Crown Princess Mary of Denmark is sharing her thoughts on Queen Margrethe's decision to strip four grandchildren of their current royal titles — and revealed that her own children may not keep their titles forever.
On Wednesday, the Danish royal palace announced that the children of Prince Joachim, Queen Margrethe's second son, will no longer have their prince/princess or "His/Her Highness" titles starting on Jan. 1, 2023. Nikolai, 23, Felix, 20, Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10, will instead be known by His Excellency Count of Monpezat or Her Excellency Countess of Monpezat. They will maintain their places in the order of succession to the throne, currently seventh through to the tenth.
The Queen's decision does not change the titles for the four children of Crown Prince Frederik, who is heir to the throne, and Crown Princess Mary. Prince Christian, 16, Princess Isabella, 15, and 11-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine will both continue to be part of the royal house.
Princess Mary spoke out about the news affecting her niece and nephews on Friday when she attended the opening of the 6th International Youth Conference "Re-imagine Youth Mental Health."
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
"I can understand that it is a difficult decision to make and a very difficult decision to receive," Princess Mary told reporters, according to Hello! magazine. "Change can be difficult and can really hurt. But this does not mean that the decision is not the right one."
While Frederik and Mary's son Prince Christian is second in line to the throne behind his father, their other children may not keep their royal titles forever.
"We will also look at our children's titles when the time comes," Crown Princess Mary, 50, said. "Today we do not know what the royal house will look like in Christian's time, or when Christian's time begins to approach."
Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Prince Vincent, Crown Prince Frederik, Princess Isabella, Queen Margrethe, Prince Christian, Princess Josephine and Crown Princess Mary
Although Queen Margrethe said she had been considering the change for some time and believes "it will be good for them in their future," Prince Joachim and other members of the family said they are saddened and surprised by the news. Speaking to a Danish media outlet, Joachim said he was given "five days' notice" of the title change for his four children.
"We are all very sad. It's never fun to see your children being mistreated like that," he told Ekstra Bladet. "They find themselves in a situation they do not understand."
Nikolai and Felix are the sons of Prince Joachim and his first wife, Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg. Prince Joachim got remarried to Princess Marie in 2008, and they later welcomed Henrik and Athena.
Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Queen Margrethe with Prince Joachim and his family
"My whole family and I are, of course, very sad," he said. "We are, as my parents have also stated, in shock at this decision and at how quickly it has actually gone."
Nikolai added, "I am very confused as to why it has to happen like this."
Nikolai, who is a model and has walked the runway for brands like Dior, said he was only informed of the decision a few days before the news went public.
"I haven't counted the days, but it can't be longer than a little over a week ago," he said.
Jacopo Raule/Getty Prince Nikolai
The Danish palace also noted that "the Queen's decision is in line with similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years."
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf announced in October 2019 that the children of his younger two children Princess Madeleine (who is married to Chris O'Neill) and Prince Carl Philip (who is married to Princess Sofia) would no longer be official members of the royal house. They retained their titles of prince or princess, but the titles became personal meaning any future spouses or children will not have a right to them.