Denmark prince refuses to be buried next to wife, the queen

FILE - Danish Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik arriving to Aarhus Harbour aboard the Royal Yacht Dannebrog in this file photo dated June 23, 2017. Prince Henrik announced Thursday Aug. 3, 2017, he won't be buried next to Margrethe in the specially designed sarcophagus made for them in Roskilde cathedral, where Danish royals have been buried since 1559, without giving any reason for his decision. (Mikkel Berg Pedersen/Ritzau FILE via AP)

The husband of Denmark's Queen Margrethe is causing a stir in one of the world's oldest monarchies

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The husband of Denmark's Queen Margrethe is causing a stir in one of the world's oldest monarchies.

Prince Henrik has announced he won't be buried next to Margrethe in the Roskilde cathedral, where Danish royals have been buried since 1559. She has had a specially designed sarcophagus made for the couple there.

"Traditions are important to all monarchies so this is felt pretty violently," said Lars Hovbakke Soerensen, an expert in Danish history.

Lene Balleby, the spokeswoman for Denmark's royal house, told Danish tabloid newspaper BT that the France-born Henrik has "for years been dissatisfied with his role and the title."

Margrethe acceded to the throne in 1972 and became Denmark's first female monarch in centuries. The 83-year-old prince has long complained that he didn't become king instead.

"The decision not to be buried beside the queen is the natural consequence of not having been treated equally in relation to his spouse," Balleby was quoted as saying.

"Any man who is not equal to his spouse is not worthy to be buried in the same grave," Henrik said Friday, according to the Ekstra Bladet tabloid.

A change to the Danish Constitution in 1953 allowed female succession, paving the way for Margrethe to become the monarch. Even before that, Henrik wouldn't have become king.

"This is the culmination of his grumbling in the past...a way to say to Danes and Denmark, 'Thanks, but no thanks,'" Hovbakke Soerensen said.

The palace said Thursday that Margrethe, 77, has accepted Henrik's decision, adding it didn't change her burial plans.

Henrik, who retired from public life last year, said through the royal household that he wanted to be buried in Denmark, but didn't say where.

Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat, he met Margrethe in London when he was a diplomat with the French Embassy. He changed his name to Henrik, converted to Denmark's state Lutheran Church and became prince consort. The couple has two sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.

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