Denmark’s Prince Henrik, who wanted to be king, dead at 83

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Prince Henrik of Denmark, the husband of Queen Margrethe II and who publicly expressed his frustration at being denied the title of king, has died, the royal house said on Wednesday. He was 83 years old.

Henrik died peacefully in his sleep at 11:18 p.m. local time on Tuesday while surrounded by Queen Margrethe and their two sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim. It came just hours after he was released from hospital to spend his final moments at Fredensborg Palace.

Henrik, who suffered from dementia, was hospitalized in Copenhagen in late January after he fell ill during a private trip to Egypt. He was later found to have a tumor on his left lung, which turned out to be benign, but he was diagnosed with a pulmonary infection and his condition rapidly worsened.

Crown Prince Frederik, who was visiting the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), cut short his trip to be at his father’s side. On Tuesday, Prince Henrik was taken to Fredensborg Palace where he wished to spend his final moments.

Henrik, who was born in France in 1934, married then-Crown Princess Margrethe in 1967. He had long expressed frustration over what he regarded as unequal treatment of men who marry a queen: Women who marry a King become Queen Consort while men who marry a Queen become Prince Consort.

In a sign of protest, Henrik announced last year that he no longer wished to be buried alongside the queen.

“Through the years, Prince Henrik worked together with The Queen for Denmark and Danish interests and headed up more than 100 inbound and outward-bound state visits in Denmark and many parts of the world,” the royal palace said, adding that he also worked for the Danish Red Cross, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and Europa Nostra.

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