In the most morbid drama of the week, Denmark’s prince consort, Prince Henrik—a man previously nicknamed “the world’s grumpiest royal,” according to People—has announced his refusal to be buried with his wife, Queen Margrethe II.
The declaration would be inconsequential if it weren’t so delightfully petty. You see, the monarch is still peeved that, 45 years after his wife ascended to the throne, he still hasn’t been honored with the honorific of king. Not since Prince Hamlet was pouting around Elsinore has a Danish royal behaved quite as much of a brat, and this, at 83.
A representative for the royal family conveyed the prince consort’s sentiment on Thursday; as their communications director Lene Balleby explained in a statement to Denmark’s tabloid BT, “It is no secret that the prince for many years has been unhappy with his role and the title he has been awarded in the Danish monarchy.” This is all, of course, hypothetical, as both Margrethe and Henrik are still alive and kicking.
And it’s not just a personal affront for the prince consort, who has alternately been referred to as “salty,” “bitter as f—,” and “pugnacious” in various outlets. According to Henrik, it’s a form of inverse gender discrimination, as he didn’t hesitate to tell French newspaper Le Figaro in 2015: “It makes me angry that I am subjected to discrimination,” he said, according to People. “Denmark, which is otherwise known as an avid defender of gender equality, is apparently willing to consider husbands as worth less than their wives.”
Escape to Denmark: A Love Letter to the People, Places and Treasures of Copenhagen
Every Danish boy and girl knows the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the tin soldier and his ill-fated love for a paper ballerina. “This story always brings a tear to my eye,” says Tim Walker, who fell in love with dancers from a local ballet school.
Gucci coat, jeans, and boots; American Apparel socks.
Dancers from a local ballet school.
No one depicted Danish interior life—in its seeming tranquility and actual complexity—like the artist Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864–1916), whose paintings often featured a lone woman with her back turned to the viewer.
Sand Copenhagen shirt; Burberry top (underneath); Maggie Norris Couture skirt; Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini belt.
The model Freja Beha Erichsen (center), Denmark’s most successful fashion export, gets the royal treatment.
From left: Dior Homme sleeveless jacket; Dsquared2 trousers; Angels Costumes hat and belt. Mugler jacket; Diesel Black Gold T-shirt (underneath); A.W.A.K.E. pants; Stella McCartney belt; Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci boots. Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini top; Dior Homme pants; Angels Costumes hat and belt; Dsquared2 boots. Beauty note: Command attention with Moroccanoil Curl Enhancing Shampoo.
Something a little bit Johnny Rotten in the state of Denmark, perhaps? “Caroline Clante [center] is a model, a stylist, and a conduit for all things cool in Denmark,” Walker notes.
From left: Gucci coat, T-shirt, jeans, and boots; Ambush bracelets (worn as necklace); Dsquared2 rings; American Apparel socks. Gucci sweater and jeans; Louis Vuitton belt; Versace fur-tail charm; stylist’s own badges. Gucci trenchcoat and boots; Bally jeans; Dsquared2 key earring; Hansel From Basel socks; stylist’s own T-shirt. Beauty note: Swipe right with L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Liner Noir.
The film director Carl Theodor Dreyer, known for his stark precision—and darkness of vision—inspired this image.
From left: Valentino Haute Couture dress; Lagos earrings; (right hand) Georg Jensen x Zaha Hadid ring; (left hand) Tasaki ring. Valentino Haute Couture dress; Lagos earrings; Manolo Blahnik pumps. Spencer Horne devil costume.
The photographer, model, and famous Dane Helena Christensen lives with her son, Mingus, and their puppy, Kuma, in a house in which Hammershøi once painted. (“Helena took a portrait of me taking a portrait of her,” Walker says.) Copenhagen is an exceptionally bike-friendly city, but like many kids, Mingus prefers to skate.
From left: Juun.J jacket. Chloé cape; Mikimoto bracelet. Beauty note: Tighten your focus with Shiseido Bio-Performance Lift Dynamic Eye Treatment.
Facetasm sweatshirt; Per Götesson jeans; Converse sneakers.
Facetasm sweatshirt; Per Götesson jeans; Sankuanz hat.
Hanging out in Nokken: The waterside community is known for its untamed allotment gardens and quirky, Hobbit-like houses.
From left: Craig Green shirt, trousers, and hood; stylist’s own T-shirt and belt. Louis Vuitton dress, sweater, and skirt; Mother of Pearl trousers; Craig Green hood. American Apparel socks; Teva sandals (on both). Beauty note: Lighten up with Dolce & Gabbana Creamy Illuminator in Rosa Barocca.
Freja, at the Elephant Gate of the Carlsberg headquarters. The pachyderm bears the ancient Sanskrit symbol of good health and prosperity. Skål!
Hood by Air dress; Sankuanz hat; American Apparel socks; Gosha Rubchinskiy x Fila sneakers.
In this vision from Shakespeare, Floating Point dancer Malthe Ørsted (“He moved brilliantly!” Walker says) makes a turn as the Devil, whom Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, suspects has it out for him.
From left: Chanel Haute Couture dress; Lagos earrings; Wolford tights; Manolo Blahnik pumps. Spencer Horne devil costume. Beauty note: Defy your inner demon with Maybelline Color Sensational the Loaded Bolds Lipstick in Smoking Red.
Marc Jacobs coat; Sacai hat; Georg Jensen earrings.
