Sweden’s king has chosen to strip five of his grandchildren of their royal highness status amid heightened scrutiny of the monarchy’s cost to taxpayers.
The children will retain their titles of prince/princess and duke/duchess, but they will no longer receive taxpayer funds or be referred to as his royal highness and her royal highness, King Carl XVI Gustaf said through a spokesman. In turn, the kids won’t be expected to perform official royal duties.
Members of Sweden’s royal house are entitled to receive a taxpayer-funded annual sum known as an appanage, the BBC noted. The Swedish monarchy is estimated to cost taxpayers some $14 million annually.
The king’s decision will affect five of his seven grandchildren: the two sons of Prince Carl Philip, the king’s second of three children; and the two daughters and one son of Princess Madeleine, the king’s youngest child.
Both Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine said they welcomed their father’s move.
The princess said in an Instagram post that the change would give her children a “greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals,” according to a CNN translation. Her brother echoed that sentiment, saying on the social media site that his sons would get “freer choices in life.”
The king’s announcement likely was in response to a brewing controversy in the country about the growing size of the royal house and its impact on taxpayer pockets, Swedish historian Dick Harrison told BBC.
The king’s grandchildren had yet to be targeted in these conversations, but “the king is preventing a discussion that otherwise would have taken place,” Harrison said.
The king’s decision will not affect the position of his three children or his wife, Queen Silvia, who “will continue their work in the non-profit foundations and organizations which they have founded or in which they are involved,” Fredrik Wersäll, marshal of the realm, said in a statement on the Swedish Royal Court’s website.
The son and daughter of the king’s eldest child, Crown Princess Victoria, will also remain in the royal house. Princess Estelle, 7, and her 3-year-old brother, Prince Oscar, are second and third in line to the throne, respectively.
CORRECTION: An earlier version misidentified the king’s wife, Queen Silvia.