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The Danish royal family's most talked about moments: title rows, Prince Frederik's trip to Spain and more

Queen Margrethe will formally abdicate on 14 January

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Prince Joachim of Denmark
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
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Queen Margrethe shocked royal watchers when she announced her abdication in her New Year's address at the start of 2024.

The Danish queen's abdication will be the first in nearly 900 years in Danish history when Crown Prince Frederik is proclaimed King on Sunday 14 January.

But it's not been the only time that the Danish royals have made headlines.

From Margrethe's decision to strip four of her grandchildren of their royal titles to the photographs of Crown Prince Frederik on a private trip to Madrid, here are the Danish royal family's most talked about moments.

Grandchildren stripped of royal titles

Queen Margrethe sparked upset among the family when she stripped four of her grandchildren of their royal titles in a shock announcement in autumn 2022.

It was decided by the queen that Prince Joachim's sons from his first marriage, Nikolai and Felix, as well as his children with Princess Marie, Henrik and Athena, should be stylised as Count and Countess of Monpezat instead of prince or princess.

Joachim publicly expressed his shock, saying: "We are all very sad. It's never fun to see your children being mistreated like that. They find themselves in a situation they do not understand."

Prince Felix, Princess Marie, Prince Joachim, Princess Athena, Prince Henrik and Prince Nikolai arrive for a luncheon on the Dannebrog Royal Yacht in 2022© Getty
Joachim's four children were stripped of their royal titles at the beginning of 2023

In a rare move, Queen Margrethe penned a formal apology explaining her decision.

She wrote at the time: "There have been strong reactions in recent days to my decision to the future use of titles for Prince Joachim's four children. Of course, it affects me. My decision has been long made. With my 50 years on the throne, it's only natural to look back and to look forward.

"It is my duty and desire as Queen to ensure that the Monarchy is forever forming in pact with time. It sometimes requires making difficult decisions, and finding the right time will always be difficult. To wear a royal title entails a number of obligations and tasks, which will in the future restrain fewer members of the royal family.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark waving with her grandchildren on April 16, 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark© Getty
Queen Margrethe with her grandchildren in April 2023

"This adjustment, which I see as a necessary assurance for the future of the Monarchy, I wish to make in my time. I have made my decision as a Queen, mother and grandmother, but as a mother and grandmother I have underestimated how much my youngest son and his family feel.

"This makes a big impression, and I'm sorry for that. No one should doubt that my children, in-laws and grandchildren are my great joy and pride. I hope now we as a family can find peace to get through this situation ourselves."

Crown Prince Frederik's controversial trip to Madrid

In November 2023, Spanish gossip magazine Lecturas published photographs of Frederik with Mexican socialite, Geneveva Casanova, during a private trip to Madrid, which sparked gossip and rumours.

HOLA! reported at the time that a mutual friend that Frederik and Genoveva have in common was unable to accompany the Prince to visit an art exhibition due to illness and he asked Genoveva to go in his place. After viewing the exhibition, the pair had dinner at a restaurant in the city centre.

Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik arrive at museum exhibition© Bernard Rubsamen/dana press/Shutterstock
The photos were published as Frederik and wife Mary hosted the Spanish royals

In a statement to HOLA! Genoveva said: "I categorically deny the statements that suggest a romantic relationship between Prince Frederick and me."

She added: "Any statement of this type not only completely lacks the truth but also misrepresents the facts in a malicious manner. This is already in the hands of my lawyers, who will take care of the pertinent steps to protect my right to honor, truth and privacy."

The images were published by the magazine as the Danish royals hosted King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain for a state visit.

Prince Henrik's complaints over royal title

Queen Margrethe was married to Prince Henrik for over 50 years until his death in 2018. But Henrik repeatedly aired his frustration over not being given the title of King when Margrethe became Queen in 1972.

In 2002, he fled to his chateau in his native France after his eldest son Crown Prince Frederik was appointed host in Margrethe's absence at a New Year's reception.

Prince Henrik and Queen Margrethe in France in 2002© Getty
Prince Henrik and Queen Margrethe pictured at their French chateau in 2002

He told a Danish publication at the time that he felt "pushed aside, degraded and humiliated".

After three weeks in France, he returned to Denmark.

Prince Christian forced to move schools

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary's eldest son, Prince Christian, was pulled out of his boarding school, Herlufscholm in 2022, after a damning documentary alleged a culture of bullying and violence at the institution.

Prince Christian with Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary© Getty
Prince Christian moved schools in 2022

The royal couple shared a statement at the time: "It is heartbreaking to hear about systematic bullying and about the culture of abuse and violence. That is completely unacceptable. As parents, we expect the school to effectively ensure a culture where everyone is safe."

Frederik and Mary made the decision to transfer Christian to Ordrup Gymnasium instead in September 2022.

Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra's divorce

The announcement of Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra's separation and subsequent divorce in September 2004, came just months after the Danish royals celebrated Frederik and Mary's wedding.

Joachim And Alexandra Of Denmark in 2004© Getty
Joachim and Alexandra, pictured in 2004, finalised their divorce in 2005

Their sons Nikolai and Felix were just five and two at the time, and it would mark the first divorce in the Danish royal family in 165 years.

Joachim went on to marry French-born Marie Cavallier in 2008. 

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