Today saw the funeral of Prince Henrik of Denmark take place in Copenhagen, in a private ceremony attended only by close family and a handful of non-relatives, with the chapel full of floral tributes.
Beginning at 11.00am at Christiansborg Palace Church, the funeral was an emotional affair, with Queen Margrethe seen shedding tears as she said goodbye to her husband of 50 years.
Prince Henrik died in his sleep last week aged 83, after suffering from a lung infection; his situation was grave, and so requested to return home to Fredensborg Palace, where later that evening, he passed away surrounded by members of his family.
The Royals bowed and curtsied to the coffin as they entered, before taking their seats. Crown Princess Mary was seen holding onto Crown Prince Frederik’s hand as the service took place, with their four children sitting behind them. Similarly, Princess Marie did the same for husband, Joachim, and their brood was seated in the row behind.
While few foreign Royals attended, despite the Scandinavian Royal Families’ close relationships, King Constantine II of Greece, and his wife Anne Marie were present; Anne Marie is Margrethe’s sister. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, and the French ambassador to Denmark were amongst the non-familial members of the congregation bidding the Prince Consort farewell. Some 60 guests were present at the service.
Flowers covered the floor at the end of the room, including wreaths from other Royal Families, and well-wishers.
French-born Henrik’s coffin was draped in a Danish flag, bearing his royal coat of arms. An estimated 20,000 people had visited in the past three days while he lay in state, to pay their respects.
Chaplain-in-Ordinary Erik Norman Svendsen conducted the service, while a guard of honour featuring 96 men from the three armed services stood outside the chapel. The Royals were seen to giggle at a few points, noting particularly humorous times in Henrik’s life.
Music echoed throughout the chapel during the service, as a choir sung.
10 officers from The Royal Life Guard carried the coffin from the Palace Church to the hearse, and were followed by the Danish Royals.
Outside, the Queen smiled at crowds, who had gathered in their hundreds to see the Prince’s final journey, and thanked the priest for the service.
The Prince Consort – as requested – will be cremated, and not buried in a tomb created for him and Margrethe in Roskilde Cathedral. Half of Henrik’s ashes will be spread over Danish seas and the other half buried in the private garden at the Fredensborg Palace, where he died.
Court mourning will continue until the middle of March, when black will be worn and no festivities or entertainments held.
We have chosen to use especially emotional images of the Danish Royals to dispel any suggestion that the family were not close to Henrik, who said a number of controversial things about his family in recent years.