Saturday, 17 February 2018

Tributes to Prince Henrik of Denmark

Flowers in the snow lie like a path to the heart of the matter. Tributes continue to come in for Prince Henrik of Denmark who died on February 13th 2018 at the age of 83. The consort of Queen Margrethe II may have been sometimes controversial in life but as people come to pay their respects, what is being celebrated is his vitality, his range of talents and his devotion to his monarch and his adopted country.

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The carpets of flowers at royal residences around Denmark show how well thought of the prince is, was and will be. Since he passed away on Tuesday, floral tributes have been left by thousands of Danes for the man who became their consort. His beloved wife, Margrethe, came to see the flowers outside Fredensborg Castle where, just hours earlier Henrik had passed away.

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In fact, Henrik's family have been a very visible presence in recent days. They accompanied his body from Fredensborg to the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen with Prince Christian, now 12, standing at his grandmother's side as she watched Henrik begin his last journey to the Danish capital. Henrik's body lay at Amalienborg until the evening of February 16th 2018 when he was taken to the church at Christiansborg when his funeral will take place on February 20th 2018.  Margrethe and her family watched his coffin being taken into the church then took part in a simple ceremony. The church will now be open to the public for them to make their own tributes to Henrik in the days before his funeral.

Meanwhile, a special gun salute took place on February 15th 2018 and flags are at half mast at royal residences across Denmark as well as at official buildings. In Norway, King Harald asked for the flag at the Royal Palace to fly at half mast to mark Henrik's passing. The Norwegian royals sent a message to Queen Margrethe, offering their condolences to her, her family and all the people of Denmark. A message of sympathy also came from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in which he said he and his family would remember Prince Henrik ''with great warmth''. Flags will also be flown at half mast at Stockholm's Royal Palace on the day of Henriks' funeral. At the same time as his funeral is taking place in Copenhagen, a ceremony will take place at Riddarhom Church in Stockholm to mark his passing. The traditional event, for members of the Order of the Seraphim who have passed away, will be open to the public. From Windsor, the Queen has sent a private message of condolence to Margrethe of Denmark.

There have been many tributes paid elsewhere to Henrik including a touching one at the French Embassy in Copenhagen where his love of literature was remembered with special posters of the prince featuring one of his quotes ''poetry is the nectar of the soul''. As Henrik made his final journey to Christiansborg, the French ambassador stood outside the embassy with his staff to pay their respects. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, also sent a message of condolence to Queen Margrethe.

And all around the Amalienborg Palace, the neat little royal residence Henrik came to call home, lie ever growing lines of flowers from his fellow Danes. Thousands have paid tribute to him and will continue to do so between now and his funeral, on February 20th 2018. The French born poet who became a prince and wanted to be a king has a place all of his own in the heart and history of the country he came to call his own where history which now remembers Henrik of Denmark.

Photo credit: detdanskekongehus Instagram

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