Queen Margrethe of Denmark removes royal titles from her four grandchildren


A rift has emerged in Denmark’s royal family following Queen Margrethe’s decision to strip four of her eight grandchildren of royal titles to “future-proof” the monarchy.

The 82-year-old monarch, who celebrated half a century on the throne this year, announced on Thursday that from next year the children of her youngest son, Prince Joachim, will no longer be known as prince and princess.

The reason for the move, according to an announcement by the Danish royal house, is to allow the royals to lead a more normal life, following a similar decision by other royal families to reduce the monarchy.

The announcement explained: “The Queen’s decision is in line with similar adjustments that other royal households have made in various ways in recent years.

“With her decision, the Queen wants to create a framework in which Her Majesty’s four grandchildren can shape their lives to a greater extent, without being limited by the special considerations and obligations of formal affiliation with the Royal House of Denmark as an institution implies.”

Joachim, the Queen’s second son, lives in Paris with his wife, Princess Marie, and their two children, Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10. The prince has two older sons, Nikolai, 23, and Felix, 20, from his first. Marriage to Countess Alexandra of Frederiksborg.

The royal household said his HRH titles will be “suspended”, adding: “Therefore, Prince Joachim’s successors will have to be addressed as excellence in the future.”

Joachim’s four children will keep their positions in the order of succession.

Queen Margrethe, Prince Joachim, Princess Marie, Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik and Princess Athena at the confirmation of Princess Isabel on 30 April 2022.

In a phone interview with CNN, Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen, press secretary for Countess Alexandra, said the countess was “very sad and shocked.

“Now he can’t believe why and why, because there is no good reason. One day they would lose their titles when they got married. His sons are young men, so maybe they can get married in the near future, so why not wait until that day for the titles to disappear one happy day?

The palace said the latest development was a “natural extension” of previous moves to reduce the monarchy, saying: “In April 2008, the Queen granted her sons, their spouses and their descendants the titles of Counts and Counts of Monpezat. In May 2016, Her Royal Highness Prince Christian, the Queen’s grandson It was also announced that he would receive some income from the state as he matured.

Joachim’s older brother, Crown Prince Frederik, is first in line for the throne. His eldest son, Prince Christian, is second. Frederik’s four children retain their titles.

Countess Alexandra told CNN via email that Von Wildenrath Løvgreen is allowed to speak on behalf of Joachim and Marie, as well as herself..

Von Wildenrath Løvgreen said: “Their father told his children. They were quite surprised.

“He is truly an honorable man. He has lived his whole life in his family with that title and he was surprised and almost cried this morning when one of the European tabloids spoke to him in Paris”.

He said that the children had heard about the change in their titles in recent days, and added: “In May (Prince Joachim) was told that when they turned 25, their titles were removed and then he didn’t hear any more. A few days ago.”

Von Wildenrath Løvgreen explains that the rebranding is a mere formality, as Joachim’s children receive no money from the public purse.

“It’s just losing their identity and it’s very hard for young children and young people. As Prince Nikolai told me, ‘what will they write in my passport now?’”.

The four children have not spoken to their grandmother since the announcement, she said.

In response to the palace’s explanation that this will allow the young people to lead a more normal life, he added: “They will never get a normal life. If they do something really stupid it will always come back on the family.”

Lene Balleby, director of communications for the royal household, told CNN in an email: “As the Queen stated yesterday, the decision has been a long time coming. The Queen’s decision has taken many forms along the way, but Prince Joachim has been involved in the process and has been informed since May 5. Absolutely. We understand that there are many emotions involved at the moment, but we hope that the Queen’s wish to protect the Danish Royal House in the future will be respected.”

It is not the first time that titles have been controversial for the family. The Queen’s husband, Prince Henrik, said he did not want to be buried in a plot dedicated to his wife at Roskilde Cathedral because he had not been given a royal title.

The French prince, who died in 2018, was unhappy with his title, having been named prince consort – instead of royal consort – at the couple’s wedding in 1967.