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'Shocked and confused': Denmark's queen strips royal titles from grandchildren

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By David Mac Dougall
FILE: Danish Royal Family celebrate 50th anniversary of Queen Margrethe's accession to the throne, Copenhagen, January 2022
FILE: Danish Royal Family celebrate 50th anniversary of Queen Margrethe's accession to the throne, Copenhagen, January 2022   -   Copyright  Steen Brogaard / Kongehuset, Danish Royal Household   -  

The Queen of Denmark has stripped some royal titles from four of her grandchildren, in a move criticised by her youngest son. 

Queen Margrethe II has two sons: Crown Prince Frederik, who is the heir to the throne, and his brother Prince Joachim. 

While the princes each have four children of their own, from 1 January next year Joachim's children will no longer be allowed to call themselves Prince or Princesses - a title they currently hold. Instead, they will only be allowed to use one of their other titles: count or countess of Monpezat.

"The Queen’s decision is in line with similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years," the Royal Household said in a statement on Wednesday.

The palace added that the Queen’s decision was in line with moves that other European royal houses have made in recent years, and that she wants her four grandchildren by Prince Joachim "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."

So what has the reaction been to the announcement?

While the palace has indicated this decision was several months in the making, and that her son Prince Joachim had been kept informed, he has reacted critically to the announcement. 

In an interview with a Danish media outlet, Joachim - who lives in Paris with his second wife and two youngest children - is quoted as saying he wasn't given much notice that the changes had been decided.   

"I was given five days' notice of this. To tell my children that at the New Year their identity will be taken away from them. I am very, very sad to see them upset and uncomprehending of what is happening over their heads," he said. 

Meanwhile Prince Nikolai - Prince Joachim's eldest son - told Danish newspaper Extrabladet on Thursday evening he was sad, shocked and confused by his grandmother's decision. 

"My whole family and I are of course very sad. We are, as my parents have also stated, in shock at this decision and at how quickly it has actually gone," Prince Nikolai told reporters outside the Copenhagen apartment he shares with his girlfriend.

"I am very confused as to why it has to happen like this," said the 23-year-old. 

Although the royal grandchildren will have their titles changed, they will not lose their places in the order of succession to the Danish crown. They are currently 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th in line to the throne, behind their father, cousins and uncle.