Denmark's Prince Henrik has been diagnosed with dementia.

Prince Henrik and Queen Margrethe

Prince Henrik and Queen Margrethe

The 83-year-old royal has been examined all summer and specialists at the Rigshospitalet hospital in Copenhagen have now officially confirmed that Queen Margrethe II's husband is suffering from the brain disease, which causes a long term and often gradual memory loss.

A statement released by the Danish Palace said: "It is with deep regret that Her Majesty The Queen has asked the Lord Chamberlain to announce: Following a longer course of investigation, and most recently, a series of examinations conducted during late summer, a team of specialists at Rigshospitalet has now concluded that His Royal Highness Prince Henrik suffers from dementia."

Henrik will now minimise his duties and future engagements as the royal family want the prince to have as much "peace and quiet" as possible as he deals with the life-changing illness.

The statement continued: "The diagnosis implies a decline in The Prince's cognitive functional level. The extent of the cognitive failure is ... greater than expected considering the age of the Prince, and can be accompanied by changes in behaviour, reaction patterns, judgement and emotional life and may therefore also affect the interaction with the outside world.

"As a consequence of the diagnosis, The Prince will further downgrade his future activities, just as patronages and honorary memberships will be considered.

"It is the wish of The Queen and the Royal Family that the Prince will have the peace and quiet as required by the situation."

Henrik retired from last year and most recently hit the headlines after saying he wished not to be buried with his wife - whom he has two sons, Crown Prince Frederik, 49 and Prince Joachim, 48, with - at Roskilde Cathedral, but the Queen's spokesperson said it had long been known.

He said: "I didn't marry the Queen to be buried at Roskilde. My wife has decided that she wants to be Queen, and I'm very happy about that. But as a human being she needs to know that if a man and wife are married, they are equal."

However, the statement from the palace read: "The Queen has for some time been familiar with the decision of His Royal Highness and acknowledges the decision. The Prince's decision does not change The Queen's funeral plans. The Prince's wish to be buried in Denmark remains, but the circumstances are not yet in place."

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