Denmark’s Queen Margrethe has shaken up the royal family of the country as she announced on Thursday that she was stripping the titles of her second son Prince Joachim’s children in an effort to slim down the monarchy, receiving condemnation from her son’s family.

The monarch, now 82 years old, announced the title change for Joachim’s four children, with ages ranging from 23 to 10 years old, as a way for them to live normal lives away from the spotlight of the monarchy, according to CNN.

“With her decision, Her Majesty The Queen wishes to create the framework for the four grandchildren to be able to shape their own lives to a much greater extent without being limited by the special considerations and duties that a formal affiliation with the Royal House of Denmark as an institution involves,” the announcement said.

The children will keep their places in the order of succession despite the title change. Joachim’s brother, the Crown Prince Frederik, is second in line to the throne, and his four children will be keeping their titles, the Daily Beast reported.

Prince Joachim, his ex-wife Alexandra, countess of Frederiksborg, and Joachim’s current wife Princess Marie have all reacted negatively to the announcement of the title change, with Joachim reportedly being told only five days ago about it.

“To tell my children that on New Year’s their identity will be taken from them. I am very, very sorry to see them uncomprehending about what is happening over their heads,” he said. “I can say that my children are upset. My kids don’t know which leg to stand on. What they should believe. Why should their identity be removed? Why must they be punished in that way?”

“She can’t believe why and why now, because there’s no good reason. They would lose their titles anyway when they get married one day. Her sons are young men so maybe they might get married in the near future so why shouldn’t it wait until that day so that the titles would disappear on a happy day?” Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen, the press secretary of the Countess, said.

“It’s just their loss of identity and it’s very hard for little children and young men. As Prince Nikolai said to me, ‘what will they write in my passport now?’”

The Danish royal family has been involved in similar title controversies in the past: the Danish Queen’s husband, Prince Henrik, reportedly refused to be buried in a plot intended for his wife at Roskilde Cathedral because he was given the title of prince consort instead of king consort when they were married.

The Queen of Denmark stripped her grandchildren by her second son Prince Joachim of their royal titles on Thursday, eliciting negative reactions from her son and his family. WPA Pool/Getty Images.

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