Prince and Princess of Denmark to leave for US after title upset

Prince Joachim of Denmark opens medical centre in 2019

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​​The Denmark Palace announced on Friday that Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark, and their two children will move to the US later this year. Claims of their move first surfaced in November, but last month, Princess Marie seemed to indicate they weren’t true, telling Paris Match Magazine that “nothing has been confirmed, nothing has been announced, so [the rumours] don’t come from us”. Now, it has been confirmed that Joachim, Marie and their children — 11-year-old Countess Athena of Denmark and 13-year-old Henrik, Count of Monpeza — will relocate to Washington this summer.

The news comes after months of unrest within the Danish royal family, with bubbling tensions as a result of fallouts, jealousy and a major title cull. Now, details how a feud has impelled another European couple to give up royal life in favour of new beginnings stateside.

From January 2023, the children of the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark’s youngest son were no longer called prince or princess but instead, count or countess of Monpezat — the birth title of her late husband, French-born Prince Henrik.

The Queen had announced the decision months earlier and caused major upset among her relatives, namely Joachim, Marie and Count Nikolai of Monpezat, 23, one of Joachim’s sons from his first marriage.

However, while Margrethe later apologised for distressing members of her family, she refused to change her mind.

A statement from the palace read: “In recent days, there have been strong reactions to my decision about the future use of titles for Prince Joachim’s four children. That affects me, of course. My decision has been a long time coming. With my 50 years on the throne, it is natural both to look back and to look ahead. It is my duty and my desire as Queen to ensure that the monarchy always shapes itself in keeping with the times. Sometimes, this means that difficult decisions must be made, and it will always be difficult to find the right moment.”

But Marie made it clear that the decision had caused great upset within her family.

In October, she told B.T. her children had been thrust into the spotlight as a result of the shock announcement, saying: “They come and say [to Athena]: ‘Is it you who is no longer a princess?’ The children were publicly exhibited. At very short notice. This means that we, as parents, have not had time to prepare them for the change and people’s reactions.”

The Princess went on to acknowledge that her and Joachim’s relations were strained with Crown Prince Frederik and his wife Crown Princess Mary, whose children’s titles were not affected by the cull.

Marie also claimed that her daughter Athena had been “bullied at school” following the announcement.

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She told a Danish tabloid “there’s nothing modern about hurting children’s feelings”; while her husband insisted such changes should “be done in a decent way”.

Meanwhile, Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, Joachim’s first wife and mother of Nikolai and his brother Count Felix of Monpezat, 20, told Tatler via a spokesperson in February that her two sons “can’t start living private lives now – it’s too late”.

Joachim and Marie currently live in Paris with their two children, while Nikolai and Felix are understood to reside in Copenhagen in their own homes.

It is therefore likely that Joachim’s two eldest sons will not fully move to the US, but may spend time in Washington visiting their father and half-siblings.

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Undoubtedly, Joachim’s decision will spark comparisons with another royal second son, Prince Harry, who also chose to forge a life with his family in the US, away from his former role within the British monarchy.

The Danish Prince previously commented on Harry and his wife Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, describing it as a “brave” move.

Joachim will begin a new position under the Ministry of Defence as a defence industry attaché at the Embassy of Denmark in Washington.

An announcement on the official Kongehuset website, also posted on social media, emphasised an ongoing role for Joachim within the Royal Household, and his function as an official representative for his country overseas.

It revealed: “On 1 September 2023, His Royal Highness Prince Joachim begins a new position under the Ministry of Defence as defence industry attaché at the Embassy of Denmark in Washington, D.C., where The Prince, as Denmark’s representative, will take part in strengthening the defence industrial cooperation with the USA and Canada in the coming years.

“Four years ago, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, together with the couple’s two children, moved to France.

“The reason was that Prince Joachim began France’s highest-ranking military education course as a supplement to The Prince’s longtime engagement in The Defence.

“After the education concluded, both The Prince and The Princess were affiliated with the Embassy of Denmark in Paris as defence attaché and Special Cultural Representative, respectively. Prince Joachim and the family will move to Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2023.”

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