Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, Europe's longest serving monarch and the continent's only reigning queen, apologized for her recent decision to strip four of her grandchildren of their royal titles, but maintained that the move was "necessary," NBC News reports.
Last week, Queen Margrethe stated that the decision was made in order to allow the four children of her youngest son, Prince Joachim, to live normal lives, a tactic that had been taken by other royal families in Europe to slim down their monarchies.
Her majesty issued a statement on Monday (October 3) acknowledging the "strong reactions to my decision."
"My decision has been a long time coming," Queen Margrethe wrote. "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.
"Holding a royal title involves a number of commitments and duties that, in the future, will lie with fewer members of the royal family. This adjustment, which I view as a necessary future-proofing of the monarchy, I want to take in my own time.
"I have made my decision as Queen, mother and grandmother, but, as a mother and grandmother, I have underestimated the extent to which much my younger son and his family feel affected. That makes a big impression, and for that I am sorry."
Prince Joachim has four children -- Nikolai, Felix, Henrik and Athena -- from two separate marriages, all of whom are between the ages of 10 and 23.
“With her decision, Her Majesty the Queen wants to create a framework for the four grandchildren, to a much greater degree, to be able to shape their own existence without being limited by the special considerations and obligations that a formal affiliation with the Royal House as an institution implies,” the palace said in its September 28 statement announcing the decision via the Guardian.
“The queen’s decision is in line with similar changes that other royal houses have carried out in recent years in different ways,” the statement added.
Margrethe's reign began in January 1972, making her the longest reigning monarch and only queen in Europe, following the recent death of the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth II.