PRINCE HENRIK, the prince consort of Denmark, has shocked animal lovers by declaring that dog meat - fried or grilled - is one of his favourite dishes.
The 72-year-old prince, a Frenchman by birth, said his penchant for dog meat had developed from the time he spent growing up and studying in Vietnam.
He has several dachshunds and, despite publishing a cookery book called Ikke Altid Gaselever (Not Always Goose Liver), has even published eulogies to them. ‘Dog meat tastes like rabbit,’ he said in a recent interview in the lifestyle magazine Ud & Se. ‘Like dried baby goat. Or perhaps — I know! — like veal. Like the veal of a baby suckling calf, only drier. The dogs I eat have been bred to be eaten anyway, just like chickens.’
But the culinary tastes of the 72-year-old Prince have caused concern on two counts. First, he is the husband of Queen Margrethe and, as Prince Consort, one of the official voices of Denmark, a country committed to ending animal cruelty. Secondly, he is honorary president of the Danish Dachshund Club.
The Prince is rarely seen without his Dachshunds. In one interview he said that he would like to be reborn as a Dachshund in the Danish Court. The eccentric and outspoken prince previously provoked nationwide debate when he suggested that parents should use the skills of dog training to bring up their children.
He has even written a poem dedicated to his favourite Dachshund, Evita. It reads: ‘I love to stroke your fur/ And to see it fall smooth/ You dear dog, so special to me.’
Since the prince's admission, Danish newspapers have reopened their files on a royal Dachshund that disappeared from Amalienborg palace, Copenhagen, in the early 1990s.
Prince Henrik learnt Danish and changed his name, religion and nationality to marry Queen Margrethe II in 1967. But he has repeatedly complained about the Danes' lack of willingness to accept him, and is seemingly oblivious as to why this might be.
‘You have to make some allowances for the Prince,’ Lasse Hansen, a dog lover who works in an EU embassy in Copenhagen, said. ‘He is French, and the French are capable of eating extraordinary things, like horses and snails.’
To quote another famous Danish prince: ‘There are stranger things in heaven and earth…’