CNN

The Danish royal family is at rift after Queen Margrethe’s decision to strip four of her eight grandchildren of their royal titles to “future-proof” the monarchy.

The 82-year-old monarch, who celebrates half a century on the throne this year, announced on Thursday that her youngest son Prince Joachim’s children will no longer be known as princes and princesses from next year.

According to the Danish royal family announcement, the reason for the move was to allow the junior royals to live a more normal life, while other royal families followed a similar decision to reduce the royal family.

The announcement explained: “The Queen’s decision is in line with similar adjustments made by other royal families in various ways in recent years.

“Through her decision, Her Majesty the Queen wishes to create a framework for the four grandchildren to be able to shape their own lives to the greatest extent without being limited by the special considerations and duties that come with formal attachment to the Royal House of Denmark. An organization is involved.

The Queen’s second son, Joachim, lives in Paris with his wife, Princess Marie, and their two children, Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10. The prince has two grown sons, Nikolai, 23, and Felix, 20, from his first marriage to Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg.

The royal family said his HRH title would be “discontinued”, adding: “Prince Joachim’s descendants will have to be referred to as the Excellent in the future.”

All four of Joachim’s sons would hold their seats in succession.

Queen Margaret, Prince Joachim, Princess Marie, Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik and Princess Athena during Princess Isabella's confirmation on April 30, 2022.

In a telephone conversation with CNN, Countess Alexandra’s press secretary Helle von Wildenrath Lovgreen said the countess was “very sad and shocked.

“She can’t believe why and why now, because there’s no good reason. Even if they get married one day, they will lose their titles. Her sons are young so they may get married in the near future, so why not wait for that day so that the titles disappear on a happy day?”

The palace said the latest development was a “natural extension” of earlier moves to reduce the monarchy, saying: “In April 2008, Her Majesty the Queen conferred the titles of Count and Countess of Monpezt on her sons, their husbands and their descendants. . In May 2016, It was also announced that Her Majesty Prince Christian, as the Queen’s only grandchild, is expected to receive an annuity from the kingdom as an adult.”

Joachim’s older brother, Crown Prince Friedrich, is first in line to the throne. His eldest son Prince Christian is second in line. All four of Frederick’s sons have retained their titles.

Countess Alexandra told CNN via email that von Wildenrath Lovgreen had been authorized to speak on behalf of Joachim and Marie as well as on her behalf..

Von Wildenrath Lovgreen said: “Their father told his sons. They were shocked.

“He is a truly honorable man. He has lived with this title in his family all his life and was shocked and almost cried when one of the European tabloids spoke to him in Paris this morning.

She said the boys only found out about the change in their titles in recent days, adding: “Back in May he (Prince Joachim) was told he could take his title off when he turned 25 and he hasn’t heard anything more since then. A few days ago.”

Von Wildenrath Lövgreen explained that the rebrand was purely a formality, as Joachim’s sons received no money from the public purse.

“It’s just a loss of their identity and it’s very difficult for children and young men. Prince Nikolai said to me, ‘What will they write in my passport now?’

All four children have not spoken to their grandmother since the announcement, she said.

Responding to the palace’s explanation that this would enable the youth to live a more normal life, she added: “They will never have a normal life. If they do something too stupid, it will always come back to haunt the family. ”

Len Balleby, director of communications for the royal family, told CNN in an email: “As Her Majesty the Queen said yesterday, this decision has been a long time coming. The Queen’s decision has taken various forms along the way, but Prince Joachim has been involved in the process since May 5 and has been briefed. We fully understand that there are many emotions involved at this moment, but we hope that the Queen’s wish to future proof 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 the plot meant for his wife at Roskilde Cathedral, as he had not been given the title of King.

The French-born prince, who died in 2018, had been unhappy with his title since being named prince consort – rather than princess – at the couple’s wedding in 1967.

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