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The Queen of Denmark has revealed the decision to strip relatives of their titles was inspired by other European royals – including her late cousin Queen Elizabeth II – in a cull that will pile increasing pressure on Charles III to take ‘decisive action’ on the futures of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and his other family, experts predicted today.
Queen Margrethe (pictured), 82, has removed princely titles from four of her eight grandchildren, saying it is ‘for their own good’ – prompting a bitter royal row with her family redolent of Megxit when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit and emigrated to California. The official reason was to allow the four children of her younger son, Prince Joachim: Nikolai and Felix (pictured), and Henrik and Athena, to live more normal lives. It follows similar moves by other royal families in Europe, including the Windsors, to slim down their monarchies, the Danish palace said.
Her decision has ‘upset’ her son and his four children. His eldest sons Nikolai and Felix – from his first marriage – have been branded ‘playboy princes’ because they are professional models who failed to complete their two-year military education after both concluded it was ‘not right for them’. Prince Joachim insists his mother only gave him five days’ notice. His first wife Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, said she is ‘in shock’. Pictured: Margrethe (center) with grandchildren Nikolai and Felix (together, left), Henrik and Athena (right).
The streamlining of Europe’s royal household began in earnest at the end of 2018 – a year before Megxit – when the King of Sweden used his annual Christmas speech to address why he chose to strip five of his grandchildren of their royal titles. In the Netherlands, King Willem Alexander has slashed back the number of working royals to just five as well as the number of his palaces, staff, limousines and working heirs. The Danish Crown’s statement even addressed this comparison and trend, saying that the Queen’s decision is ‘in line with similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years’.
King Charles III is known to have spoken for decades about the need for the House of Windsor to be slimmed down. Margrethe, Europe’s only reigning Queen, will also have seen her cousin Queen Elizabeth II’s hard line on her son Prince Andrew, who was stripped of all his military titles and royal patronages in January over his links to Jeffrey Epstein and his multi-million-dollar settlement with Epstein’s sexual slave, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Margrethe’s move will pile pressure on Charles to speed up his plans – including making a swift decision on Harry and Meghan’s future and whether Archie and Lilibet should be HRH, experts have warned.
Former MP Norman Baker, a leading expert on royal finances, told MailOnline: ‘Why is Harry still an HRH? Charles says he wants to slim down the monarchy, but this must be real, not just superficial. He must slim down the costs to the taxpayer. It just needs it be him, Camilla, William and Kate and their children. The rest of them should get their P45s and retire or go out an earn a living’. Pictured: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Her Late Majesty’s funeral.
He added: ‘The need to slim down the bloated British royal family has been clear for decades and only become more clear as other European monarchies like the Danish slim down as befits the 21st century. It is increasingly absurd that minor bit players like the Gloucesters and the Kents still come as part of the package’.
Author and investigative journalist Tom Bower, who wrote a recent biography of Meghan Markle, said: ‘To save the monarchy from criticism, Charles does need to reduce the numbers. His big test is to neutralize the Sussexes’ venom, which does threaten his reign. The Sussexes’ problem is that their financial survival depends on spewing venom against the Royal family in their book and their Netflix series. Charles’ best tactic would be to threaten to remove their titles if they are disloyal’. Pictured: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Some have noted Margrethe’s warmth towards Charles when they met at Buckingham Palace on the eve of the Queen’s funeral (pictured) – and pondered whether slimming down their royal households may even have been discussed. Royal expert Phil Dampier said: ‘The King, who was seen talking to Queen Margrethe at his mother’s funeral, may be encouraged by her to take decisive action over Harry and Meghan. The Sussexes have already been demoted on the royal website.’
‘But Charles will possibly be wary of making too many decisions until he knows the contents of Harry’s book and Netflix program, both of which seem to be moving back in time. The Danish Queen has been decisive – but divisive. Charles will want to learn lessons and do things his way, but he can’t put off decisions forever’.
And it is not just Britain’s royals that will have influenced Margrethe II’s decision. Her neighbor King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (pictured) announced in 2019 that the children of his daughter Princess Madeleine would lose their HRH status – with only the heir to the throne Crown Princess Victoria and her children keeping their titles. The Dutch royal family has also been pared back significantly. King Willem-Alexander’s brother Prince Constantijn, and his wife, Princess Laurentien, both work full time jobs and do not receive constitutional allowances from the crown as European royal families battle to remain popular and relevant.
