Queen Margrethe II downgrades her royal grandchildren

From left: Prince Felix, Princess Marie, Prince Joachim, Princess Athena, Prince Henrik and Prince Felix. Photo: DR.

The Danish Royal House announced in a statement that Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe II has decided, as of January 1 2023, to remove the titles of Prince and Princess from the children of her son, his Royal Highness Prince Joachim. Instead of Prince and Princess her grandchildren can only use their titles as Counts or Countess of Monpezat. Instead of being addressed as “Your Royal Highness” they will have to be addressed as “Your Excellency” in the future. But the grandchildren maintain their places in the order of succession.

The Queen’s decision is a natural extension of the announcement in May 2016, of His Royal Highness Prince Christian being the only one of the Queen’s grandchildren expected to receive an annuity from the state as an adult.

With the decision, the Queen “wishes for her 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 announcement has shocked Countess Alexandra, who says the children are sad and shocked too.

“It’s the children’s identities and, as a parent, you are affected by that,” said Helle von Wildenrath, speaking on behalf of Countess Alexandra, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie.

“It is a different story from when they were deprived of the annuity. They have been aware that they are to take care of themselves. They have been extremely serious and responsible of their titles. They are born as princes and princesses, so it is vulnerable for them to be deprived of.”

Countess Alexandra is the mother of two of Queen Margareth’s grandchildren, Prince Felix and Prince Nikolai, and the former wife of Prince Joachim.

Jakob Steen Olsen considers the reaction from Alexandra to be spectacular in itself.

“It is unusual for Alexandra to react with such hardness. In royal circles, you normally would not retaliate on such cardinal decision made by the Queen,” he told Danish national public-service media DR.

At the same time, he says he finds it difficult to understand the Royal House’s decision and can not think of other Royal Houses who have implemented similar scenarios even though referred to in the official announcement. In his opinion, Queen Margrethe is attempting to brace the Royal House for the future by “trimming the tree to allow it to keep growing”.

“The Royal House acts ahead of possible future criticism if the Danes should suddenly be of the opinion of there being too many royal family members calling themselves princes and princesses.”

According to DR, the Chief of Communication at the Danish Royal House, Lene Balleby, says Prince Joachim has been aware that his children were going to be deprived of their titles since May 2022 and expresses the Royal House’s understanding of the difficulty of the situation.


About Jeannette Hinrup

Jeannette Sophie Hinrup is a Danish environmental geographer traveling South East Asia while writing for ScandAsia.

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