The death of Denmark’s Prince Henrik puts the monarchy’s gender inequality in the spotlight

The royal question.
The royal question.
Image: Reuters/Marie Hald/Scanpix/File Photo
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Prince Henrik of Denmark has died aged 83. In a statement, the royal family confirmed that he died “peacefully in his sleep” at Fredensborg Castle, north of Copenhagen, where he spent his final days, following hospital treatment for a lung infection and a benign lung tumor. His wife Queen Margrethe and their two sons were at his side.

Meanwhile, his passing has drawn attention to one of his biggest gripes about being part of the Danish royal family.

In June 1967 he married Margrethe, heir to the Danish throne. She was later crowned the Queen in January 1972. However, he did not become King—he was given the title of Prince Consort. In Denmark, a princess becomes a queen when her husband becomes king. However, when the roles are reversed, a man doesn’t become a king.

Over the years, he was vocal about the anger and disappointment he felt over not being called king. Last year, when he was diagnosed with dementia, he retired from official duties and renounced his title of Prince Consort. He was so angry about not being called king that  he declared that he did not want to be buried next to his wife because he wasn’t made her equal.

Despite his publicly aired grievances over his title, which did little to endear him to the Danish public, the palace did not say in a statement where the prince would be buried. Traditionally, Danish royal couples are buried in Roskilde Cathedral, west of Copenhagen.