Danish Queen’s title removal serves as warning for Harry

Megyn Kelly in stitches over latest Prince Harry interview

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With Spare’s publication just around the corner, many are speculating over what’s to come for Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and the rest of the Royal Family. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III, the titles of some of the senior royals were quick to change — Prince William and his wife Kate became the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Camilla became Queen Consort. William and Kate, Princess of Wales’ three children also saw a change in style, becoming Prince George of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince Louis of Wales. However, notably, the children of the King’s second son maintained their previous titles — Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor. While many expected the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s children to become prince and princess, others suggested that a decision would be made at a later date — whether by the new monarch after the publication of Harry’s book, or by the children themselves when they are old enough. But when a foreign Queen stripped four of her grandchildren of their titles, a royal expert suggested that Charles would “be watching what is happening in Denmark with great interest”. 

In September, Queen Margrethe of Denmark “discontinued” the royal titles for the children of her second son, Prince Joachim. Her grandchildren in this line have instead inherited the title of His or Her Excellency, Count or Countess of Monpezat, rather than the princely titles, affecting 23-year-old Nikolai, Felix, 20, Henrik, 13, and 10-year-old Athena.

The dramatic downgrading became official on Sunday, and the Queen of Denmark has opened up about the “difficulties” and “hurt” she caused in her family. 

Speaking in a televised new year address on Saturday, the Queen said she was saddened by the trouble she had caused, explaining: “That the relationship with Prince Joachim and Princess Marie has run into difficulties hurts me.

“Difficulties and disagreements can arise in any family, including mine. The whole country has witnessed this,” she added. “We have now had a quieter period and time for reflection, and I am sure that our family can embark on the new year together with confidence, understanding and new courage.”

As Jacob Heinel Jensen, a royal correspondent for the Danish tabloid B.T., pointed out, the upset caused by Queen Margrethe’s decision has striking parallels with the tensions within the British Royal Family. He likened the “situation we have in Denmark today” to “what the UK had two years ago”.

He told MailOnline at the time: “Yesterday we had a Prince Joachim going rogue on TV saying how upset he was, how his children are suffering. The parallels between him and Harry are there for all to see.” 

The removal of the four grandchildren’s titles comes amid a public debate over whether Harry and Meghan should lose their titles. A survey by YouGov this weekend found that 44 percent of respondents thought Harry should be stripped of his royal title.

Mr Jensen speculated that King Charles III will be closely watching how Queen Margrethe fares in her overhaul of the Danish royals, particularly given his reported favour for a slimmed-down British monarchy. 

Some reports have claimed Charles may be holding off until he sees the content of Harry’s memoir, which is set for publication on Tuesday, January 10. 

Charlotte Griffiths, the Mail on Sunday’s Editor-at-Large, told Palace Confidential’s host Jo Elvin that the Sussexes’ children’s titles “are dependent” on the Prince’s book. 

“Reportedly, Charles is waiting until the book comes out before he decides whether he gives Archie and Lilibet a title,” she said, adding that there is “a lot riding on” the memoir.

But while some commentators believe the “time has come” for the Sussexes’ titles to be removed, others believe the row is causing “unnecessary confusion”. 

Last month, Nile Gardiner — a foreign policy expert and royal enthusiast — told Express.co.uk: “Harry and Meghan’s documentary series on Netflix is a declaration of war against the Royal Family. They are burning whatever bridges remain with Buckingham Palace. This is an outright attempt at tarnishing the image of the British monarchy. It will result in a furious backlash against Harry and Meghan in the UK.” 

“The time has come for Meghan and Harry to absolutely be stripped of their royal titles. They should not have any royal status,” he added. “They do not represent the British people or monarchy. They are doing their best to trash the reputation of the British monarchy and their titles should be removed as soon as possible.” 

In contrast, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, author of This Is Why I Resist, told Newsweek: “Harry is in the line of succession, and so are his children. So how can he be in the line of succession and not get the titles prince and princess? I think Charles is causing unnecessary confusion.” 

When the title change was first announced, the Danish royal palace said: “Prince Joachim’s descendants will have to be addressed as excellencies in the future. The Queen’s decision is in line with similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years.”

However, the decision was met with dismay from the affected royals, with Prince Joachim saying his children had been “mistreated”, and his wife, Princess Marie, claiming her youngest child had been bullied at school. 

He told B.T. at the time: “The reality must still be whether you modernise or slim down. It must be done in a proper way. It’s about children, orderliness and children. It is a very heavy matter.” 

Meanwhile, Count Nikolai, Joachim’s eldest son, said he was “very bewildered” by the decision, and Marie claimed their relationship with the heir apparent to the throne, Crown Prince Frederik, and his wife, Crown Prince Mary, had become “complicated”.

Australian-born Mary came out in support of her mother-in-law, saying last year: “Change can be difficult. But this does not mean the decision is not the right one.”

Frederik and Mary’s four children have not been affected by the Queen’s decision. 

Amid the fallout, Queen Margrethe was forced to apologise to her own family for removing their titles, releasing a statement less than a week later, saying she was “future-proofing” the royal family, adding that with titles come royal duties, and these will be done by fewer family members.

She said: “Holding a royal title involves a number of commitments and duties that, in the future, will lie with fewer members of the royal family. This adjustment, which I view as a necessary future-proofing of the monarchy, I want to take in my own time.

“I have made my decision as Queen, mother and grandmother, but, as a mother and grandmother, I have underestimated the extent to which much my younger son and his family feel affected. That makes a big impression, and for that I am sorry.

“No one should be in doubt that my children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren are my great joy and pride,” the Queen added. “I now hope that we as a family can find the peace to find our way through this situation.” 

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