The queen’s four other grandchildren, born to Crown Prince Frederik, 54, will retain their titles but when they come of age only the future king, Prince Christian, will receive government funding. This decision was made in 2016. In Britain King Charles and his son Prince William, his heir, remain at loggerheads with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, especially over their security while in the UK and also whether their children will be Prince and Princess. Pictured: Queen Margrethe with grandchildren Prince Felix and Prince Nikolaj.
There has still been no announcement on any future titles for Archie and Lilibet. The Prince and Princess of Wales’s new titles have already been updated on the Royal Family’s website – but Archie and Lilibet’s have not. Following the death of their great-grandmother three weeks ago, the youngsters, who are sixth and seventh in line to the throne, are now entitled to be called prince and princess. But Buckingham Palace have refused to confirm yet as to whether this will officially happen. And last week a spokesman for King Charles said it was ‘unlikely’ that any announcement would be made until at least September 26, when the period of royal mourning ends. There has still been no statement. Pictured: Her Late Majesty with King Charles III and consort Camilla (left), and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (right).
Archie, three and Lilibet, one, became eligible for the titles upon the death of the Queen under rules set out by King George V in 1917 limiting the number of royal family members able to claim a HRH title. His Letters Patent -a written order of the monarch’s wishes- restricted royals allowed to use an HRH title to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign’s sons, and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. Pictured: the Duke of Sussex, the Duchess of Sussex and Princess of Wales at Her Late Majesty’s funeral.
King Charles’ ‘slimmed-down’ would mean he could be focusing on his heirs – rather than his disgraced brother the Duke of York Royal (pictured). Experts have said that Charles believes there is no longer a role for Prince Andrew in the monarchy, adding that the Duke of York will not be given any of his military titles again after he was stripped of them following revelations about his ties to Epstein emerged. Buckingham Palace announced in January that the Prince would be stripped of all his military titles and patronages by his late mother the Queen. It is understood King Charles and Prince William were instrumental in influencing the decision.
And in Denmark the turmoil over Queen Margrethe’s decision continues. Prince Nikolai (pictured) said that he is sad, shocked and confused after his grandmother Queen Margrethe stripped him and his siblings of their titles ‘for their own good’ as his mother ‘says there’s no good reason’ for the move. The prince, 23, will no longer be able to use the title His Royal Highness, after he and his three siblings were told by their grandmother the Queen that removing their titles will be ‘good for them in the future’.
It comes as his mother Countess Alexandra’s press secretary questioned why the change could not have waited until their wedding day, when they would ‘lose their titles anyway’. ‘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 (pictured), Prince Joachim’s eldest son, told Danish newspaper Extrablade. ‘I am very confused as to why it has to happen like this,’ he told reporters from outside the Copenhagen apartment where he lives with his girlfriend.
Countess Alexandra (pictured), mother to Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix, 20, is also ‘very sad’ and ‘shocked’ about the decision. ‘She can’t believe why and why now, because there’s no good reason,’ Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen, press secretary to Countess Alexandra told CNN. ‘They would lose their titles anyway when they get married one day. Her sons are young men so maybe they might get married in the near future so why shouldn’t it wait until that day so that the titles would disappear on a happy day?’
On Thursday morning, the Danish royal household hit back after Prince Joachim (pictured) claimed his four children were only given five days’ notice that they would be stripped of their titles by their grandmother Queen Margrethe. The palace said in a statement that there are a ‘lot of emotions’ but that the decision had been a ‘long time coming’ and was designed to ‘future-proof’ the monarchy. . ‘We are all very sad. It’s never fun to see your children being harmed. They are been put in a situation they do not understand,’ he said in an interview with Danish news outlet Ekstra Bladet.
Prince Joachim, who is sixth-in-line to the throne behind his brother and his children, was speaking outside the Danish Embassy in Paris, where he lives with his second wife Marie and their children Henrik and Athena. Nikolai and Felix, who are both models, are the product of his first marriage to Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg. Alexandra, 58, who was married to Prince Joachim for 10 years until 2005, said the news came like a ‘bolt out of the blue’ and her sons now feel ‘ostracized’ from their family. Her spokesperson also claimed Joachim learned the news through a royal aide, rather than from his mother directly. Pictured: Prince Felix, son of Prince Joachim. Pictured: Prince Joachim (right back), Nikolai (left), Felix (second from left), Henrik (far right),Athena (second from right), Queen Margrethe (center) and Princess Isabella (behind Princess Athena).
