Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prince Consort of Denmark
Tenure 14 January 1972 – present
Spouse Margrethe II
Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
Prince Joachim
Full name
Danish: Henrik Marie Hans Andreas
French: Henri Marie Jean André
House House of Laborde de Monpezat
Father André de Laborde de Monpezat
Mother Renée Doursenot
Born 11 June 1934 (1934-06-11) (age 75)
France Talence, Gironde, France

Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark ( 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. He was the son of Count 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 Cahors, 6 January 1934 and civilly Cahors 22 January 1948), the former Renée Doursenot (Périgueux, 26 October 1908 – Le Cayrou, 11 February 2001), 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 as Catholic.[1]

He spent his first five years in French Indochina (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.


On 10 June 1967 he married Princess Margrethe, the heiress 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 Protestantism with the Vatican's consent.[1]

The Queen and The Prince Consort have two children and five grandchildren:

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.

In 2006 the Danish railway magazine Ud&Se brought an interview with Prince Henrik, in which he talked about his dogs, food and his childhood in Vietnam, among other things. The prince mentioned having eaten dog meat once, on an occasion where it was served for him.[2] A month later a Danish tabloid used part of this interview in a critical article with the front-page headline 'Prince Henrik eats dog'. Other tabloids and newspapers picked up on this and Prince Henrik was subject to somewhat of a press-grilling for "eating dog meat" despite being honorary president of the Danish Dachshund Club.[3]


2002 "Flight" from Denmark

Coat of arms of Prince Henrik as consort.
Standard of Prince Henrik.

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"[4] 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.[4] 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 Dutch wedding of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta[5] 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 Miss Marie Cavallier, the title "Count of Monpezat" (Danish: 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.[6]. 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."[6]

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'".[7] 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.'"[8] 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.



Titles and styles

Styles of
The Prince Consort of Denmark
Coat of Arms of Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark.svg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir
  • Comte* Henri de Laborde de Monpezat (1934–1967)
  • His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark (1967–1972)
  • His Royal Highness The Prince Consort of Denmark (1972–present)

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

French title controversy

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] 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 scrutinized by genealogists after his marriage. Henrik's 1996 autobiography acknowledges the unsuccessful ennoblement.

Royal spouses and titles

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 in June 1967.[12] Six months later, Margrethe's cousin Prince Ingolf 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.[13]

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


Danish Royal Family
Royal Coat of Arms of Denmark.svg

HM The Queen
HRH The Prince Consort

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

  1. ^ a b Barbara, Augustin (1989). Marriage across frontiers. Multilingual Matters. ISBN 185359041X. http://books.google.com/books?id=TF2fVxyws90C&pg=PA40&dq=%22Laborde+de+Monpezat%22#v=onepage&q=%22Laborde%20de%20Monpezat%22&f=false. Retrieved 2009-10-01.  
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ a b BBC News | EUROPE | Runaway prince returns home
  5. ^ BBC News | EUROPE | 'Degraded' Danish prince takes time out
  6. ^ a b "Monpezat til Frederik og Joachim". Berlingske Tidende. 30 April 2008. http://www.berlingske.dk/article/20080430/danmark/804300370/. Retrieved 2008-06-14.  
  7. ^ Henrik prince de Danemark, Destin Oblige, 1996, 102
  8. ^ Levinsen, Niels (B.T.). "Henrik fulgte Mary time for time" (in Danish). http://www.bt.dk/article/20051027/ROYALT/110270114/1349. Retrieved 2008-06-17.  
  9. ^ a b Dioudonnat, Pierre-Marie, Encyclopédie de la fausse noblesse et de la noblesse d'apparence, Paris, Sedopols, 1976–79 (2 vols), French, p.208
  10. ^ Joseph Valynseele, Les de Laborde de Monpezat et leurs alliances, Paris, chez l'Auteur, 1975, French
  11. ^ Velde, François. "Nobility and Titles in France". Heraldica.org. http://www.heraldica.org/topics/france/noblesse.htm#untitled. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  12. ^ Huberty, Michel; Alain Giraud, F. and B. Magdelaine (1994) (in French). L'Allemagne Dynastique Tome VII Oldenbourg. France. pp. passim. ISBN 2-901138-07-1.  
  13. ^ Billed-Bladet, (Interview with Count Christian of Rosenborg), 1985, Danish

External links

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


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