From third-in-line to minor royal: Nikolai and his siblings don’t count for much anymore
When Prince Nikolai, the eldest son of Prince Joachim, was born in August 1999, it was big news in Denmark. After all, he was third in line to the throne — in tennis terms, he was Andy Roddick.
Today the public struggle to remember his name. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray (Christian, Isabella, Josefine and Vincent) have relegated him to number six in the rankings.
And now his relegation is complete, as he and his three siblings have lost their HRH status and will no longer be princes and princesses.
The dreams of a grand slam are up in the smoke emanating from their pragmatic grandmother’s 20 a day habit.
No longer count for much
Royal experts contend that Queen Margrethe is seeking to consolidate the Royal Family ahead of public criticism of there being too many princes and princesses.
The decision means that Nikolai, his brother Felix, and his half-siblings Henrik and Athena will in the future be counts and countesses and addressed with the title ‘your excellence’. Prior to the change, all four had been addressed as ‘your highness’ from birth.
However, it is not a financial decision. The children of Joachim were never destined for the civil list — the select number of royals who receive ‘apanage’ from the public purse. Of the queen’s eight grandchildren, only Prince Christian is on the list.
Mother is shocked
Prince Joachim’s first wife, Countess Alexandra, the mother of Nikolai and Felix, is said to be shocked by the decision. Joachim, their father, was apparently informed of the decision in May.
Hellevon Wildenrath Løvgreen, a spokesperson for the countess, told DR that the children and Alexandra are “incredibly upset and shocked” as the decision has come “like lightning from a clear sky”.
“It is the children’s identity, and you as parents are influenced by it,” she continued. “They have taken their titles incredibly seriously and responsibly. They were both as princes and princesses, so it makes them feel vulnerable that it is taken away from them.”
Royal expert Jakob Steen Olsen is surprised the Countess Alexandra has authorised the criticism.
“It is unusual,” he told Berlingske. “In royal circles, key decisions made by Queen Margrethe are not normally discussed.”
Royal expert offers a theory, but can’t explain everything
However, Olsen does sympathise, reasoning that the young royals do not cost the Danish tax payer anything.
A Royal Family press release refers to other royal houses setting a precedent, but Olsen cannot think who it is referring to. For example, the case of Prince Harry’s children not being HRHs in the UK is not comparable.
He concludes that it is all about consolidation: “It is the queen’s attempt to trim the tree so that it continues to grow. You clean up a bit. You deal with future criticism ahead of time: for example, if the Danes were to suddenly think there were far too many going around calling themselves princes and princesses.”