Danish royals attend private funeral for queen’s husband

Thousands of Danes bid farewell to Prince Henrik ahead of his funeral

The Danish royal family, left, look as pallbearers carry the coffin of Prince Henrik during the funeral ceremony. Photograph: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

The Danish royal family, left, look as pallbearers carry the coffin of Prince Henrik during the funeral ceremony. Photograph: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

 

Thousands of Danes bid farewell to the late Prince Henrik ahead of his funeral on Tuesday, despite a controversy over his choice not to be buried in the tomb prepared for him and his wife Queen Margrethe.

The royal family, prime minister and France’s ambassador to Denmark were among those who attended a private service at the Christiansborg Palace Chapel in the centre of Copenhagen, while a few hundred people gathered outside to pay their respects.

Danish Queen Margrethe (L) is led into the church by royal confessor Erik Norman Svendsen. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen DENMARK OUT/AFP
Danish Queen Margrethe (L) is led into the church by royal confessor Erik Norman Svendsen. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen DENMARK OUT/AFP

“I’ve come to say goodbye to the prince. It means a lot to me as an immigrant that even though he was born outside Denmark he still became a part of the royal family,” said Iraqi-born Makarim Ibrahim (51).

Some 20,000 Danes have visited Prince Henrik’s coffin in the past three days while he lay in state.

Last August Henrik said that he did not wish to be buried next to the queen, breaking a 459-year-old tradition. Shortly afterwards, the palace issued a statement saying that he had dementia.

The 83-year-old French-born prince died in his sleep last week. It was afterwards announced that the palace would respect his wish not to be buried in a tomb in Roskilde Cathedral prepared for him and Margrethe, who he said had never acknowledged him as her equal.

Danish Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik greeting well-wishers from the balcony on the occasion of the Queen’s 76th Birthday celebration at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen in 2016. Photograph: Marie Hald/Getty Images
Danish Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik greeting well-wishers from the balcony on the occasion of the Queen’s 76th Birthday celebration at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen in 2016. Photograph: Marie Hald/Getty Images

Instead, Henrik’s body will be cremated and half of the ashes scattered in Danish waters and half buried in the garden of Fredensborg Castle, north of Copenhagen, where he died.

As in most monarchies, a Danish princess becomes queen when her husband takes the throne, but a man does not become king through being married to a queen.–Reuters