Queen Margrethe strips four grandchildren of royal titles

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Queen Margrethe II.
Queen Margrethe II.
Photo: Steffi Loos/Getty Images
  • Queen Margrethe of Denmark has stripped four of her grandchildren of their royal titles.
  • The mother of Prince Joachim's two eldest sons, Countess Alexandra, said she was "shocked" by the decision.
  • The palace said the reason was to allow the four children to live more normal lives, and follows similar moves by other royal families to slim down their monarchies.

Denmark's Queen Margrethe, Europe's only reigning queen and the continent's longest serving monarch, on Wednesday stripped four of her eight grandchildren of their titles, the palace announced.

The official reason was to allow the four children of her youngest son, Prince Joachim, to live more normal lives, and follows similar moves by other royal families in Europe to slim down their monarchies, the palace said.

"As of January 1, 2023, the descendants of His Royal Highness Prince Joachim will only be able to use their titles of Count and Countess of Monpezat, their previous titles of Prince and Princess of Denmark ceasing to exist," the royal palace wrote in a statement.

Prince Joachim, 53, has four children from two marriages: Nikolai, Felix, Henrik and Athena, ranging in age from 10 to 23.

"With her decision, Her Majesty the Queen wants to create a framework for the four grandchildren, to a much greater degree, to be able to shape their own existence without being limited by the special considerations and obligations that a formal affiliation with the Royal House as an institution implies," it said.

"The queen's decision is in line with similar changes that other royal houses have carried out in recent years in different ways," it added.

The line of succession remains unchanged; they currently hold positions seven through ten in the line to the throne.

The mother of Prince Joachim's two eldest sons told Danish media B.T. she was "shocked" by the decision.

"This came from out of the blue. The children feel excluded. They can't understand why their identity is being taken from them," Countess Alexandra said. 

The queen's four other grandchildren, born to Crown Prince Frederik, 54, will retain their titles but when they come of age only the future king, Prince Christian, will receive an appanage, a decision taken in 2016.

The news comes after the queen recently tested positive for Covid-19 after attending the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Following the death of the British monarch, Queen Margrethe is Europe's longest-serving monarch.

The queen has since said of her decision, per Hello! Magazine: "It is a consideration I have had for quite a long time and I think it will be good for them in their future. That is the reason."

She said "yes, of course" it was done for the children's "sake".

Responding to whether they felt "ostracised" by the decision, she told reporters: "Well, you have to see... I haven't seen it myself, I must say." 

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