A city within the city, Christiania was established in 1971, when a group of squatters transformed a derelict military base into a free zone. It’s now a highly popular tourist site, known as much for its vegan restaurants as its laissez-faire attitude toward marijuana.
From left: Maison Margiela anorak and jumper; Marni skirt and trousers. No. 21 parka; Facetasm shirt; Sankuanz backpack; Prada bracelet; Christopher Kane cable ties.
From left: Hood by Air top; Monse pants; Sanita clogs. Joseph coat and trousers; Sportmax jacket (underneath); Sanita clogs.
J.W. Anderson jumpers and culottes; American Apparel socks; Sanita clogs (on both).
From left: Prada top, pants, coat (around waist), belt, headband, and bracelets; Lou Dalton necklace; stylist’s own whistle necklace. Prada coat, vest, jacket (around waist), headband, and bracelets; Christopher Kane cable ties. Teva sandals; Falke socks (on both). Beauty note: If you’re going to follow the sun, try Olay Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 15 Fragrance-Free.
Ivan and Noel, two of Copenhagen’s most prominent residents, waltz for the camera at the Copenhagen Zoo. “We had a private portrait session early on a Sunday morning,” Walker says. “It’s quite an emotional thing to see animals like that close up.”
Music was a recurring Hammershøi theme, and during the holiday season Copenhagen goes all-out.
From left: Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci dress; Burberry top and dress (underneath); Eres briefs; AGL shoes. Burberry top and dress; Mother of Pearl skirt; Eres briefs; Maria La Rosa socks; AGL shoes; stylist’s own tulle socks.
Freja and crew let down their guard. The former shipyard where they are photographed is being transformed into a creative hub.
From left: Dior Homme sleeveless jacket; Dsquared2 trousers and boots; Angels Costumes hat and belt; Versace fur-tail charm. Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci coat, T-shirt, skirt, and boots; American Apparel socks. Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini top; Dior Homme pants; Angels Costumes hat and belt; Dsquared2 boots. Beauty note: Magnetize them with Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Precious Oil.
Just outside of Copenhagen, Dragør was home to Dutch farmers who were invited by the king to grow vegetables for the court. Today, the town’s narrow cobbled streets famously teem with hollyhocks.
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus jackets, shirts, and pants (on both). Beauty note: Not a hair out of place, thanks to IGK Broken Dreams Texture Paste.
Balenciaga coat, shirt, pants, and boots.
When looking upon the city’s surrounding wheat fields, the title of the Danish national anthem seems particularly apt.
Red Valentino sweater.
From left: DKNY sweater. Red Valentino sweater; the Contemporary Wardrobe Collection jeans. Red Valentino sweater.
Vetements coat and pants; Raf Simons belt (worn as necklace) and cap; Georg Jensen rings; Balenciaga boots; stylist’s own belt.
Hair by Gary Gill for Wella Professionals at Streeters; makeup by Thomas de Kluyver at Art Partner; hair and makeup for Helena Christensen and Mingus Reedus by Rozelle Parry at Le Management; set design (page 139) by Emma Roach. Models: Freja Beha Erichsen at IMG Models; Wilbert Grue, Ulrikke Høyer, Louis Parker, Freja Sørensen, Olivia Therese, Tobias Tybjerg at 2pm Management; Matilde, Ville Sydfors at Diva Models; Victor Brøchner, Aske Hyldborg, Amalie Moosgaard, Cecilie Moosgaard at Le Management; Christian, Kai, Eddie, Marius at Mate Management; Noah Aamund, Vincent Beier, Caroline Clante, Laura Hagested, Vickie Mansaray, Konstantin Neergaard, Ellen Ryberg at Scoop Models; Helena Christensen, Eljas Gundel, Malthe Ørsted, Mingus Reedus.
Producer: Jeff Delich at Padbury Production; Denmark Casting by Piergiorgio Del Moro, Samuel Ellis Scheinman; Local Production by Tina Mogensen, Emma Spannow at Blink Productions; Photography Assistants: Sarah Lloyd, Tony Ivanov; Fashion Assistants: Clemence Lobert, sam walker; Hair Assistant: Thomas Wright; Makeup Assistant: Joel Babicci; Special Thanks to Spencer Horne, Ivan and Noel at the Copenhagen Zoo, Tom McKenzie, Helle Gjerby, Kasper Cornish, and the Ballerinas of Bodywork company Cambridge, Royal Copenhagen
Last year, Prince Henrik retired from royal duties, relinquishing even his embattled “prince consort” title at the same time. (But according to royal succession, the spouses of queens regnant are rarely elevated to king consort, in part due to gendered assumptions that queens are lesser than kings.)
According to the BBC, “the queen, 77, is said to have accepted her husband’s decision” regarding their burial arrangements—after all, it’s more space for her, for all of eternity.
It seems a waste of the custom-made, Bjørn Nørgaard-designed sarcophagus that awaits the aging couple at Denmark’s Roskilde Cathedral, but alas. Henrik, who was born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat in France, still desires to be buried in Denmark, rather than his native country—just not with his wife.
In related news, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, retired from official royal duties earlier this week with dignity and grace, offering only, with the characteristic self-depreciation to anyone familiar with The Crown, that he was retiring as the “the world’s most experienced plaque-unveiler.” He is retiring as the world’s longest-serving consort in history.
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