie, traditionally the royal court and French society accepted such titles when used by genuinely noble families.[11] Since the title was assumed by Henrik's ancestor prior to the twentieth century, it is possible he was unaware of the misuse until his family's history was scrutinized by genealogists after his engagement. Henrik's 1996 autobiography acknowledges the unsuccessful ennoblement.

Royal spouses and titles[edit]

Henrik with Queen Margrethe, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush in 2005.

Danish law never required that royal spouses be of aristocratic origin. Nonetheless, no prince's marriage to a woman who lacked male-line descent from royalty or titled nobility had been accepted as dynastic by the sovereign in the course of Denmark's history as a hereditary monarchy, prior to the marriage of the heir to the throne, Princess Margrethe, in June 1967.[12][13] Moreover, six months later Margrethe's first cousin, Prince Ingolf of Denmark, married an untitled commoner and was demoted to a count, and another cousin, Prince Christian of Denmark, also wed a Dane, Anne Dorte Maltoft-Nielsen, in 1971, forfeiting his dynastic position. Christian later commented on the dynasty's marital rules in the Danish periodical, Billed-Bladet:

As protocol dictates, I had to ask my uncle, King Frederick IX, if he had any objections to my getting engaged ... I knew I would have to renounce my title of prince and my right of succession if I married her. I was number four in the line of succession after Princess Margrethe, Princess Benedikte, and my father. My brother, Ingolf, had two years previously lost his princely title and succession right when he married a commoner, Countess Inge. Now I was ready to follow him. To me, it didn't matter if I were in line for the throne or not... My uncle, of course, had nothing against a union between Anne Dorte and me.[14]

Decades later, Henrik's sons Frederik and Joachim both married foreign commoners without any serious doubt being raised about their continued eligibility for the throne.

Honours[edit]

Coat of arms of Prince Henrik, depicting the collars of the Danish royal orders of the Elephant and the Dannebrog.

National honours and awards[edit]

Foreign honours and awards[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

Publications[edit]

Prince Henrik has translated several books into Danish, as well as publishing several other books.

  • In 1981, under the pseudonym H.M. Vejerbjerg he and the Queen translated Simone de Beauvoir's Tous les hommes sont mortels.
  • Chemin faisant, 1982, a volume of French poems.
  • Destin oblige, 1996, his memoirs as Prince Consort.
  • Ikke Altid Gåselever (not always foie gras), 1999, a selection of favourite recipes.
  • Cantabile, 2000, poems.
  • Les escargots de Marie Lanceline, 2003.
  • Murmures de vent, 2005, poems.
  • Frihjul, 2010, poems.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dronningen i sin nytårstale: Prins Henrik går på pension". Politiken.dk. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  2. ^ a b Barbara, Augustin (1989). Marriage across frontiers. Multilingual Matters. ISBN 1-85359-041-X. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  3. ^ a b "Runaway prince returns home". BBC News. 13 February 2002. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "'Degraded' Danish prince takes time out". BBC News. 5 February 2002. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Monpezat til Frederik og Joachim". Berlingske Tidende. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-14. 
  6. ^ Henrik prince de Danemark, Destin Oblige, 1996, 102
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  11. ^ Velde, François. "Nobility and Titles in France". Heraldica.org. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  12. ^ Huberty, Michel; Alain Giraud; F. and B. Magdelaine (1994). L'Allemagne Dynastique Tome VII Oldenbourg (in French). France. pp. passim. ISBN 2-901138-07-1. 
  13. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser Band VIII. "Dänemark". C.A. Starke Verlag, 1968, p. 49.
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External links[edit]

Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark
Born: 11 June 1934
Danish royalty
Preceded by
Ingrid of Sweden
as Queen consort
Prince Consort of Denmark
(official Prince Consort from 2005)

14 January 1972 – present
Incumbent
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Germany Angela Merkel
European of the Year
(by the Danish European Movement)

2011
Succeeded by
Germany Günter Grass