Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has stripped four of her eight grandchildren of their titles.
In a statement shared by the royal palace on Wednesday, the monarch revealed that the children of the Queen’s second son, Prince Joachim, will be known as Count and Countess instead of Prince and Princess.
As of 1 January 2023, Prince Nikolai, 23, Prince Felix, 20, Prince Henrik, 13, and Princess Athena, 10, will go by their titles as counts and countess of Monpezat.
The monarch said the decision, which follows similar moves by other royal families in Europe, will allow the children to live more normal lives.
“With her decision, Her Majesty The Queen wishes 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,” the statement read.
All four grandchildren, who are currently seventh through 10th in the line of succession, will maintain their places in order.
Prince Joachim’s eldest son, Prince Nikolai told the Danish newspaper Extrabladet on Thursday that he was shocked by his grandmother’s decision.
The 23-year-old said: “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.”
His father, Prince Joachim, told the paper the family were “all very sad” at his mother’s decision.
“It’s never fun to see your children being mistreated like that. They themselves find themselves in a situation they do not understand,” he said.
The Danish Queen is a distant cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II, and the monarchs were descendants of Queen Victoria and King Christian X of Norway.
The 82-year-old is now Europe’s longest reigning sovereign following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022.
It was announced last week that Margrethe had tested positive for Covid-19 after attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.