Yet another chapter was added to the ongoing saga of the title of the husband of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark during yesterday's state banquet for the President of Mexico at Fredensborg Palace. Several television viewers noticed that the Queen in her speech referred to her husband not as "the Prince Consort" but as "Prince Henrik", and today the royal court confirmed that he has renounced the title of Prince Consort. This comes as a consequence of his decision to more or less retire from royal duties, which was announced by the Queen in her New Year's Speech on 31 December last year. The court's head of communication, Lene Balleby, told the tabloid Ekstra Bladet that "It is His Royal Highness's own decision to alter his title to the less formal Prince Henrik. Prince Henrik finds this more fitting for his present situation after his retirement".
When he married the then Heiress to the Throne in 1967, Henri de Laborde de Monpezat received the title "His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark". When his wife succeeded to the throne in 1972, it was considered creating him Duke of Fredensborg, but this idea was dropped and he was thereafter officially referred to as "the Prince" and informally as "Prince Henrik". However, in 2005, the Queen let it be known that he would from now on be known as "the Prince Consort". He subsequently claimed that this was his own decision and that he had taken the new title as being just "Prince Henrik" or "the Prince" obscured the fact that he held a special position and was not just a prince like one of his young grandsons but the monarch's consort. He has, however, on many occassions voiced his opinion that he ought to be King Consort as the wives of kings are always queens. Now he is back where he started as plain "Prince Henrik".
The court has not given any date for when the change of title happened, but the last time he was referred to as "the Prince Consort" on the royal website seems to have been on 22 March in a press release stating that "HM the Queen and HRH the Prince Consort" had sent their condolences to the King and Queen of the Belgians following the terrorist attacks on Brussels (in the Danish version, they are however referred to as "Regentparret", i.e. "the Regent Couple" - which is in itself a very quaint term as Queen Margrethe is not regent but monarch). He was, however, still called "the Prince Consort" on the wreath the Queen and he sent to the funeral of former Prime Minister Anker Jørgensen on 2 April.