Denmark's Prince Henrik refuses to be buried next to his queen

2017-08-05 11:00

Denmark — The husband of Denmark's Queen Margrethe is causing a stir in one of the world's oldest monarchies.

Prince Henrik has announced he won't be buried next to Margrethe in the Roskilde cathedral where Danish royals have been buried since 1559. She has had a specially designed sarcophagus made for them there.

"Traditions are important to all monarchies so this is felt pretty violently," said Lars Hovbakke Soerensen, an expert in Danish history.

The royal house gave no reason for Henrik's decision, but the 83-year-old French-born prince has long complained that he didn't become monarch instead of his wife when she acceded to the throne in 1972.

"Any man who is not equal to his spouse is not worthy to be buried in the same grave," Henrik said Friday, according to the Ekstra Bladet tabloid.

'Grumbling in the past'

Hovbakke Soerensen said "this is the culmination of his grumbling in the past. It has become more and more pronounced in the past 10-15 years.

"This is a way to say to Danes and Denmark 'thanks but no thanks.'"

A change in the Constitution 19 years earlier had allowed female succession, paving the way for Margrethe to become the monarch. Even before that, Henrik wouldn't have become king.

The palace said Thursday that Margrethe, 77, has accepted Henrik's decision, adding it didn't change her burial plans.

Henrik, who retired from public life last year, said through the royal household that he wanted to be buried in Denmark but didn't say where.

Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat, he met Margrethe in London where he was a diplomat with the French Embassy. He changed his name to Henrik, converted to Denmark's state Lutheran Church and became prince consort. The couple has two sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.

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