The Real Reason Danish Royal Family Members Have Been Stripped of Their Titles
Queen's younger son blindsided by the “very sad” announcement.
The Queen of Denmark made headlines this week with the announcement that she has stripped four of her grandchildren of their royal titles. They will no longer be known as prince or princess and have been downgraded to count and countess. The decision has drawn the ire of the queen's youngest son, who has publicly rebuked his mother over the change. Read on to find out why she did it and about the family controversy that's erupted.
This week, Queen Margrethe of Denmark announced that her younger son's four children—three sons and a daughter—would no longer be princes and princesses starting next year. Instead, they will be known as counts and countesses of Monpezat, a title derived from the family of the queen's consort, who died in 2018. Only the children of Crown Prince Frederik, the queen's older son, will be allowed to call themselves princes and princesses.
"The Queen's decision is in line with similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years," the royal household said. "With her decision, Her Majesty The Queen wishes to create the framework for the four grandchildren to be able to shape their own lives to a much greater extent without being limited by the special considerations and duties that a formal affiliation with the Royal House of Denmark as an institution involves."
The royal household said the four children's HRH titles will be "discontinued," adding: "Prince Joachim's descendants will thus have to be addressed as excellencies in the future."
Prince Joachim, 53, the queen's younger son, said he had been blindsided by the "very sad" announcement. "It's very sad," he told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet on Thursday. "It's never fun to see your children hurt in this kind of way. They're in a situation they do not understand themselves."
He denied he had been consulted about the change months ago as had been reported, saying he had been given only five days' notice of the announcement. Asked how it had changed his relationship with the queen, he paused for seven seconds, then said: "I don't think I need to go into that here."
Joachim 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 Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg.
Joachim's ex-wife, Countess Alexandra, said the announcement was a "bolt from the blue." "The children feel excluded," she told the Danish newspaper BT. "They can't understand why their identity is being taken from them."
Alexandra's press secretary told CNN, "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 they might get married in the near future so why shouldn't it wait until that day so that the titles would disappear on a happy day?"
The streamlining of Denmark's royal family began in 2016 when the queen decided that Prince Christian, Crown Prince Frederik's oldest son and heir apparent, would be the only one of her adult grandchildren to receive an annual stipend funded by taxpayers.
This isn't the first time controversy has erupted in the Danish royal family over titles: The queen's husband, Prince Henrik, refused 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 Henrik was unhappy he was named prince consort (instead of king consort) when the couple married in 1967.