4 FEBRUARY 2002
Following his absence from the Dutch royal wedding celebrations last week, Prince Henrik of Denmark, husband of Queen Margrethe II, has caused a stir by complaining of his life in the shadows, saying he feels useless, relegated and in the “midst of a mid-life crisis”.
Speaking to the Danish newspaper BT, the prince said reports that he been demoted to third rank in the social life of the Danish royal house, behind his son Crown Prince Frederik, had hurt him and made him lose his self-esteem.
More directly, he said press reports that he had been the guest of his son at the official royal New Year’s reception in Copenhagen this year, were the “final straw”.
“For many years I have been the number two in Denmark,” he said. “It is a role that has given me a lot of satisfaction, but after so many years I don’t want to see myself demoted to the number three position as if it were a formality.”
However the prince said that his son was certainly not to blame for the newspaper reports. “He’s a wonderful boy,” he said, “it’s not his fault. I think he’s timid and he isn’t content with the current situation. I want to make that clear. I’m not jealous of my own son. He’s not the one trying to change the order.”
For his part, Crown Prince Frederik told the Danish press on Sunday that he supported his father and that he only needed some time in peace.
While Queen Margrethe was in Amsterdam last week for the wedding of Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his Argentine bride Maxima Zorreguieta, Henrik chose to vacation at the family’s official residence in his home town, Caïx, in south western France. He said the decision not to go the wedding was entirely his own.
“I’ve come to Caïx to take stock of my life,” he said.
Prince Henrik attributed the bulk of the blame for what he called the “worst crisis of my life” to the attitude of the press but he added that the Royal House must also take some responsibility. However, he refused to comment on reports of discord in his marriage
A spokesman for the family said: “The Royal House cannot make any comment on the relationship between the Queen and her husband.”
However the spokesman added that the queen and the prince are still intending to take part in the opening of the Danish House in Paris next week.
Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat and the then Crown Princess Margrethe were married on 10 June, 1967. They met while Margrethe was completing an Economics course in London where the Count was working as the secretary at the French Embassy. A year later Frederik was born, followed in 1969 by his younger brother Joachim.
Prince Henrik has always distinguished himself for his wide knowledge of languages – he speaks five, including Chinese - and love of the arts, a passion he shares with his wife.