Prince Nikolai of Denmark has said he feels “shocked and confused” after his grandmother, Queen Margrethe, stripped him and his siblings of their royal titles in the hope that they could live a more normal life.
In a statement on Wednesday, the monarch announced that she wanted to free the children of her second son, Prince Joachim, of “duties that a formal affiliation with the Royal House of Denmark as an institution involves”.
Nikolai and his three siblings, Princes Felix, 20, Henrik, 13, and Princess Athena, 10, will no longer be able to use their royal titles, and will instead be known as counts and countess of Monzepat.
The 23-year-old royal told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that the siblings are “very sad” about the change.
“We are, as my parents have also stated, in shock at this decision and at how quickly it has actually gone,” Nikolai said. “I am very confused as to why it has to happen like this.”
Nikolai added that he was only informed of the change “a little over a week ago” but feels more upset now that it has been publicly announced.
“As I said, we were shocked. But it is clear that it hits even harder now that it has been published,” he said.
In her statement, Queen Margarethe said all four siblings will maintain their places in the order of succession.
“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 said.
Nikolai’s comments come after his father, Joachim, told Ekstra Bladet that the children did not understand their grandmother’s decision.
“It’s never fun to see your children being mistreated like that,” Joachim said.
Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, who is the mother of Nikolai and Felix, and the ex-wife of Prince Joachim, has also shared her confusion over the news.
In a statement to CNN, Alexandra’s press secretary, Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen, said the countess “can’t believe why and why now”.
“There’s no good reason. They would lose their titles anyway when they get married one day,” Løvgreen said.
“Her sons are young men so maybe they might get married in the near future so why shouldn’t it wait until that day so that the titles would disappear on a happy day?”