Queen of Denmark apologises for upset after stripping grandchildren of royal titles

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Credit: ITV News

The queen of Denmark has apologised for how she handled the removal of royal titles from four of her grandchildren last week

Queen Margrethe II initially said she was making the move in the hopes of allowing them to live a normal life.But the decision to strip her heirs of their officiak titles sparked a backlash from within her own royal household.

Prince Nikolai and his siblings, Prince Felix, 20, Prince Henrik, 13, and Princess Athena, 10, will no longer bear the titles prince and princess, although they will maintain their order in the line of succession.

In a statement published on Monday, the queen responded to the "strong reactions" following her announcement.

She said the decision had been a long time coming but justified it by adding: "Difficult decisions must be made, and it will always be difficult to find the right moment."

She said the nature of holding a royal title came with a series of commitments and duties she hoped would fall on fewer members of the royal family in the future.

Queen Margrethe said: "I have underestimated the extent to which much my younger son and his family feel affected. That makes a big impression, and for that I am sorry."Prince Nikolai said in an interview last week he was "very sad" to lose his title.

Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik with their grandchildren (from left) Prince Nikolai, Prince Christian, Prince Felix and Princess Athena. Credit: AP

His father, Prince Joachim told a Danish newspaper paper the family were "all very sad" at his mother's decision. 

"It's never fun to see your children being mistreated like that. They themselves find themselves in a situation they do not understand," he said.

From 1 January, 2023, Prince Joachim's four children will be given the titles Count and Countess instead of Prince and Princess.

Neither Prince Nikolai nor his father have commented on how the decision had affected relations with the 82-year-old monarch, who after the death of Queen Elizabeth II is Europe's longest-reigning sovereign.The royal household said their HRH titles will be "discontinued," adding: "Prince Joachim’s descendants will thus have to be addressed as excellencies in the future."

Joachim, the Queen’s second son, lives in Paris with his wife, Princess Marie, and their two children, Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10.

Nikolai, 23, and Felix, 20, are Joachim's sons from his first marriage to Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg.

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