Princess Mary embroiled in nasty Danish royal family feud

A new royal feud is brewing, but it doesn’t involve Prince Harry, Meghan Markle or any members of the British royal family.

Rather, the Danish royal family became the subject of international attention this week over a controversial decision made by reigning monarch Queen Margrethe, 82.

Queen Margrethe, the longest-reigning European ruler, last week announced she would be stripping four of her grandchildren of their royal titles.

The four children of Margrethe’s youngest son, Prince Joachim, will no longer be allowed to use their prince and princess titles as of January 1.

Prince Joachim shares Nikolai, 23, and Felix, 20, with his first wife, Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, and Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10, with his second wife, Princess Marie of Denmark.

All four of his children will maintain their place in the order of succession. However, they will only be able to use their titles as counts and countess of Monpezat from New Year’s Day onwards.

The Queen, however, did not announce any changes for the four children of Prince Frederik and Australian-born Princess Mary.

A statement from the palace said the Queen wished for Prince Joachim’s children to “shape their own lives” without the limitations of royal responsibilities.

She told reporters that she thought the decision would “be good for them in their future”.

It appears, however, that this decision was made without consulting Prince Joachim or Princess Marie, who have expressed their fury to the media.

Prince Joachim said his children were being “mistreated” by their grandmother, and that he was completely blindsided by the move.

“To tell my children that on New Year’s Day their identity will be taken from them. I am very, very sorry to see them uncomprehending about what is happening over their heads,” he told news outlet B.T.

“I can say that my children are upset. My kids don’t know which leg to stand on.

“What they should believe? Why should their identity be removed? Why must they be punished in that way?”

Princess Mary

Prince Joachim, Princess Marie and their children attended celebrations for Queen Margrethe’s 50 years on the throne in September. Photo: Getty

The prince’s first wife and mother of his two eldest children said she was “saddened” by the news.

“This comes like a bolt from the blue. The children feel ostracised. They cannot understand why their identity is being taken away from them,” Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, told Se og Hør.

Prince Nikolai, who works as a fashion model, told media that he was shocked and saddened by the decision.

Mary speaks out

Prince Frederik and Princess Mary’s four children, Christian, 16, Isabella, 15, and twins Josephine and Vincent, 11, will retain their titles.

Princess Mary has come out to defend the Queen’s decision – potentially putting herself in the firing line of her outraged in-laws.

She addressed reporters shortly after news of the Queen’s decision broke, telling Ekstra Bladet that “change can be extremely difficult and can really hurt”.

“I think most people have tried it. But this does not mean that the decision is not the right one,” she said.

“And I can understand that it is a very difficult decision to have to make, and also a very difficult decision to receive.”

Princess Mary said the time may eventually come for the royal family to further re-examine titles – including those of her own children.

“We will also look at our children’s titles when the time comes,” she said.

“Today we cannot see what the royal house will look like when it is Christian’s time, or when Christian’s time begins to approach.”

Princess Mary

Prince Frederik and Princess Mary’s four children are exempt from Queen Margrethe’s bombshell decision. Photo: Getty

Mary’s statement may drive a sizeable wedge between the brothers and their wives, who have shown a united front at royal events over the years.

Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, who reside in Paris, wasted no time following Princess Mary’s statement to tell the media that the two couples have a “complicated” relationship.

Prince Joachim directly addressed Princess Mary’s comments – saying while she and Prince Frederik would have ample preparation time, that was a luxury they were not afforded.

“I don’t know how they feel if they have to think it through. Now is preparation time. We didn’t have that,” he said.

The couple said they or their children had “unfortunately not” spoken to the Queen since, and that Princess Athena had even been bullied at school over the decision.


Following the back and forth between the royal family members in the media, Queen Margrethe released a follow-up statement on Monday (Danish time).

Although she said she was “sorry” for her family’s reaction to the news, she said she would not be changing her mind.

“I have made my decision as Queen, mother and grandmother, but, as a mother and grandmother, I have underestimated the extent to which my younger son and his family feel affected,” she said.

“That makes a big impression, and for that I am sorry.”

The Queen explained that she viewed the move as a necessary move in “future-proofing” the monarchy.

She hoped her family could move forward together and find “peace”.

“No one should be in doubt that my children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren are my great joy and pride. I now hope that we as a family can find the peace to find our way through this situation.”

Topics: Denmark
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