Margrethe’s other four grandchildren – Prince Christian, 16, Princess Isabella, 15, and 11-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine – born to her eldest son and heir Crown Prince Frederik will maintain their titles. The move has created an ‘icy’ atmosphere within the Royal Family, according to one local media report, and has driven a wedge between a seemingly united family. ‘There has never been a public conflict between the Queen and Prince Joachim,’ Danish royal reporter Kenth Madsen told FEMAIL. Indeed, they put on a united front just weeks ago when they celebrated Queen Margrethe’s Golden Jubilee. Pictured: Front: Queen Margrethe, Middle Row (left to right): Prince Vincent, Princess Josephine, Princess Athena, Prince Henrik. Back row (left to right): Princess Benedikte, Princess Isabella, Crown Princess Mary, Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Christian, Prince Joachim, Princess Marie, Prince Felix and Prince Nikolai.
Queen Margrethe, 82, who attended the funeral with her eldest son Crown Prince Frederick, said she hoped the move would allow her grandchildren to ‘shape their own lives without being limited by the special considerations and duties’ that come with a formal affiliation with the Danish Royal Family. The statement also hinted that it is a move designed to streamline the monarchy. Pictured: The Queen (centre) with sons Joachim (left) and Crown Prince Frederick (right), Crown Prince Frederick’s wife, Crown Princess Mary (right) and son Prince Christian (in his lap) and Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix (left).
Queen Margrethe defended her decision, saying at an event in Copenhagen (pictured): ‘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.’ Under the agreement, Nikolai, Felix, Henrik, and Athena will be known as either His Excellency Count of Monpezat or Her Excellency Countess of Monpezat from January 1, 2023. However they will maintain their positions in the order of succession. They are currently seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth, but would move down if any of Crown Prince Frederick’s children were to have children.
The bombshell announcement was made in a statement released by the Danish Royal Household. It read: ‘In April 2008, Her Majesty the Queen conferred the titles of Count, Countess and Comtesse of Monpezat on her sons, their spouses and their descendants. In May 2016, it was also announced that His Royal Highness Prince Christian, as the only one of the Queen’s grandchildren, is expected to receive an annuity from the state as an adult. As a natural extension of this, Her Majesty has decided that with effect from 1 January 2023, the descendants of His Royal Highness Prince Joachim can only use their titles as Count and Countess of Monpezat, as their previous titles as Prince and Princess of Denmark will lapse. Prince Joachim’s descendants will henceforth have to be addressed as Excellencies’. Pictured: Nikolai with stepmother Princess Marie, siblings, and father Prince Joachim.
‘The Queen’s decision is in line with similar adaptations that other royal houses have implemented in different ways in recent years. With her decision, Her Majesty the Queen wants 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. All four grandchildren maintain their places in the order of succession,’ concluded the statement. Margrethe, who is the world’s longest serving queen and celebrates her Golden Jubilee this year, is affectionately known as ‘aunt Daisy’ by European royals due to her close personal ties with many reigning monarchs. Pictured: Prince Nikolai with Prince Felxi, Prince Henrick, and Princess Athena.
She is a first cousin of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and a second cousin of Norway’s King Harald V. She enjoyed a close relationship with the Queen, a distant cousin, and the Duke of Edinburgh, and shared deeply personal tributes following their deaths. She was joined by her son Crown Prince Frederick at the Queen’s funeral earlier this month. The Queen seemingly enjoys a close relationship with both sons and all eight of her grandchildren, and makes regular appearances with both families. However there is now said to be an ‘ice-cold air’ between the Queen and her grandchildren. Pictured (from left): Prince Nikolai, Princess Marie, Prince Joachim and Prince Felix.
‘There is ice-cold air between Queen Margrethe and her grandchildren after she decided that they will lose their titles as prince and princess from the New Year,’ leading Danish publication Ekstra Bladet reported. ‘The news, which has crushed both the four children and their parents, was not delivered by the queen herself. ‘They have not been called to Amalienborg for a cold coke and an explanation as to why they must henceforth be addressed as counts and countesses. Not even that far.’ Pictured: Princess Marie with Prince Joachim, Prince Felix, Prince Nikolai, Princess Athena and Prince Henrick with Joachim’s first wife’s Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg.
