On Wednesday, the Danish royal announced her decision to remove the prince and princess as well as "His/Her Highness" titles from Nikolai, 23, Felix, 20, Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10. The children of Prince Joachim, her second son, will be known instead by His Excellency Count of Monpezat or Her Excellency Countess of Monpezat starting on January 1, 2023.
They will maintain their places in the order of succession. They are currently seventh through to the tenth in the line to the throne.
Explaining her decision, Queen Margrethe told reporters, "It is a consideration I have had for quite a long time and I think it will be good for them in their future. That is the reason," according to Hello! Magazine.
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock Denmark's Queen Margrethe
Asked if the move was for her grandchildren's "sake", the monarch said, "Yes, of course."
She also addressed reports that they felt "ostracized" and said, per the outlet, "Well, you have to see how you ... I haven't seen it myself, I must say."
Announcing the move, the palace previously said in a statement, "With her decision, Her Majesty The Queen wishes to create the framework for the four grandchildren to be able to shape their own lives to a much greater extent without being limited by the special considerations and duties that a formal affiliation with the Royal House of Denmark as an institution involves."
Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Queen Margrethe with Prince Joachim and his family
Nikolai and Felix are the sons of Prince Joachim and his first wife, Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg. Prince Joachim got remarried to Princess Marie in 2008, and they later welcomed Henrik and Athena.
The decision does not pertain to the four children of Crown Prince Frederik, who is heir to the throne, with his wife, Crown Princess Mary. Unlike their cousins, Prince Christian, 16, Princess Isabella, 15, and 11-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine will both continue to be part of the royal house.
The Danish palace also noted that "the Queen's decision is in line with similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years." Similarly, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf announced in October 2019 that the children of Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill as well as Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia would no longer be official members of the royal house. They retained their titles of prince or princess, but the titles became personal and any future spouses or children will not have a right to them.
Alexandra reacted to the news the same day, stating that she is "in shock."
"We are all confused by the decision. We are saddened and in shock," Alexandra said in a statement from her press advisor Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen, according to Danish magazine Se og Hør. "This comes like a bolt from the blue. The children feel ostracized. They cannot understand why their identity is being taken away from them."
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Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf made a similar change in October 2019. The King announced that his grandchildren from his two younger children, Princess Madeleine (who is married to Chris O'Neill) and Prince Carl Philip (who is married to Princess Sofia), would no longer be official members of the royal house. While they did retain their titles of prince or princess, the titles became personal, meaning any future spouses and children will not have a right to them.
Princess Madeleine responded to the news on Instagram at the time, writing in part, "This change has been planned for a long time. Chris and I think it's good that our children are now getting a greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals in the future."
Prince Carl Philip also shared his thoughts on Instagram, writing: "Today, the King announced the decision that our children no longer hold the Royal Highness position. We see this as positive as Alexander and Gabriel will have freer choices in life." (Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia later welcomed a third son, Prince Julian.)