Just a few weeks after Queen Elizabeth II passed away, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe made international headlines for suddenly removing the royal titles from four of her grandchildren. Prince Joachim’s four children all had their royal titles removed and he was super-upset about it, as was his ex-wife and his current wife. He gave several interviews about how hurt he was by his mother’s decision, and he and his wife even indicated that they were basically exiled to France several years ago, pushed out of the royal court, and it was not their decision. Joachim also seemed to suggest that there was a deeper estrangement not only with his mother, but with his brother Frederik, the crown prince. A short time later, Queen Margrethe offered a stunning public apology to Joachim and his children, but she did not reverse her decision. Still, the apology seemed to work, as did a sort of informal summit between mother and son. It’s been pretty quiet in the “trashy” House of Glücksburg ever since.

Well, Vanity Fair did an in-depth article about the history of Queen Margrethe’s reign, her f–ked up marriage and her relationships with her two sons. You can read the full piece here, there’s tons of gossip about her marriage, but I wanted to excerpt some stuff about her relationships with Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim. Some highlights:

Margrethe favoritism towards Frederik: With her husband gone, Queen Margrethe II has been increasingly focused on securing the monarchy in Denmark and the smooth accession of her son Crown Prince Frederik and his wife, Princess Mary, an affable, photogenic duo with four children, known to the public as the “bicycling royals.” Meanwhile, her second son, Prince Joachim, has become less of an asset as a public figure. “She has seen how enormously popular her oldest son and his family have become, whereas Joachim has had a more volatile relationship with the Danish public,” Villemann says. Royal reporter Kenth Madsen told the Daily Mail last month that he had been informed by palace sources that Prince Joachim has “felt humiliated and ignored for a long time.”

Frederik & Joachim used to be close: “The brothers were each other’s best friends,” Villeman says. They also appeared to be well-matched. Queen Margrethe seemed assured that Joachim would be an ideal spare to help the heir. “Joachim’s nature makes him very good at being a younger brother, he simply can’t bear a grudge,” she said in Queen in Denmark, adding, “He has always backed up his elder brother. Frederik can be quite introspective, and…very impatient with himself—Joachim could always mediate between Frederik and whatever was bothering him.”

Why did the brothers grow apart? “Joachim was described by his mother as the perfect number two, because of how well he coped with knowing that Frederik was going to be king and he was the spare,” says Villeman. But the dynamics changed when the brothers married, especially when Frederik married the Tasmanian-born Mary Donaldson, and the brothers grew apart.” Things came to a head in 2019, when Joachim and his second wife, Princess Marie, moved temporarily to Paris with their children so he could participate in a military training program. However, he has yet to return and is now an attaché to the Danish Embassy. In an extraordinary July 2020 interview with Se og Hør, Princess Marie made it clear she was not happy with the move, saying it had not been their choice. “It is not always us who decide,” she said, and declined to explain further. “I think that’s important to know.”

Frederik wasn’t always his mother’s favorite: While this decision [to strip royal titles] may seem to point to personal favoritism on the queen’s part, Villemann does not believe this is the case. “Frederik certainly was not the queen’s favorite growing up. She never understood his sensitive nature and the fact that he quite openly resented his fate. He wanted to be anything but king,” she says. “But old age is beginning to catch up with her and she wants to put her house in order. If that means sidelining Joachim and his family, then so be it. As the queen and the head of state, she sees her main duty now as securing the dynastic future of her family.”

Denmark isn’t big enough for two princes: “Denmark is a small country and not big enough for the two brothers and their—by Danish standards—large families. There simply aren’t enough royal duties for so many full-time royals,” Villemann says. “In 2016 the royal palace announced that only Crown Prince Frederik’s oldest child, Prince Christian, is expected to receive public funding. The key word here is expected. I am told that the palace is pursuing a plan whereby Frederik’s second-oldest child, Princess Isabella, also gets public money, and that removing the titles from Joachim’s children is part of that plan because the palace can argue that the monarchy is slimming down. The irony here is that none of Joachim’s children were ever expected to receive public funding, and their titles would have disappeared if and when they marry a commoner.”

[From Vanity Fair]

Well, this piece has me disliking Frederik a bit? I never really formed an opinion about him other than my vibe that he seemed easy-going. But it sounds like Frederik is all “woe is me, heavy lies the head that wears the crown” all while encouraging his mother to make these machinations to exile Joachim. It’s sort of an open question, from what I can see, as to just why Joachim and Marie have been exiled to France for three-plus years and who ordered what. Marie and Joachim say it wasn’t their call. Was it solely Queen Margrethe’s call? Or did Frederik have a say in the matter too? I wonder what else Margrethe has in store for “putting her house in order” too, because it feels like there are shoes left to drop.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, Cover Images.

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