Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik has left the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to rush home because the condition of his father - Queen Margrethe's French-born husband Prince Henrik - has "seriously worsened."
Henrik was hospitalised on January 28 for a lung infection with doctors saying they had found a benign tumour in his left lung.
Crown Prince Frederik, an IOC member, was at the Games that opened on Friday evening. Denmark's TV2 said Frederik already left Pyeongchang.
Danish tabloid BT said Frederik's wife, Australian-born Crown Princess Mary, paid a brief visit on Friday to Copenhagen's university hospital where her father-in-law is, with two of the couple's four children.
Henrik's brother, Etienne de Montpezat, was quoted by BT as saying "it seems to be a matter of weeks."
Henrik's friend, Erik Brandt, told tabloid Ekstra Bladet that the fact that the crown prince had rushed home meant "that here is something wrong."
Hundreds of Danes wrote on the royal household's Facebook page, expressing hopes for a quick recovery and warm thoughts to Henrik and the family as a whole.
Henrik has often voiced his dissatisfaction with not being the queen's equal after she acceded to the throne in 1972, causing a stir in one of the world's oldest monarchies. For years, Henrik has complained that he didn't become king instead.
A change to the Danish Constitution in 1953 allowed female succession, paving the way for Margrethe to become the monarch. Even before that, Henrik wouldn't have become king.
Last year, the palace announced the 83-year-old prince was suffering from dementia.
Australian Associated Press