Copenhagen: Denmark´s Queen Margrethe said Saturday she was saddened by a rift that has emerged in the royal family following her decision to strip four of her grandchildren of their titles.
The 82-year-old monarch announced in September that the four children of her youngest son, 53-year-old Prince Joachim, would no longer be able to use the title of prince and princess after January 1.
She has said the decision was intended to allow Nikolai, 23, Felix, 20 -- born from Joachim´s first marriage -- and Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10, to live normal lives without royal obligations.
But the decision sparked unprecedented royal drama in Copenhagen, with an enraged Prince Joachim seeing it as a snub.
Speaking in a televised New Year´s address on Saturday, the Queen said: "That the relationship with Prince Joachim and (his wife) Princess Marie has run into difficulties hurts me".
"Difficulties and disagreements can arise in any family, including mine. The whole country has witnessed this", she said.
She added that she was "sure that the family can enter the new year together with confidence, understanding and new courage".
After the queen´s announcement in September, Joachim´s first wife Alexandra told tabloid B.T. she was "shocked", while her eldest son Nikolai told media he was "very bewildered".
Meanwhile Joachim´s wife Princess Marie said the couple´s relationship with Crown Prince Frederik -- heir apparent to the throne -- and his Australian-born wife Mary was "complicated".
The outpourings have sparked surprise in the Scandinavian country, coming just days after the hugely popular royal family had celebrated the queen´s 50th anniversary on the throne with pomp and smiles.
The queen´s move followed a trend among other European royal families to slim down their monarchies, including in Sweden and in Britain. (AFP)
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