Danish Royals Resume Public Duty At The Opening of Parliament Amidst Chaos in the Household

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attends parliament opening

The old adage, "the show must go on", holds true to the Danish royals amidst a family rift with the Queen's second son. Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, and the Queen's younger sister, Princess Benedikte, accompanied Queen Margrethe II at the State Opening of Parliament. 

The Opening of Parliament in Denmark was held on October 4, 2022, Tuesday, at Christianborg Palace, where the House of Parliament is also located. The four royals were seated on the balcony of the Parliament Hall, with distracted looks as the parliament session began.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attends parliament opening

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attends parliament opening
Crown Princess Mary, Crown Prince Frederik, and Queen Margrethe II show a united front amidst a family rift with her second son, Prince Joachim

Their appearance came a day after the Queen released a statement, saying she underestimated how taking away royal titles from four of her grandchildren would impact them. She also expressed her apology for the "trouble" it caused, however, she firmly stood by her decision.

State Opening of Parliament at Christianborg Palace

The parliament opening was the first public event they attended together following the Queen's controversial announcement that caused rancor within the Royal Household. In previous years, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie often attended the event alongside the Danish royals.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark attends opening of parliament

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark attends opening of parliament
The Queen and Crown Princess Mary

The 82-year-old monarch's announcement of removing titles from her four grandchildren received backlash and intense public reaction with some commenters criticizing her move as insensitive since Prince Nikolai is not yet 25 and the two involved royal children are still minors to be exposed to public debates.

Her son, Prince Joachim, together with his wife, Princess Marie, and his former wife, Countess Alexandra of Frederiksborg, publicly voiced their sadness and shock at the Queen's decision.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attends parliament opening
Crown Princess Mary and Princess Benedikte

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attends parliament opening

Prince Joachim revealed that he was only given short notice that his mother would release an official statement regarding the removal of titles. Adding that it contradicted their original plan where his children would lose their princely titles only when they reach 25 years old.

Currently, none of Prince Joachim's four children reached 25 years old. Prince Nikolai is only 23 this year, Prince Felix is 20, Prince Henrik is 13, and his only daughter, Princess Athena is 10.

Danish royals attend the opening of parliament

Due to criticism, the Queen released another statement on Monday, expressing her apology, but did not retract her decision of stripping her four grandchildren of their princely titles effective January 2023, adding that it has already been planned to streamline the Royal House of Denmark and allow non-working royals to choose their career path and freedom.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark attends opening of parliament
Crown Princess Mary attends Opening of Parliament

On Tuesday, the royals sat in the balcony space within the Parliament Hall and listened to Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen's opening speech. Though they looked to be in good spirits, their facial expressions were obviously tense. 

National newspaper, B.T., noted that Her Majesty avoided questions from the press, and stayed silent when reporters peppered her with questions at the opening of Parliament (known as Folketing) and again when she walked into Christian VII's Palace for another engagement later that day.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
Queen Margrethe II and her sister, Princess Benedikte

B.T. reported that journalists "almost shouted in unison," asking if she had spoken to her youngest son, Prince Joachim, but the Queen did not say anything. The decision continues to attract interest. Even comments on the social media accounts of the Danish royal family are still about sympathy for Prince Joachim's children.

Prince Joachim of Denmark and children
Prince Joachim, his wife, Princess Marie, and his children, attended the Queen's cruise ship lunch weeks before the controversial announcement

Over the weekend, Prince Joachim spoke to reporters saying why his children "must be punished" by removing their identity. He also said that his mother has not spoken to him or to his children following the announcement. 

And none of the Danish royals, especially his older brother, Crown Prince Frederik, has reached out to him to speak on the decision. He also added that his relationship with his mother and brother is now complicated.

"The reality must still be: whether you modernize or slim down, it must be done in a proper way," Prince Joachim told the paper. "It's about children. Orderliness. It is a very heavy matter."

Prince Joachim of Denmark and children
Children of Prince Joachim of Denmark

On January 1, 2023, based on Queen Margrethe II's decision, Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, and Prince Henrik each will carry the title, His Excellency Count (their first name) de Monpezat. While Princess Athena will be known as Her Excellency Countess Athena de Monpezat.

Why the Queen's decision attracted backlash?

The decision attracted criticism from the public partly because the noble title that the Queen bestowed to her grandchildren had no Danish origin. It is solely from the side of her husband, Prince Henrik, who died in February 2018. And was created to "please Prince Henrik" who was open with his disgust that his surname could not be carried by his children and grandchildren. 

The late Prince Henrik's sentiment was the same as Prince Philip's sentiment when he said that he was the only man in the Realm who could not give his name to his children, so Queen Elizabeth II decided to create the surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, in 1960.

Prince Joachim of Denmark
Prince Joachim, Prince Felix, Countess Alexandra, Prince Nikolai

The purpose of creating Count and Countess de Monpezat was merely to recognize Prince Henrik's status as father and grandfather. What made it a little controversial was the fact that the noble title was based on Prince Henrik's family's claim to nobility, which was questionable and considered invalid in France due to the circumstances of how it was assumed by his family.

So Prince Joachim's children will bear the title of such questionable background, invalid, and not recognized in the French nobility, nor in history, and they will live with that controversy as long as they carry the titles.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark
Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary's children will be the only grandchildren of the Queen to carry the princely titles by 2023

The Queen's decision to strip her grandchildren of their princely status was also criticized because it sounded like stripping them of their birthright as grandchildren in the male line of the reigning sovereign.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden also did the same thing in October 2019 but he did not receive intense public reaction because he only stripped the HRH styles from his grandchildren (who are not children of Crown Princess Victoria) and retained their princely status and the dukedom he bestowed on them upon birth.

This family rift in the House of Denmark seems like a complex issue and must be carefully addressed before it will blow out of proportion. Hopefully, everything will be okay with them as the holiday season approaches. 

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