A rift has emerged within the Danish royal family following a decision by Queen Margrethe to strip four of her eight grandchildren of their royal titles in order to “perpetuate” 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 from the Danish royal family, is to allow junior royals to lead more normal lives, as it follows 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 houses have made in various ways in recent years.
“With her decision, Her Majesty The Queen wishes to create the framework for the four grandchildren to shape their own lives to a much greater extent without being limited by the special considerations and duties than a formal affiliation to 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 eldest sons, Nikolai, 23, and Felix, 20, from his first marriage to Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg.
The royal household said their HRH titles would be ‘discontinued’, adding: ‘The descendants of Prince Joachim will therefore have to be treated as excellences in the future’.
Joachim’s four children will retain their place in the order of succession.
In a phone conversation with CNN, Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen, Countess Alexandra’s press officer, said the Countess was “very sad and in shock.
“She can’t believe why and why now, because there’s no good reason. They would lose their titles anyway when they get married one day. Her sons are young men, so maybe that they could get married in the near future, so why not wait until that day for the titles to disappear on a happy day?”
The palace said the latest development was a ‘natural extension’ of earlier moves to shrink the monarchy, saying: ‘In April 2008, Her Majesty The Queen bestowed upon her sons, their wives and their descendants the titles of Earls and of Countess of Monpezat. . In May 2016, it was also announced that HRH Prince Christian, as the only of the Queen’s grandchildren, is to receive a state pension when they reach adulthood.
Joachim’s older brother, Crown Prince Frederik, is the first to ascend the throne. Her eldest son, Prince Christian, is second in line. Frederik’s four children retain their titles.
Countess Alexandra told CNN via email that Von Wildenrath Løvgreen had been authorized to speak on behalf of Joachim and Marie, as well as herself..
Von Wildenrath Løvgreen said: “Their father told his children. They were quite shocked.
“He is truly a man of honour. He lived all his life in his family with this title and he was shocked and almost cried this morning when one of the European tabloids spoke to him in Paris.
She said the children had only learned of the change in their titles in recent days, adding: “In May he (Prince Joachim) was informed that they could withdraw their titles at the age of 25, then he didn’t hear about it again until a few days ago.”
Von Wildenrath Løvgreen explained that the rebranding is purely a formality, as Joachim’s children receive no money from the state treasury.
“It’s just their loss of identity and it’s very hard on little kids and young men. As Prince Nikolai told me, “what are they going to write in my passport now?”
The four children have not spoken with their grandmother since the announcement, she said.
Responding to the palace’s explanation that this will allow young people to lead a more normal life, she added: “They will never have a normal life. If they do something very stupid, it will always come back on the family.
Lene Balleby, communications director for the Royal Household, told CNN in an email: “As Her Majesty The Queen said yesterday, the decision has been a long time coming. The Queen’s decision has taken various forms along the way, but Prince Joachim has been involved and informed about the process since May 5. We fully understand that there are a lot of emotions at play at the moment, but we hope that the Queen’s desire to make the royal house of Denmark will be respected.
This 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 intended for his wife at Roskilde Cathedral because he had not been given the title of king.
The French-born prince, who died in 2018, was unhappy with his title since he was made prince consort – rather than king consort – when the couple married in 1967.