Queen Margrethe strips four of their titles

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Queen Margrethe strips four of their titles

The palace announced that Denmark s Queen Margrethe, Europe's only reigning queen and the continent's longest serving monarch, has stripped four of her eight grandchildren of their titles.

The palace said the official reason was to allow the four children of her youngest son, Prince Joachim, to live more normal lives, and follows similar moves by other royal families in Europe to slim down their monarchies.

As of January, descendants of His Royal Highness Prince Joachim will only be able to use their titles of Count and Countess of Monpezat, their previous titles of Prince and Princess of Denmark will cease to exist, a statement from the royal palace said on Wednesday.

Prince Joachim, 53, has four children from two marriages: Nikolai, Felix, Henrik and Athena, which range in age from 23 to 10 years old.

With her decision, Her Majesty the Queen wants to create a framework for the four grandchildren to be able to shape their own existence without being limited by the special considerations and obligations that a formal affiliation with the Royal House implies, the palace said.

The queen's decision is in line with similar changes that other royal houses have carried out in different ways in recent years, according to the statement.

The mother of Prince Joachim's two eldest sons told Danish media she was shocked by the decision.

This came from out of the blue. The children feel excluded, Countess Alexandra told the daily BT. They can't understand why their identity is being taken from them. The queen's four other grandchildren, born to Crown Prince Frederik, 54, will retain their titles but when they come of age only the future king, Prince Christian, will receive an appanage, a decision taken in 2016.