Local officials are mourning the death of Prince Henrik of Denmark, who quickly became a popular celebrity when he visited Solvang for its centennial celebration in 2011. He died Feb. 13 at the age of 83.
“We experienced such joy hosting Prince Henrik in Solvang during our centennial celebrations on June 11, 2011, which was also his 77th birthday,” said Tracy Farhad, executive director of the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau.
“Prince Henrik was so gracious during his visit, meeting with thousands during our free public party in the park, dedicating our Centennial Plaza, including two “royal bricks” with his emblem, and later attending a private dinner gala at Rusack Vineyards.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe and family,” Farhad said.
“Solvang remains forever honored by his visit in 2011 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our founding by Danish-Americans in 1911. It was an honor to meet and spend time with Prince Henrik here in our little corner of Denmark in the United States,” said Mayor Jim Richardson. “Prince Henrik graced us with his presence and humor in 2011; may he forever rest in peace.”
Esther Jacobsen Bates, executive director of Elverhoj Museum of History & Art who helped arrange the prince’s visit, also reflected on his passing.
“He was very happy to represent Denmark and the Royal Palace at the Solvang centennial celebration. We gave him a private tour of the museum, enjoyed his delight in viewing photographs of his first visit here in 1976 with her majesty the queen, and his enthusiasm for our preservation of the town’s Danish heritage. I had the honor of being the prince consort’s escort at the dinner gala and found him to be charming, easy to converse with, and in high spirits from our warm Solvang welcome. We join with Danes around the world in mourning.”