Prince Henrik has a history of being outspoken when it comes to his title, and now he’s added yet another item to the list as he announced this week that he is refusing to be buried next to his wife, Queen Margrethe II, because he was never made King Consort.
On Thursday, the Danish royal family communications director, Lene Balleby, gave an interview to BT about Henrik’s burial plans. The couple had previously planned to be buried together at Roskilde Cathedral, as is tradition in Denmark, but plans have changed for Henrik because fragile ego is fragile. Balleby says:
“It is true that Prince Henrik has decided that he will not be buried in Roskilde Cathedral, as otherwise planned. It’s no secret that the prince for many years has been dissatisfied with his role and the title he has been awarded in the Danish monarchy. The dissatisfaction has grown more and more in recent years. For the prince, the decision not to be buried next to the queen is the natural consequence of not having been treated equally in relation to his spouse – by not getting the title and function he has wanted.”
A joint sarcophagus has already been created by sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard out of glass, silver, and stones, which Margrethe will now use solo. Balleby says:
“Bjørn Nørgaard has committed a piece of art that reflects the royal couple’s joint work for over 50 years – whether the prince is there or not. The queen will continue to be beneath the sarcophagus. Inseparable from here is also the marriage of the prince. And it is very important: The couple’s professional work and their marriage are two different things.”
Henrik will not be buried in his native France, however, opting to be buried in Denmark, just not with his wife. Balleby says:
“The Prince loves Denmark and has worked for Denmark for more than 50 years. The prince will therefore also be buried in Denmark, but the circumstances are not in place yet. Queen Margrethe has known for a long time about the Prince’s decision and agrees with it.”
When questioned about the Danish court not listening to Henrik’s complaints about his title, Balleby says:
“It has actually been listened, reacted and adapted along the way. For example, the prince has his own court, but in terms of the title issue, we have chosen in Denmark to follow the European tradition that has been in force in both England and the Netherlands.”
When Henrik married then-Crown Princess Margrethe in 1967, he was given the title Prince rather than the title of Crown Prince. And after Margrethe ascended the throne in 1972, he was still titled Prince rather than Prince Consort or King Consort. Henrik was also not given his own salary or staff.
Henrik has held a grudge about this for 50 years, and has complained publicly about it in the past. Around the time of his 50th birthday, which would have been in 1984, Henrik complained on TV about having to ask his wife for pocket money. He was eventually given his own salary and staff, and in 2005 he was given the title Prince Consort (which he gave up as part of his retirement in 2016), but not before he complained that he was lesser in status than his son, Crown Prince Frederik, Heir Apparent to the throne of Denmark.
“In 2002, when Margrethe was too ill to greet guests at a New Year’s event, the Royal House opted to have Crown Prince Frederik act as host. Henrik, upset about being upstaged by his own son, vocally complained that he wasn’t allowed to receive guests in ‘his own home’. In a follow-up interview with BT, he said he felt humiliated to be relegated to third-place status behind his wife and son.”
In February 2015, in an interview with Dutch TV, Henrik complained about not being king, and made clear that he does not understand history or how monarchies work, saying:
“I have always said that I should be a partner, but I am not considered as a partner because I’m not on the same level as my wife which is completely ununderstandable. All the queens in the history of the world have made their husbands king consort. Why should I be under my wife?”
Firstly, no, not all the queens in the history of the world have made their husbands King Consort, just look at Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Consort Philip. Secondly, the married-in spouse always plays second fiddle to the blood royal spouse; that’s how monarchies work.
But Henrik wasn’t done complaining about not being titled king, and in October 2015 he claimed he was being discriminated against by being refused the title. In an interview with a French newspaper, Henrik said:
“Why just be prince and His Highness but not His Majesty? I decided to call myself Prince Consort in order to find a place in Danish society and a purpose and position in my work as prince. It makes me angry that I am subjected to discrimination. Denmark, which is otherwise known as an avid defender of gender equality, is apparently willing to consider husbands as worth less than their wives.”
Henrik then retired beginning January 1, 2016.
It’s ironic that Henrik claims not having the title King Consort discriminates against men by saying they are unequal to their wives, yet has no problem with wives being unequal to their husbands by virtue of being a married-in instead of a blood royal because that’s how monarchy works.
I actually think the title King Consort should exist, but not for the same reason as Prince Henrik. Henrik wants the title King Consort for himself because of his fragile ego, but I think the title should exist because not having it makes Queens Regnant not equal to Kings Regnant.
Saying that the spouse of a Queen Regnant should be titled Prince Consort is essentially saying that the title King is automatically higher than Queen, even if the King is a King Consort. If we use the title Queen Consort, for the titles King Regnant and Queen Regnant to be considered 100% equal, we would have to accept and use the title of King Consort.
If Henrik were to position is argument in that way, then I would be on board with his request. But as it is now, Henrik is just butthurt that he is considered inferior to his wife – which the title King Consort won’t fix since a Consort is inherently inferior to a Regnant. If Henrik really wanted to be considered an equal partner to his wife in an official, public capacity, then he shouldn’t have married a royal because blood royals are always considered superior to married-in royals.