Queen Margrethe of Denmark announced her shock abdication after 52 years on the throne. The sudden announcement was made on live TV during the 83-year-old queen’s annual New Year’s Eve speech.
But the monarch is no stranger to surprise announcements as in September 2022 the Dane monarch removed the royal titles from the children of her second son Prince Joachim.
She took away titles from Nikolai, 24, Felix, 21, Henrik, 14, and Athena, 11, who can no longer be called prince and princess or His/Her Highness.
Now they are now Counts and Countess and referred to as Their Excellencies. In the months that followed Prince Joachim told local news outlet B.T. that “communication was missing” and that his children were “hurt” by the decision.
He said: “There is a lot to work on. Communication was what was missing. Now we have met and we are on the right track.”
The royal said that he was given just five days notice to tell his children prior to the news being released to the world. He told Danish publication Ekstra Bladet: “I was given five days’ notice to tell them.
“In May, I was presented with a plan which, by and large, was that when the children each turned 25, it would happen. Now I had only five days to tell them.”
His ex-wife Alexandra said the decision was a “bolt out of the blue” and her sons Nikolai and Felix felt “ostracised”. Speaking in her address to the nation last year she highlighted issues within the family.
She said: “Difficulties and disagreements can arise in any family, including mine. The whole country has witnessed this.”
Queen Margrethe said she’d made the decision to strip their titles to spare her other son and future monarch Prince Frederik needing to make it.
She told Dutch media: “It’s been important to me that this should never be Frederik’s lot to make that kind of decision. It’s better that I did. Because then it’s the old lady that made the decision. I am not keen to get into it to be honest.
“I could mention some things, but you shouldn’t have to tell everything. But it is still a little bit too private to talk about.”
Queen Margrethe was proclaimed queen on January 15, 1972, a day after her father, King Frederik IX, died following a short illness.
In February she underwent a successful back surgery and she said that it had given her pause for thoughts about whether to step down as Queen.
She said: “I have decided that now is the right time. On January 14, 2024, 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father, I will step down as Queen of Denmark.
“I leave the throne to my son, Crown Prince Frederik.”