Royal rift after the Danish queen stripped her grandchildren’s titles

The Queen of Denmark’s decision to deprive four of her grandchildren of their titles sparked unprecedented royal drama in Copenhagen and led her enraged son to air the family’s dirty laundry in public.

Queen Margrethe II announced last week 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 1.

On Monday she apologized for the pain caused.

But Margrethe has kept faith with the decision that was intended to allow Nikolai, 23, Felix, 20, born from the first marriage of Joachim, Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10, to live a normal life without real obligations. .

The move followed a trend among other European royal families to streamline their monarchies, including Britain, where the Windsors face their own family feud.

“Possession of a royal title entails a series of commitments and duties which, in the future, will fall on fewer members of the royal family,” the only reigning queen of Europe said in a statement.

But Prince Joachim saw it as an affront and was quick to speak to the media.

“On May 5, I was presented with a plan. That the whole question of my children’s identity would be removed by the time each of them turned 25. Athena will turn 11 in January,” he told Danish tabloid BT.

“Then, I got five days’ notice” that the decision had been speeded up.

His first wife Alexandra also told BT that she and her children were “shocked”, while her eldest son expressed her sadness.

“I’m very baffled as to why it had to happen this way,” Nicolai told tabloid Ekstra Bladet.

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

There is “no tradition in Denmark for members of the royal family to argue with each other in public,” historian Lars Hovbakke Sorensen told AFP.

Prince Joachim said he has “sadly” had no contact with his mother or older brother, Crown Prince Frederik since the queen’s announcement.

“It’s also family. Or whatever you might call it,” she told BT

In another passage, his French-born wife Princess Marie said the couple’s relationship with Crown Prince Frederik and his Australian-born wife Mary was “complicated”.

The media then unearthed another old family squabble, namely Joachim and Marie’s claims that their move in 2019 to Paris – where Joachim is the Danish embassy’s defense attache – was not their “choice. “.

However, the queen’s decision did not surprise royal observers.

It is “natural, reasonable and necessary,” historian Sebastian Olden-Jorgensen said.

The queen’s other four grandchildren born to Crown Prince Frederik, 54, will retain their titles.

Already in 2016, however, the queen decided that once she reached the age of majority only the future king, Prince Christian, would receive a prerogative.

Stripping off the titles of Joachim’s children is just another move in the same direction, experts said.

“She wisely chose to do it alone and not leave it to her successor, the crown prince,” Olden-Jorgensen said. “It is much easier for her to do this to her son than for him to do this later to her brother.”

However, the heated reactions of Joachim’s family “indicate that there is a conflict and a total disruption in communication,” wrote columnist Jacob Heinel Jensen on BT.

The queen’s apology came in a statement Monday.

“I underestimated the extent to which my youngest son and his family feel affected … and I am sorry for that,” he said. “Now I hope that we as a family can find peace to find our way through this situation.”

An opinion poll conducted by Voxmeter suggested that 50.6% of Danes support his decision while 23.3% disagree.

This is not the royal family’s first scandal, although they have rarely been so sensational.

In 2002, the late Prince Consort Henrik made headlines when he fled to his castle in southern France to “reflect on life”, complaining that he was not given enough respect in Denmark after Crown Prince Frederik was chosen to represent the queen in New York. The ceremony of the year instead of him.

And a few months before his death in 2018, Henrik, who was suffering from dementia, announced he didn’t want to be buried next to his wife because he was never matched.

© 2022 AFP