Monday, 15 June 2009

Prince Henrik to become king at 75?

Prince Henrik of Denmark has on several occasions voiced his opinion that if a king’s wife is a queen, a reigning queen’s husband should be king. On Friday Berlingske Tidende suggested that his wish may now come true after spokespersons of parties which would make up a majority in Parliament said that they were open for discussing such a change if the Queen proposes it.

However, the populist, far right-wing Danish People’s Party later in the day changed their mind and said that the Prince Consort could just forget all about it:

The constitutional expert Claus Haagen Jensen argued that such a change cannot be proposed by the Queen as it will necessitate parliamentary legislation, which the monarch has no right to initiate.

Henrik received the title Prince of Denmark when he married the then heiress to the Danish throne in 1967. When she succeeded as Queen Margrethe II five years later it was considered to create him Duke of Fredensborg, but the idea was scrapped. In 2005 he was given the title of Prince Consort.
Seen in a gender equality perspective Prince Henrik is of course principally correct and there are historical precedents in England, Scotland, Spain and Portugal. But it is a long time since a reigning queen’s husband was titled king – the last European example must be King Francisco of Spain, the husband of Queen Isabel II, who was deposed in 1868. In Denmark there is no precedent as Margrethe II is the country’s first queen regnant with a husband.
As earlier mentioned the Prince Consort turned 75 on Thursday and in Politiken that day Kjeld Hybel had an interesting article on the complex character of this royal who the Danes have never really been able to understand.

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