SIX months ago Prince Henrik, who had been married to the Queen of Denmark for more than 50 years, announced that he did not wish to be buried next to his wife in Roskilde Cathedral because, he said, she had never acknowledged him as her equal.
The news sent shockwaves across Denmark, not least because it broke with a 459-year-old tradition. But then the French-born prince – who was diagnosed with dementia not long after dropping his bombshell – had never been big on Danish tradition.
He spoke out at being denied the title of king and decided to drop the title prince consort altogether after he retired from public duties in 2016.
Although Henrik regularly courted controversy, including the time he publicly said spanking was good for children, it was an interview he gave in 2002 that really caused uproar.
He stunned the Danish people by saying he felt he had been pushed aside in his own home – not only by Queen Margrethe but also by their elder son, Frederik, who was chosen to represent the monarch at a New Year’s ceremony instead of him.
“I don’t want to be relegated to number three after so many years,” he said.
Born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat in Talence, near Bordeaux, the future Danish prince spent much of his youth in Vietnam where his father was a businessman.
He studied Vietnamese and Chinese, law and political science in Paris, before completing his French military service with the infantry in Algeria from 1959 to 1962.
He went on to become a diplomat and met Margrethe while stationed in London.
The couple married in 1967 by which time Henri had changed his name to Henrik. The following year the couple had the first of their two sons, Frederik, while Joachim was born a year later.
In 1972 his wife became queen. Following his retirement the prince spent much of his time at his private vineyard in France, where he wrote poetry.
He was admitted to hospital in January with a lung infection and later was said to have a benign tumour.
Half of his ashes will be spread over Danish seas and the other half buried in the royal private garden at Fredensborg Palace.
His wife and two sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, survive him.