From the New Year only countess and counts, from left to right: Prince Felix next to his stepmother Marie and his father Joachim.
To the right of the couple: Princess Athena, and Princes Henrik and Nikolai.
The couple themselves retain the titles of princess and prince.
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / dpa
The Danish Queen Margrethe II announced that four of her granddaughters and grandchildren would be deprived of the title of prince or princess.
This was announced by the Danish royal family on Wednesday.
The monarch has decided that the children of her younger son Joachim should only bear the titles of Count or Countess of Monpezat from January 1, 2023, it said.
Affected are two sons from Prince Joachim's first marriage to Countess Alexandra and a son and a daughter with his current wife, Princess Marie.
In the affected branch of the family, there is now a feeling of exclusion.
Prince Joachim told the tabloid »BT« angrily about his mother's decision.
“This was announced to me five days in advance.
To tell my children that in the new year they will be stripped of their identities.
I'm very, very sad when I see them getting upset and not understanding what's happening over their heads," he is quoted as saying.
According to media reports, this contradicts the statements of a spokeswoman for the royal family: Prince Joachim has known since May that his children's titles are to be revoked.
Prince Joachim told »BT« that he had been presented with a plan for such a change - which he said should only come into force when the children are 25 years old.
"Athena will be eleven in January," he said.
Before the prince, his ex-wife, Countess Alexandra, had already commented on "BT": "We are all confused about the decision," she said.
“We are sad and shocked.
It comes like a bolt from the blue.” She also spoke on behalf of the prince and princess, it said.
“The children feel left out.
They cannot understand why their identities are being taken away from them.«
Observers consider it unusual for the dispute to escalate publicly.
Countess Alexandra, who has already lost her royal title through remarriage, has always held back and made arrangements with the royal family, said BT's royal house expert, Jacob Heinel Jensen.
“It gives the impression that the royal family is no longer united.
At the moment there are two units.
This is the opposite of what the royal family should be.
They should unite the population,” said Jensen.
It may be a "very targeted attack on Prince Joachim's family".
Meanwhile, Queen Margrethe defended the decision.
She had long thought about depriving Prince Joachim's children of the title of prince and princess, she said, according to "Danmarks Radio" on the way to an event at the National Museum on Wednesday evening.
"Those are considerations I've had for a long time, and I think it's good for her."
The royal family had previously presented the decision as a normal development - as early as 2016 it was decided that only the queen's first-born grandson, Prince Christian, should receive a grant from the state as an adult.
Christian is the eldest son of her first-born son, Crown Prince Frederik.
The statement from the royal family said the queen wanted to give the four grandchildren more freedom.
They are freer to organize their own lives "without being constrained by the special considerations and obligations that formal membership of the royal family as an institution entails".
The affected family branch with the sons Nikolai, 23, and Felix, 24, from the first marriage as well as Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10, apparently did not want this freedom.
Perhaps the decision has more to do with the fact that the Danish monarchy also wants to organize itself in a leaner way.
The royal house refers to "similar adjustments" of other royal houses.
In fact, the Swedish has gone a step further.
The historian and nobility expert Lars Hovbakke told »Danmarks Radio«: »There Princess Madeleine and her entire family were stripped of their status as part of the royal family.
Denmark is not that far yet.«
After all, all grandchildren should keep their place in the line of succession.