The Queen of Denmark has revealed the decision to strip relatives of their titles was inspired by other European royals – including her late cousin Queen Elizabeth II – in a cull that will pile increasing pressure on Charles III to take ‘decisive action’ on the futures of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and his other family, experts predicted today.

Queen Margrethe, 82, has removed princely titles from four of her eight grandchildren, saying it is ‘for their own good’ – prompting a bitter royal row with her family redolent of Megxit when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit and emigrated to California.

The official reason was to allow the four children of her younger son, Prince Joachim: Nikolai, Felix, Henrik and Athena, to live more normal lives, and follows similar moves by other royal families in Europe, including the Windsors, to slim down their monarchies, the Danish palace said. 

Her decision has ‘upset’ her son and his four children. His eldest sons Nikolai and Felix – from his first marriage – have been branded ‘playboy princes’ because they are professional models who failed to complete their two-year military education after both concluded it was ‘not right for them’. Prince Joachim insists his mother only gave him five days’ notice. His first wife Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, said last night she is ‘in shock’.

The streamlining of Europe’s royal household began in earnest at the end of 2018 – a year before Megxit – when the King of Sweden used his annual Christmas speech to address why he chose to strip five of his grandchildren of their royal titles. In the Netherlands King Willem Alexander has slashed back the number of working royals to just five as well as the number of his palaces, staff, limousines and working heirs.

The Danish Crown’s statement even addressed this comparison and trend, saying that the Queen’s decision is ‘in line with similar adjustments that other royal houses have made in various ways in recent years’. 

King Charles III is known to have spoken for decades about the need for the House of Windsor to be slimmed down. Margrethe, Europe’s only reigning Queen, will also have seen her cousin Queen Elizabeth II’s hard line on her son Prince Andrew, who was stripped of all his military titles and royal patronages in January over his links to Jeffrey Epstein and his multi-million-dollar settlement with Epstein’s sex slave, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. 

Margrethe’s move will pile pressure on Charles to speed up his plans – including making a swift decision on Harry and Meghan’s future and whether Archie and Lilibet should be HRH, experts have warned. 

Former MP Norman Baker, a leading expert on royal finances, told MailOnline: ‘Why is Harry still an HRH? Charles says he wants to slim down the monarchy, but this must be real, not just superficial. He must slim down the costs to the taxpayer. It just needs it be him, Camilla, William and Kate and their children. The rest of them should get their P45s and retire or go out an earn a living’.

He added: ‘The need to slim down the bloated British royal family has been clear for decades and only become more clear as other European monarchies like the Danish slim down as befits the 21st century. It is increasingly absurd that minor bit players like the Gloucesters and the Kents still come as part of the package’.

Author and investigative journalist Tom Bower, who wrote a recent biography of Meghan Markle, said: ‘To save the monarchy from criticism, Charles does need to reduce the numbers. His big test is to neutralise the Sussexes’ venom, which does threaten his reign. The Sussexes’ problem is that their financial survival depends on spewing venom against the Royal family in their book and their Netflix series. Charles’ best tactic would be to threaten to remove their titles if they are disloyal’.

Some have noted Margrethe’s warmth towards Charles when they met at Buckingham Palace on the eve of the Queen’s funeral – and pondered whether slimming down their royal households may even have been discussed.

Royal expert Phil Dampier said: ‘The King, who was seen talking to Queen Margrethe at his mother’s funeral, may be encouraged by her to take decisive action over Harry and Meghan. The Sussexes have already been demoted on the royal website.

But Charles will possibly be wary of making too many decisions until he knows the contents of Harry’s book and Netflix programme, both of which seem to be moving back in time. The Danish Queen has been decisive – but divisive. Charles will want to learn lessons and do things his way, but he can’t put off decisions forever’.