King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is addressing his controversial decision earlier this year to strip five of his grandchildren of their official HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles.
On Wednesday, the King gave his annual Christmas speech, telling the people of Sweden: “For most people in our country, Christmas is a special holiday, surrounded by traditions. No matter what your Christmas weekend looks like or where you spend it, I hope it gives you time for reflection.”
The monarch went on to speak of the challenges in Sweden and around the world and gave a special mention to those who work on Christmas Day in the armed forces, elderly care, and public transport.
He ended his speech on a personal note, explaining his decision to streamline the Swedish royal family. The children of Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill, and Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, are no longer official members of the royal house as of October.
“Earlier this year I made a decision to define what is called the royal house. The decision was to make clear who within the royal family will act as official representatives of Sweden in the future. For me, this is a way of clarifying what expectations are,” he said.
“It will hopefully be helpful when my grandchildren eventually carve out their own future. But, to that day, it is far away.”
The royal went on to say that he and his wife, Queen Silvia, were off to spend the rest of the day with their family.
“Now the Queen and I are looking forward to spending time with the family. We now have seven small grandchildren between one and seven years. It is not always so peaceful and quiet, but very funny!” he said.
Despite losing their title of Royal Highness, Madeleine’s three children — Princess Leonore, 5, Prince Nicolas, 4, Princess Adrienne, 1 – and Carl Philip’s two sons — Prince Alexander, 2, and Prince Gabriel, 2 — will retain their titles of Prince and Princess, but these titles will become personal and any future spouses or children will not have a right to them.
Princess Madeleine responded to the news on Instagram, writing: “Earlier today, the court announced that Leonore, Nicolas and Adrienne will no longer belong to the royal house. This change has been planned for a long time. Chris and I think it’s good that our children are now getting a greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals in the future.”
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Madeline’s younger brother, Prince Carl Philip, also took to Instagram to share his thoughts on the decision, writing: “Today, the King announced the decision that our children no longer hold the Royal Highness position. We see this as positive as Alexander and Gabriel will have freer choices in life.”
“They will retain their prince titles and their duchies, Södermanland and Dalarna, which we value and are proud of. Our family has strong connections to both landscapes and we maintain our commitment there.
“We will continue to focus on our heart issues and commitment. We will also continue to support the King and Crown Princess – our future head of state – and participate in the King’s House activities as we wish.”
The decision does not pertain to Princess Estelle, 7, and Prince Oscar, 3 – the children of Crown Princess Victoria, who is heir to the throne, and her husband Prince Daniel. Unlike their cousins, both Estelle and Oscar will both continue to be part of the royal house.