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4 grandchildren of Danish Queen Margrethe II to lose prince, princess titles

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Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attends a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in the Normandy in 2014. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c26eed7a7ba9ca05b2374a82ebc45cb6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attends a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in the Normandy in 2014. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The royal family of Denmark has announced that four grandchildren of Queen Margrethe II will be stripped of their prince and princess titles.

As of next year, Princess Athena, 10, and Princes Henrik, 13, Nikolai, 23, and Felix, 20, who are the children of the queen's second son Prince Joachim, will retain their titles as counts and countess.

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According to a statement released Wednesday by the royal family, Margrethe, 82, made the decision, effective next Jan. 1, prompted by her desire 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."

Countess Alexandra, Joachim's ex-wife and mother of Nikolai and Felix, expressed dismay at the decision in a statement through a representative: "We are saddened and in shock."

The statement from the royal family referred to "similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years" and emphasizes that "all four grandchildren maintain their place in the order of succession."

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Margrethe's eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, is heir to the throne. His four children will keep their prince and princess titles.

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