Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark

Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark

Infobox Danish Royalty|prince|consort
name =Henrik de Laborde de Montpezat
full name = _da. Henrik Marie Hans Andreas
_fr. Henri Marie Jean André
_en. Henry Marie John Andrew
title =Prince Consort of Denmark

caption =
imgw =250
reign =14 January 1972 - present
spouse =Margrethe II
issue =Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
Prince Joachim
royal house =House of Laborde de Monpezat
titles ="HRH" The Prince Consort
"HRH" Prince Henrik of Denmark
Henri de Laborde de Monpezat
father =André de Laborde de Monpezat
mother =Renée Doursenot
date of birth =Birth date and age|1934|6|11|df=yes
place of birth = flagicon|France Talence, Gironde, France
date of death =
place of death =|

Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark (né Count Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat, born 11 June 1934), is the husband of the Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II.

Early life

Henrik was born in Talence, Gironde, France, the son of Count André de Laborde de Monpezat (1907-1998) and his wife, the former Renée Doursenot (1908- 2001). He spent his first five years in French Indo-China (now Vietnam) where his father was in charge of 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, in 1962 he joined the French Foreign Affairs ministry, working as a Secretary at the embassy in London from 1963 to 1967.

Prince Consort

On 10 June 1967 he married Princess Margrethe, the heiress presumptive to the Danish throne. At the time of the wedding his name was Danicised to Henrik. They have two children, Crown Prince Frederik (born 26 May 1968) and Prince Joachim (born 7 June 1969). Prince Henrik and his wife, Queen Margrethe II, also have three grandsons: Prince Christian, Prince Nikolai, and Prince Felix, and one granddaughter, Princess Isabella.

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

He received somewhat of a press-grilling for admitting that he is fond of the taste of dog [http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1827743.html?menu=news.quirkies] , this despite the fact that he is honorary president of the Danish Dachshund Club.

2002 "Flight" from Denmark

In 2002, Henrik left Denmark and went to stay at the couple's Château de Caïx in Cahors in southern France. The reason for Henrik's departure from Denmark was due to a New Year's Day reception in which his son, Crown Prince Frederik, was appointed host in the absence of Queen Margrethe. Henrik felt "pushed aside, degraded and humiliated" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1815900.stm BBC News | EUROPE | Runaway prince returns home ] ] at the fact that he was 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 with her husband. Henrik stressed that neither his wife or 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 Dutch Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1801763.stm BBC News | EUROPE | 'Degraded' Danish prince takes time out ] ] After three weeks, Henrik returned to Denmark and resumed his Royal duties.

On 30 April 2008, shortly before the wedding of his younger son, Prince Joachim, to a Frenchwoman, the title "Count of Monpezat" ("greve af Monpezat"), was conferred by the Queen on both of her sons, and made hereditary for their male-line descendants, both male and female.cite web| title = Monpezat til Frederik og Joachim| work = Berlingske Tidende| date = 30 April 2008| url = http://www.berlingske.dk/article/20080430/danmark/804300370/| accessdate = 2008-06-14] . Cabinet minister Henning Dode 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."

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 'Oldenbourg-Glücksbourg'". [Henrik prince de Danemark, "Destin Oblige", 1996, 102] While being interviewed by the French weekly "Point de Vue" in October 2005, Henrik raised the issue shortly after the birth of Crown Prince Frederick'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.'" [cite news|url=http://www.bt.dk/article/20051027/ROYALT/110270114/1349|title=Henrik fulgte Mary time for time|last=Levinsen|first=Niels|date=B.T.|language=Danish|accessdate=2008-06-17] Although no announcement was made at that time, Prince Christian does now include (part of) his French grandfather's surname among his hereditary titles. The grant does not extend this Danish comital title to Henrik himself.


* "Comte" Henri de Laborde de Monpezat (1934-1967)
* "His Royal Highness" Prince Henrik of Denmark (1967-2005)
* "His Royal Highness" The Prince Consort of Denmark (2005-present)

Count controversy

The Laborde de Monpezat family style themselves as counts, though their right to the use of that title is disputed: The "Encyclopedia of Fake and Seeming Nobility" states that Prince Henrik's ancestor, Jean de 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.Dioudonnat, Pierre-Marie, "Encyclopédie de la fausse noblesse et de la noblesse d'apparence", Paris, Sedopols, 1976-79 (2 vols), French, p.208] But this condition was never fulfilled, as the Estates refused Laborde's petitions in 1703 and again in 1707. The family's surname was Monpezat, 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". [Joseph Valynseele, "Les Laborde de Monpezat et leurs alliances", Paris, chez l'Auteur, 1975, French] 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. [cite web|url= http://www.heraldica.org/topics/france/noblesse.htm#untitled|accessdate= 2008-06-18|last= Velde|first= François|title= Nobility and Titles in France
work= Heraldica.org
] On the other hand, 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 later scrutinized by genealogists. Henrik's 1996 autobiography acknowledges the unsuccessful ennoblement.

Danish law never specified that royal spouses be of aristocratic origin. Nonetheless, no prince's marriage to a person who lacked male-line descent from royalty or nobility had been accepted as dynastic by the sovereign in the course of Denmark's history as a hereditary monarchy prior to Crown Princess Margrethe's marriage to Henrik in June 1967. [cite book |last= Huberty |first= Michel |coauthors= Alain Giraud, F. and B. Magdelaine |title= L'Allemagne Dynastique Tome VII Oldenbourg |year= 1994 |location= France |language= French |id= ISBN 2-901138-07-1 |pages= "passim"|quote = ] Six months later Margrethe's cousin Prince Ingof of Denmark wed 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. 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.Billed-Bladet, (Interview with Count Christian of Rosenborg), 1985, Danish]


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.


Notes and references

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