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.”
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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