Danish Crown Prince couple wait for ‘full picture’ after bullying exposed at children’s school

Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary said on Monday they were yet to make a final decision over whether to let their children continue at controversial boarding school Herlufsholm.

Danish Crown Prince couple wait for ‘full picture’ after bullying exposed at children's school
Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at the Babylon Conference Centre in The Hague, on June 20, 2022. Photo: Albert Nieboer/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

The Crown Prince couple answered questions from the Danish press over the issue during a business visit to the Netherlands on Monday, broadcaster DR writes.

At a briefing meant for questions about Danish companies’ activities in the low country, the royal couple were instead asked whether they had made a decision about sending their children to elite boarding school Herlufsholm during the coming school year.

An explosive documentary by broadcaster TV2, aired last month, described a culture of unmitigated bullying and violence, alongside allegations of sexual assault.

READ ALSO: Culture of bullying and violence revealed at elite Danish school

The documentary was based on interviews with as many as 50 former students at Herlufsholm.

Criticism of the school reached the top of Danish politics, with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen calling the revelations brought forward by the TV2 documentary “unforgivable”.

Prince Christian, 16, son of the heir to the throne Crown Prince Frederik is completing his first year as a boarding student at Herlufsholm. His younger sister Princess Isabella, 15, is slated to start next term. 

Shortly after the documentary was released, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary released a statement decrying the conditions at Herlufsholm as “completely unacceptable.” 

They have not confirmed whether they will withdraw their children from the school.

“It is certain that it has affected (our children) and we have spoken to the about the subject and asked about it. Especially our son… is doing very well there, so that’s also a sign that there have been some unpleasant and unfortunate episodes, but we also have an ocean of students who have a fantastic experience,” Crown Prince Frederik said.

The Danish royals said they would await the results of an independent investigation, initiated by the Herlufsholm management, into conditions at the school before making a decision on their children’s future enrolment.

“Like most people, we are deeply shaken by what we have heard. But we have one child who has been there for a year and one who is looking forward to starting. We need to see this problem from all sides, to get the full story before we can make a decision that is right for them,” Crown Princess Mary said.

Crown Princess Mary said the family need “the full picture before we can take the right decision together with our children”.

The Crown Princess was also asked who she could allow her children to go to the school will also being the figurehead of the anti-bullying charity Maryfonden.

“I can understand why that question is being asked. My view on bullying is the same today as when I started Maryfonden 15 years ago. Bullying must be stopped where it occurs and when it occurs. That applies to Herlufsholm and other schools. My views on bullying are the same whichever school my children attend,” she said.

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Denmark’s Prince Joachim says children ‘harmed’ by loss of titles

Prince Joachim, the second son of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, has criticised a decision by the palace to strip his four children of the title of prince and princess.

Denmark’s Prince Joachim says children ‘harmed’ by loss of titles

In a rare episode of public drama in the Danish royal family, Prince Joachim, the Queen’s second son, spoke to Danish media on Thursday to express his disappointment over the decision to remove the titles of ‘prince’ and ‘princess’ from his children as of next year.

Prince Joachim’s four children will no longer be princes or princesses but will retain their other titles as Count or Countess of Monpezat, the royal palace announced on Wednesday. The decision was taken by Queen Margrethe.

“We are all very sad about it. It’s never fun to see your children harmed in this way. They themselves are in a situation they don’t understand,” Prince Joachim told newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

In comments to the paper as well as in a second interview with another newspaper, BT, the prince said the decision to change the children’s titles had been moved forward.

“On May 5th I was presented with a plan. The whole idea was to take my children’s identity from them when they each reach 25 years of age,” he said.

“I was given five days’ warning when the decision was brought forward,” he said.

“I was given five days’ warning on this. To tell my children that their identity will be taken from them at New Year. I am very, very upset to see them sad and uncomprehending as to what is being decided about them,” he said to BT.

Asked how the decision has affected his relationship with his mother, the prince told Ekstra Bladet “I don’t think I need to elaborate on that here”.

Prince Joachim, the younger brother of the heir to the throne Crown Prince Frederik, has four children: Nikolai, age 23 and Felix, age 20, from his first marriage to Countess Alexandra; and Henrik (13) and Athena (10) with his current wife, Princess Marie.

READ ALSO: Danish palace removes prince and princess titles from Queen’s grandchildren

Prince Nikolai on Thursday also spoke to Ekstra Bladet, saying that “all of my family and I are naturally very upset.”

“We are, as my parents also have said, in shock about this decision and about how quickly it was actually made,” he said.

The palace on Thursday recognised that “many feelings” had been affected by the announcement.

“We understand that there are many feelings on the line at the moment but we hope that the Queen’s wish to secure the future of the royal family will be respected,” the palace’s head of communications, Lene Balleby, told news wire Ritzau.

Queen Margrethe on Wednesday said she had thought over the decision “for a rather long time” and that she believed it “would be good” for the royal grandchildren, Ritzau reported.