Queen Margrethe has a well-cushioned allowance, with the Danish Civil List granting her £800,813 ($892,269) a month, or £9.6 million ($10m) for the year to run the royal household – including staff, properties and administration, according to Business Insider. Meanwhile, Celebrity Net Worth lists her net worth at around £37million ($41m). Around £183,750 ($204,735) per month is reportedly given to the Queen’s children. Crown Prince Frederik receives the largest amount of this money, of which 10 percent is given to his wife, Princess Mary. Pictured: Princess Laurentien and the King of Holland’s brother Prince Constantijn (right) who have full time jobs and do not receive royal allowances, and King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima (left).
Many of the Danish Royal Family’s properties are owned by the state, and run by the Agency for Palaces and Cultural Properties. This includes the main residence of Amalienborg, their spring home of Fredensborg palace, their summer house of Gråsten Palace and the hunting lodge Eremitageslottet. The Danish Queen’s personal properties include Marselisborg Castle, Château de Caix in France, and the royal hunting lodge in Jutland at Trend.
Prince Joachim lives with his second wife Princess Marie in Paris, where he has been working as a Defense Attaché at the Danish Embassy since September 2020 – but when he returns home to Denmark it is sometimes to the Schackenborg Castle in southern Jutland. The estate was the prince’s private residence from 1993 to 2014, before he sold the property. But since Prince Joachim and Princess Marie are on the board of the Schackenborg Castle Foundation, they occasionally return to live there for short periods of time. In the summer of 2020, Prince Joachim suffered a stroke while holidaying in France with his family and had to be rushed into hospital for emergency brain surgery. Pictured: A general view during the photocall with the Royal Danish family at their summer residence of Grasten Slot.
Prince Joachim’s eldest sons, Felix and Nikolai, are Margrethe’s eldest grandsons and have embraced a life in the public eye. The 20-somethings, who both live in Denmark, both enrolled in the National Military Academy but dropped out before completing their studies. They have enjoyed flourishing careers as models, posing for several advert campaigns and on the cover of magazines. Nikolai caught international attention in 2018 when he walked in the Burberry show at London Fashion week, before a front row that included Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Michelle Dockery, Naomi Watts, Zendaya, and Idris Elba (pictured).
He is signed to Scoop Models agency in Denmark and has been multiplying his modeling gigs. He sent royal fans into a frenzy in February when he graced the cover of Vogue Scandinavia. The 22-year-old oozed sophistication when appearing in the magazine and looked effortlessly stylish in a matching pink Dior jacket and trousers as he posed in front of a number of colorful flowers. When he is not modeling, Nikolai (pictured) is studying Business Administration and Service Management at the In 2019, Prince Nikolai began his B education at Copenhagen Business School. Last year he was living in Paris as part of a school exchange, and could see his younger siblings and his dad more easily. At the end of last year, he started training at the Royal Danish Military Academy to become an Army Lieutenant, but in October it was announced that he’d quit after just two months because it ‘wasn’t for him’.
Prince Felix (pictured) chose to make his modeling debut for jeweler Georg Jensen, appearing in pictures and an advert promoting the new Reflect collection of necklaces, earrings and rings. The royal is further down the line of succession, pursuing his own career path rather than being a ‘working royal’ was expected choice for Felix even before his grandmother’s announcement, and modeling is certainly a popular choice for minor royals across the globe. While they are growing to be their own person, Felix and Nikolai do attend royal events on occasion. They both looked very dapper as they attended the celebrations for their grandmother’s golden jubilee with their parents in early September.
Margrethe tested positive for Covid-19 last Tuesday, just 24 hours after attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and mourning events in London (pictured). She was in attendance at Westminster Abbey along with her son Crown Prince Frederik, and the two went on to the Queen’s Committal Service in Windsor afterward. The royal also paid her respects to the Queen by visiting her coffin in Westminster Hall the night before the Queen’s funeral, and attended the Buckingham Palace ‘reception of the century’ where she was pictured chatting closely with King Charles.
On Monday, the monarch made her first appearance since she tested positive for Covid, joining Queen Sonja of Norway at a literary event in Oslo. Queen Sonja of Norway presented the Nordic Association’s annual language award to Queen Margrethe of Denmark at Nordens Hus before they attended a gala at the Grand Hotel. Margrethe (pictured) wore a vibrant long pink skirt for the gala dinner, which she paired with a navy blue lace top. She pinned her hair tightly back and was pictured with a navy shawl over her shoulders as she arrived at the Grand Hotel.
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