The Danish royal house confirmed on Thursday that Prince Joachim and his Hong Kong-born wife Princess Alexandra are to divorce after nine years of marriage.
Prince Joachim is the younger brother of Crown Prince Frederik, who wed his Australian girlfriend Mary Donaldson in May this year.
Danish public radio announced the news earlier this week following rumours that the pair had been living separate lives. While the palace initially declined to confirm the reports, the news was made official at a press conference in the Yellow Palace at Amalienborg on Thursday.
The couple, who married in November 1995, have two children – five-year-old Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix, who's two.
According to a statement read by royal family chamberlain Ove Ullerup, Queen Margrethe and her husband Prince Henrik "deeply regretted" the couple's decision.
Forty-year-old Alexandra, a former mutual fund manager, met her husband in 1994 in Hong Kong, where the second-in-line to the throne was employed by a Danish shipping company. Following their nuptials the following year, the new princess quickly won the hearts of the Danes with her stylish dress sense and fluent grasp of the Danish language.
Since then the princess, who gave up her British citizenship in favour of that of her new homeland, has earned a reputation as a hard-working royal. She spends much of her time fulfilling royal duties, serving as the patron of nearly two dozen charitable organisations. She is also the president of Unicef Denmark.
Her 35-year-old husband's enthusiasm for soccer, rock concerts and racing vintage cars has, on the other hand, led him to being dubbed a "party prince" in some quarters.
Denmark's monarchy is the oldest in Europe – it was founded in 958 by the Viking king Gorm the Old – and Joachim and Alexandra's divorce will be the first such split in modern times.