Prince Henrik, husband of Danish monarch, dies at age 83

Danish Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik greet well-wishers from the balcony on the occasion of the Queen’s 76th birthday celebration at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen in this April 16, 2016 photo. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
0

Prince Henrik, husband of Danish monarch, dies at age 83

COPENHAGEN: Prince Henrik, the French-born husband of Danish monarch Queen Margrethe who publicly vented his frustration at not being the social equal of his wife or their son in line to become Denmark’s king, died late Tuesday. He was 83.
He was diagnosed with dementia last year and his health has worsened recently. Henrik had been transferred earlier in the day from a Copenhagen hospital to the family’s residence north of the capital, “where he wishes to spend his last moments,” the royal palace had said.
A later statement said Henrik died at 11:18pm in his sleep and that the queen and their two sons were at his side.
In one of the world’s oldest kingdoms that prides itself on having a stable royal house with no scandals, Henrik caused one in August 2017 by announcing that when he died he did not want to be buried next to Margrethe in the cathedral where the remains of Danish royals have gone for centuries. The queen already had a specially designed sarcophagus waiting for the couple.
Born on June 11, 1934, in southwestern France to parents with the noble titles of count and countess, Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat married Denmark’s future queen in 1967.
Henri became Henrik and converted to Denmark’s state Lutheran Church. However, he found it difficult to fit in with Denmark’s egalitarian lifestyle.
He was titled prince consort — the husband of a reigning queen but not a king — and he was not in the line of succession — his oldest son Frederik being the heir.
Shortly after the royal marriage, media criticized Henrik because he had openly aired his views that spanking was good for children. In the mid-1980s, Henrik publicly said he wanted a paycheck instead of relying on the queen, who gets annual allowances.
The law was eventually changed to give him roughly 10 percent of the annual allocation Parliament makes to royals each year.
In a 2002 interview, Henrik again stunned Danes by saying he felt he had been pushed aside in his own home, not only by his wife but also by his son. This followed the annual royal New Year’s reception for foreign diplomats, where Frederik had been host because his mother was unavailable due to a broken rib.
“For many years I have been No. 2,” Henrik told Danish tabloid B.T. “I have been satisfied with that role, but after so many years in Denmark I don’t suddenly want to become number three and become some kind of wearisome attachment.”
Henrik lived his first five years in French Indochina. He graduated from universities in Paris, learned Mandarin and Vietnamese and spent a year at the Hong Kong University from 1958-1959.
After his move to Denmark, Henrik, a keen pianist, was active in different organizations and wrote poetry, memoirs and books, including a coffee table book on French gastronomy in 1999.
Margrethe and Henrik also owned a chateau in southwestern France where they retreated every summer.
As a member of Denmark’s royal family, he held honorary ranks of general in the Danish army and air force, and was an admiral in the navy.
In September 2017, the palace announced that Henrik had undergone tests at Copenhagen’s university hospital. The diagnosis was dementia and “the extent of the cognitive failure is greater than expected,” the palace said.
In January, he was admitted to a hospital with a lung infection.
On Friday, the royal palace said his condition had “seriously worsened” and Crown Prince Frederik, a member of the International Olympic Committee, was rushing home from the Winter Games in South Korea.
Henrik is survived by his wife, sons Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, and eight grandchildren.


Hero dog saves Indian family in flood-hit Kerala

Indian residents look at houses destroyed by flood waters at Kannappankundu in Kozhikode, in the Indian state of Kerala on August 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2018
0

Hero dog saves Indian family in flood-hit Kerala

  • Kerala, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season
  • More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year

NEW DELHI: A family in the flood-ravaged Indian state of Kerala narrowly escaped death after their pet dog woke them up moments before a landslide destroyed their home, local media reported Monday.
Mohanan P. and his family were sleeping at home in the mountainous Idukki district when their pet dog started barking raucously at around 3:00 am, waking the household.
“That’s when we realized something was wrong. I went out to see and we had to just rush out of the house,” Mohanan told Indian news network NDTV.
No sooner had the family rushed out when the landslide plowed down a nearby hill and demolished their home.
The family, dog in tow, have since moved to a government-run relief camp nearby.
Flash floods triggered by the annual monsoon rains have pounded the southern tourist hotspot in the past few days, killing 39 people and leaving 100,000 more homeless so far.