Denmark's Prince Henrik has retired to his castle in France to take time out to "reflect on life" after reportedly feeling "pushed aside, degraded and humiliated" after 30 years as the consort of Queen Margrethe.
In an outspoken interview with the Danish tabloid BT, the 67-year-old prince complained that he had been pushed into "third place in the royal hierarchy" behind his eldest son Crown Prince Frederik.
The complaint came after the annual royal New Year's reception was hosted by Prince Frederik when Queen Margrethe was ill with a broken rib, rather than by his father.
"I need time to think. For many years I have been Denmark's number two. I've been satisfied with that role, but I don't want to be relegated to number three after so many years," he said.
King of the castle
French-born Prince Henrik is now at his chateau in Caix in France to contemplate his future, saying that he does not want to become "some kind of wearisome attachment".
According to the editors of BT, both Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik had read and approved the article prior to publication.
"Every father wants to be master in his own house. But there are people in our house and in the press who have tried to say that it is Prince Frederik who is the host while really he is his father's guest," Prince Henrik said.
"I do not want to play this game. I must be the number two," he added.
Family not to blame
Prince Henrik admitted he felt "degraded all the time... and walked over in such a way that my self-respect is destroyed".
But he was keen to stress neither his son nor his wife were to blame, saying that they were not happy about the recent changes either.
The only royal comment on the interview came from Prince Frederik, who told BT : "My father is not well at the moment. He needs to remain calm."
Observers say the prince's comments have come as a surprise to the Danish people, who pride themselves on having a royal family that has avoided the scandals and divorces that have hit other European monarchies.
On Saturday Prince Henrik failed to appear with Queen Margrethe at the royal wedding in the Netherlands between Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his Argentine bride Maxima Zorreguieta, saying that he had to handle an urgent matter with his vineyards at Caix.
from BBC News, 2002