Prince Nikolai of Denmark is speaking out on his grandmother Queen Margrethe's decision to strip him and his three siblings of their current royal titles.
The royal palace announced on Wednesday that the children of Prince Joachim, Queen Margrethe's second son, will no longer have their prince/princess or "His/Her Highness" titles starting on Jan. 1, 2023. Nikolai, 23, Felix, 20, Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10, will instead be known by His Excellency Count of Monpezat or Her Excellency Countess of Monpezat. They will maintain their places in the order of succession, currently seventh through to the tenth in the line to the throne.
Nikolai spoke with Danish outlet Ekstra Bladet outside his Copenhagen home following the announcement, saying he was "very sad" and "confused."
"My whole family and I are, of course, very sad," he said. "We are, as my parents have also stated, in shock at this decision and at how quickly it has actually gone."
He added, "I am very confused as to why it has to happen like this."
KELD NAVNTOFT/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Prince Nikolai, Queen Margrethe and Prince Felix
Nikolai, who is a model and has walked the runway for brands like Dior, said he was only informed of the decision a few days before the news went public.
"I haven't counted the days, but it can't be longer than a little over a week ago," he said.
Nikolai and Felix are the sons of Prince Joachim and his first wife, Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg. Prince Joachim got remarried to Princess Marie in 2008, and they later welcomed Henrik and Athena.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Prince Nikolai of Denmark
Prince Joachim spoke to the same outlet as his eldest son on Thursday, revealing he was given "five days' notice" of the title change for his four children.
"We are all very sad. It's never fun to see your children being mistreated like that," he told Ekstra Bladet. "They find themselves in a situation they do not understand."
MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Prince Felix, Princess Marie, Prince Joachim, Princess Athena, Prince Henrik and Prince Nikolai
Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg reacted to the news shortly after it was announced.
"We are all confused by the decision. We are saddened and in shock," Alexandra said in a statement from her press advisor Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen, according to Danish magazine Se og Hør. "This comes like a bolt from the blue. The children feel ostracized. They cannot understand why their identity is being taken away from them."
Explaining her decision, Queen Margrethe told reporters, "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," according to Hello! Magazine.
Luca Teuchmann/Getty Queen Margrethe with her grandchildren in 2016
The decision does not pertain to the four children of Crown Prince Frederik, who is heir to the throne, with his wife, Crown Princess Mary. Unlike their cousins, Prince Christian, 16, Princess Isabella, 15, and 11-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine will both continue to be part of the royal house. However, Princess Mary spoke out about the decision on Friday at the opening of the 6th International Youth Conference "Re-imagine Youth Mental Health."
"I can understand that it is a difficult decision to make and a very difficult decision to receive," Mary said, according to Hello! magazine. "Change can be difficult and can really hurt. But this does not mean that the decision is not the right one."
Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Prince Vincent, Crown Prince Frederik, Princess Isabella, Queen Margrethe, Prince Christian, Princess Josephine and Crown Princess Mary
Crown Princess Mary added that changes may be made for her younger children as well someday as her son Prince Christian, currently second in line to the throne behind his father Crown Prince Frederik, accedes the position of monarch.
"We will also look at our children's titles when the time comes," she said. "Today we do not know what the royal house will look like in Christian's time, or when Christian's time begins to approach."