Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has spoken about her decision to strip four of her grandchildren of their royal titles, with the monarch revealing she thinks it will be “good for them in their future”.
The Danish ruler, 82, announced her decision in a statement shared by the royal palace on Wednesday, in which it was revealed that the children of the Queen’s second son, Prince Joachim, will no longer have prince or princess titles, nor His/Her Highness titles.
The ruling will impact the Queen’s grandchildren Prince Nikolai, 23, Prince Felix, 20, Prince Henrik, 13, and Princess Athena, 10, who, from 1 January 2023, will instead go by their titles of Count and Countess of Monpezat.
“Her Majesty has decided that, as of 1 January 2023, His Royal Highness Prince Joachim’s descendants can only use their titles as counts and countess of Monpezat, as the titles of prince and princess that they have held up until now will be discontinued,” the statement read.
While reflecting on her decision, which will not impact her grandchildrens’ places in the order of succession, the ruler told reporters during an event at the National Museum at Copenhagen on Wednesday that it is one she has been mulling over for some time.
“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, according to Hello Magazine. The Queen was then asked if the ruling was for the “sake” of her grandchildren, to which she replied: “Yes, of course.”
In the statement shared by the Danish palace, it noted that the monarch hopes her four grandchildren will be able to go on to lead lives that are not shaped by their royal titles as a result of the decision.
“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 statement read.
However, the shock announcement was met with criticism from Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, the mother of Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix, and ex-wife of Prince Joachim, who said the family was “confused by the decision,” and that it had left the children feeling “ostracised”.
“They cannot understand why their identity is being taken away from them,” the Queen’s former daughter-in-law said in a statement from her press advisor to Danish magazine Se og Hør, according to People.
After divorcing Alexandra in 2005, Prince Joachim married Princess Marie in 2008, with the couple later welcoming Prince Henrik and Princess Athena.
While speaking to reporters, the Queen was asked about the claim that her grandchildren feel “ostracised” by the ruling, to which she replied: “Well, you have to see how you … I haven’t seen it myself, I must say,” according to the outlet.
However, on Thursday, Prince Joachim revealed in a statement of his own that he and his children are “all very sad,” and claimed that he was given just “five days’ notice” about his mother’s intention.
“We are all very sad. It’s never fun to see your children being mistreated like that,” he told the national newspaperEkstra Bladet, according to People. “They find themselves in a situation they do not understand.”
Joachim then acknowledged that he was presented with a plan about the Queen’s decision in May, which he told the outlet “basically stated that when the children each turn 25, it would happen”. However, he noted: “Athena turns 11 in January.”
As for how the decision has impacted his relationship with his mother, the prince said: “I don’t think I need to elaborate here,” according to People.
In addition to a consideration for the futures of her second son’s children, the palace’s statement also noted that the ruler’s decision was made after witnessing similar changes to other monarchies.
“The Queen’s decision is in line with similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years,” the statement said.
The Queen’s ruling will not impact the four children of Crown Prince Frederik and his wife Crown Princess Mary: Prince Christian, 16, Princess Isabella, 15, and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, 11, who will continue to hold royal titles.