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The telling signs that Queen Margrethe's sons Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim aren't in her 'inner circle'

A look at the relationship between the queen and her sons

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and her sons Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Prince Joachim of Denmark
Katie Baxter
Freelance Writer
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There was no more poignant and symbolic way for Queen Margrethe to demonstrate trust in her son, Crown Prince Frederik, than by leaving the throne to him in the wake of her shock abdication announcement.

During her traditional New Year's TV speech, the queen encouraged the Danish public to welcome her son and his wife, Crown Princess Mary, with the same enthusiasm that she was met with over half a century ago when she ascended to the throne. 

She said: "It is my hope that the new King and Queen will be met with the same trust and devotion which have fallen to my lot. They deserve it!"

However, despite this outward display of support and affection, some key moments in recent years (and days!) have sparked speculation that Queen Margrethe's sons are not in fact in her "inner circle". 

We look back at some of these telling moments, examining the implications that they have on the relationship between Queen Margrethe and her sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.

She did not tell them about her abdication until three days beforehand

The abdication of Queen Margrethe came as a shock to all of us — even her sons Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim were no exception. 

A spokesperson from the royal palace confirmed to Danish newspaper Berlingske on Thursday that the queen informed both of her sons about her decision on 28 December — just three days before she announced her abdication to the rest of the world

According to Stefan Walters, BACP registered therapist who specialises in trauma and attachment, this bombshell announcement could indicate that Queen Margrethe's sons are not involved in her decision-making process. 

"It says to me really that she's got to keep a very small inner circle of people that help her make these big decisions and high-profile affairs, and that inner circle probably doesn't even include her children because it may not be appropriate for them to have a voice in those decisions," he told HELLO! 

Queen Margrethe did not tell her sons about her impending abdication until 28 December, three days before she told the rest of the world© Getty
Queen Margrethe did not tell her sons about her impending abdication until 28 December, three days before she told the rest of the world

"It may literally just be her perhaps who makes these massive decisions that are going to impact the country and impact the public interest. So that's a huge pressure and responsibility, isn't it?"

Stefan explained that this is often the case in royal families — for those with a public persona, it makes sense to keep decisions to yourself before sharing them to the people closest to you. 

It is possible that Queen Margrethe withheld her decision before it was finalised to avoid any unnecessary hindrances. 

"Perhaps her worry was that if she gave them more notice, they might have different ideas or they might want to have a voice in the decision," said Stefan. "They might want to try and influence it somehow. Maybe it was deemed not appropriate for them to be part of that process."

She has stripped Joachim's children of their royal titles

Queen Margrethe evoked an emotional reaction from her son, Prince Joachim, when she ruled on 1 January 2022 that his children — Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik and Princess Athena — would have their royal titles removed. From that point onwards, the royal children were to be styled as Count/Countess of Montpezat. 

While the Danish Royal Court asserted that this decision was "in line with similar adaptations that other royal houses have implemented in different ways in recent years", this did little to assuage Prince Joachim's shock.

"We are all very sad," he said, speaking on his mother's decision. "It's never fun to see your children being mistreated like that. They themselves find themselves in a situation they do not understand."

Queen Margrethe of Denmark with her sons Joachim and Frederik in 1975© Getty
Queen Margrethe of Denmark with her sons Joachim and Frederik in 1975

He added that he was given just "five days' notice" before the change came into force. "In May, I was presented with a plan, which basically stated that when the children each turned 25, it would happen. Athena turns 11 in January," he said, apparently still reeling from the decision.

Joachim was then asked by the reporter if the decision had any impact on his relationship with his mother. "I don't think I need to elaborate here," he replied. 

In response to this encounter between the press and Prince Joachim, the Danish Royal Court issued another statement, acknowledging that emotions were running high in the wake of the dramatic news. 

This statement read: "We understand that there are currently many emotions in the game, but we hope that the wishes of the royal family to make the royal house future-proof will be respected."

Prince Joachim will return to Denmark in order to attend the accession of his brother, Crown Prince Frederik. However he will not be joined by his wife, Princess Marie, and their children, who will instead remain in Washington D.C, where Prince Joachim works as a defence industry attaché at the Danish Embassy. 


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