Danish queen says she is ‘hurt’ by rift over titles

Denmark's Queen Margrethe said on Saturday she was saddened by a rift that has emerged in the royal family following her decision to strip four of her grandchildren of their titles.

Queen Margrethe gives a New Year's speech at Amalienborg Castle 2022
Queen Margrethe gives a New Year's speech at Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen, Saturday 31st December 2022. Photo: Keld Navntoft Ritzau/Scanpix

The 82-year-old monarch announced in September that the four children of her youngest son, 53-year-old Prince Joachim, would no longer be able to use the title of prince and princess after January 1st.

She has said the decision was intended to allow Nikolai, 23, Felix, 20 — born from Joachim’s first marriage — and Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10, to live normal lives without royal obligations.

But the decision sparked unprecedented royal drama in Copenhagen, with an enraged Prince Joachim seeing it as a snub.

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

Speaking in a televised New Year’s address on Saturday, the queen said: “That the relationship with Prince Joachim and (his wife) Princess Marie has run into difficulties hurts me”.

“Difficulties and disagreements can arise in any family, including mine. The whole country has witnessed this”, she said.

She added that she was “sure that the family can enter the new year together with confidence, understanding and new courage”.

After the queen’s announcement in September, Joachim’s first wife Alexandra told tabloid B.T. she was “shocked”, while her eldest son Nikolai told media he was “very bewildered”.

Meanwhile Joachim’s wife Princess Marie said the couple’s relationship with Crown Prince Frederik — heir apparent to the throne — and his Australian-born wife Mary was “complicated”.

The outpourings have sparked surprise in the Scandinavian country, coming just days after the hugely popular royal family had celebrated the queen’s 50th anniversary on the throne with pomp and smiles.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II delights jubilee crowds after family spat

The queen’s move followed a trend among other European royal families to slim down their monarchies, including in Sweden and in Britain.

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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe to return to public duty on 83rd birthday

Queen Margrethe is scheduled to return to public duty on April 16th, her 83rd birthday, following a period of convalescence after a back operation.

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe to return to public duty on 83rd birthday

The Queen’s return to public duty on her birthday was announced in a palace statement on Thursday.

“On this occasion, Her Majesty and The Royal Family will appear on the balconies at Christian IX’s Palace at Amalienborg at 12pm,” the palace said.

“It is expected that The Queen will resume her duties as the country’s sovereign the same day after her successful back operation in February,” it continued.

“The Queen’s physical rehabilitation is going well, but there will continue to be a number of major tasks that The Queen cannot carry out as planned in the coming months. Information about this will be shared on an ongoing basis,” it said.

Crown Prince Frederik has stood in for the Queen on official duties during her absence.

READ ALSO: Danish queen out of hospital after back surgery

To mark the Queen’s birthday, the Danish Royal Life Guard regiment will be in red gala uniforms and spectators will be able to watch a grand changing of the guard in front of the palace at royal residence Amalienborg in Copenhagen at 11:50am.

It is five years since the Queen last marked her birthday by greeting the public from the Amalienborg balcony, an otherwise regular tradition. The custom has in recent years been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, while the Queen was at Marselisborg in Aarhus in 2022.

The 82-year-old, Europe’s longest reigning monarch, underwent a “major” back operation last month at Rigshospitalet, Denmark’s largest hospital.

The exact nature of the operation has not been specified. The Queen underwent a lumbar canal operation 20 years ago.

The Queen, who was widowed in 2018, is extremely popular in Denmark. More than 80 percent of Danes say they support the monarchy, with thousands turning out to celebrate her 50th jubilee last year.