The Danish Royal Family put on a show of unity on Saturday as they attended a reception at Copenhagen City Hall to celebrate Queen Margrethe II’s 50th year on the throne. This was the first time the sovereign, her firstborn and heir Crown Prince Frederik, his wife Crown Princess Mary, his younger brother Prince Joachim and his sister-in-law Princess Marie made a public appearance together since the monarch announced she was stripping four of her grandchildren of their royal titles.
While the announcement prompted Joachim and other close relatives to publicly voice their shock and pain just a few weeks ago, the senior Danish royals appeared to suggest progress has been made during their weekend appearance.
Upon their separate arrivals to the City Hall and while posing for pictures, the royals smiled widely to photographers and well-wishers.
Danish publication BT reported that none of the royals made any comment to the press in attendance regarding the recent drama that swept through their family.
In September, the Danish Royal Court said the Queen had decided to remove from Prince Joachim’s four children – Prince Nikolai, 23, Prince Felix, 20, Prince Henrik, 13, and Princess Athena, 10 – their HRH and prince and princess titles, a decision to be enforced from January 1.
From that date, the young royals will be known as His Excellency Count of Monpezat or Her Excellency Countess of Monpezat rather than HRH Prince or Princess.
The move, the Royal Court said in its first statement about the issue, aims at creating “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” and is “in line with similar adaptations” made by other royal houses.
In the chaotic days that followed, Prince Joachim, his first wife Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, Princess Marie and Prince Nikolai expressed to the press how shocked and saddened they had been left by this decision.
Joachim claimed to BT his children were being “punished” and their identity “removed”, adding he was only given a five-day notice before the move was made public, despite in May he had been presented with a different plan proposing his children’s titles to removed after turning 25.
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However, the Royal Court said the decision “has been a long time coming” in response.
Prince Nikolai, who made a name for himself as a fashion model, expressed his family’s shock to Ekstra Bladet: “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. I am very confused as to why it has to happen like this.”
Elsewhere, Marie also claimed to BT her daughter Athena was being mocked at school as a consequence of the decision, saying: “They come and say (to Athena): ‘Is it you who is no longer a princess?'”
Crown Princess Mary acknowledged change can be “extremely difficult and can really hurt” but added it “does not mean that the decision is not the right one”.
She also argued that, while her firstborn Prince Christian will one day be King of Denmark, it may come a time when there will be a review also of the titles of her younger sons and daughters.
Amid this turmoil, Queen Margrethe issued a statement in which she said to be sorry as she “underestimated how much my youngest son and his family feel affected” by her decision.
However, the 82-year-old monarch stood by her move, saying she sees it as a “necessary safeguard” for the future of the institution and she wanted to make it “in my time”.
The ice between the Queen and her younger son’s family seemingly started to thaw in early October, when Prince Joachim travelled from France, where he is based, to Fredensborg Castle for a private meeting with his mother.
Lene Balleby, head of communications for the Royal Court, told BT at the time: “Yes, it is correct that the Queen and Prince Joachim have spoken together at Fredensborg. Everyone agrees to look forward, and as the Queen herself has expressed, she and Prince Joachim want calm to find their way through this situation.”