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.
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.