Queen Margrethe and her eight grandchildren waving to well-wishers on the queens's birthday last month. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Scanpix 2016
With eight royal grandchildren, “simple mathematics” will require a rethinking of who qualifies for an annual salary financed by Danish taxpayers, politicians said over the weekend.
There is uniform agreement that Crown Prince Frederik’s son, Prince Christian, should receive the annual apanage as an heir to the throne. But future funding for Christian’s three younger siblings and the four children of Prince Joachim appears less certain.
“Simple mathematics dictate that there needs to be some sort of limit. Otherwise within a few generations there will be several hundred princes and princesses who need an annual salary. Anyone can see that that won’t fly,” Jan E. Jørgensen, a spokesman for ruling party Venstre, told Politiken.
A revision to the annual apanage given to the royal family, which today totals over 100 million kroner ($15 million, €13.5 million), has come up for discussion as Prince Joachim’s eldest son, Prince Nicolai, nears his 18th birthday, at which point he would qualify for the financial support.
From 1849 to 1995, only heirs to the throne, their spouses and widows were supported financially by the state. Those rules were changed upon Prince Joachim’s marriage to his now ex-wife Alexandra to include his family. Two decades later, many politicians appear to regret the decision.
Left-wing parties the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) and the Socialist People’s Party want to revert to the old rules so that only Prince Christian will receive support. Right-of-centre parties the Conservatives and Liberal Alliance say that all of Prince Frederik’s children should get the money while Prince Joachim’s four children should not.
Venstre didn’t directly state its position but said the issue must be discussed given that Queen Margrethe’s two sons have eight grandchildren between them. The Social Democrats and the Social Liberals (Radikale) also declined to weigh in.
Lars Hovbakke Sørensen, a historian at University College Sjælland, agreed that it is time to rethink the state’s direct financial support of the royal family, particularly when Queen Margrethe is the only member with any actual obligations.
“The others need to define their missions and thus you can’t really be sure of exactly what you get for the money,” he told Ritzau.
While politicians couldn’t find immediate agreement on the annual support, the Danish public seems to have made up its collective mind. In a Megafon poll for TV2 and Politiken, seven out of ten Danes said Prince Joachim’s four children should not receive an annual apanage.
Danes are also solidly against the idea
of continuing to give Joachim’s ex-wife, Countess Alexandra, the 2.3 million kroner ($345,000, €310,000) she gets in annual support from the state despite having been an official member of the royal family since 2005.
Note: An earlier version of this article erroneously attributed Jan E. Jørgensen's quote to his Venstre colleague Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.