Count Nikolai of Monpezat has revealed that he’s excited to ‘chart his own course’ after being stripped of his royal title last year – but will ‘still be there’ for his closest cousin and future king, Prince Christian.
The royal, 24, opened up about what the future holds after making the move to Australia this summer, in an interview with Wish Magazine.
He travelled Down Under to study on exchange at University of Technology Sydney for a semester, accompanied by his glamorous designer girlfriend Benedikte Thoustrup.
However, despite tensions in the family last year – when Queen Margrethe stripped Prince Joachim‘s four children of their prince and princess titles – it would appear Nikolai holds no bitterness towards his grandmother.
The count told the outlet he’s ‘blessed to be in a position’ where he can decide his own path and expressed his fondness for the future king – Prince Christian, who had just turned 18.
While Nikolai wasn’t in attendance for his cousin’s glitzy bash last month, opting instead to catch some waves in Sydney, he posted a heartfelt birthday post on Instagram.
Sharing a sweet snap of the pair (who are both fifth cousins of Prince William and Harry) from 13 years ago – arm wrestling during a palace balcony appearance – he wrote: ‘Funny how time flies… Happy 18th Christian! Hope everyone celebrates you just as you deserve.’
In the interview he also spoke with affection of his ‘Aussie aunt’ Crown Princess Mary, who has filled his iPhone with hosts of close friends ‘in case of an emergency’.
The count added that she also shared a list of recommendations for enjoying her homeland, and warned him to lather on the SPF 50. Nikolai – who is also a model – is still seventh in line to the throne.
He also told Wish how his style has changed since moving to Australia. ‘I love the mullet and the moustache thing,’ he said.
‘They are really cool and I love how expressive young guys are here. Their style is just so relaxed and nonchalant. I love how they walk around barefoot sometimes – not that I ever would – or just in their thongs.’
He explained he had a very ‘conservative clothing style’ growing up – but has been ‘keen to explore more’ of his fashion.
Nikolai and his girlfriend Benedikte live together in Copenhagen, but moved to Sydney to study from August 1 to November 30.
In March, he launched a new Instagram account to promote his modelling career after being stripped of his ‘HRH’ status by his grandmother.
It was a tumultuous year for the Danish Royal Family after the monarch controversially took the title from Prince Joachim’s eldest son, as well as also taking the prince and princess titles from his younger children Athena, 11, Prince Felix, 20, and Prince Henrik, 13.
They are now Counts and Countess and referred to as Their Excellencies – and in January this year the Danish Royal Family updated their website to show the new status.
The Queen insisted the move will be ‘good for them in their future’ and allow the children – who have maintained their positions in the line of succession – to ‘shape their own lives without being limited by the special considerations and duties’ that a formal affiliation with the Danish Royal Family involves.
Following his grandmother’s move to strip him and his siblings of their titles ‘for their own good’, Count Nikolai said that he was sad, shocked and confused.
‘My whole family and I are of course very sad. We are, as my parents have also stated, in shock at this decision and at how quickly it has actually gone,’ he told Danish newspaper Extrabladet.
‘I am very confused as to why it has to happen like this,’ he told reporters from outside the Copenhagen apartment where he lives with his girlfriend.
Countess Alexandra, mother to Count Nikolai and Count Felix, was also ‘very sad’ and ‘shocked’ about the decision.
‘She can’t believe why and why now, because there’s no good reason,’ Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen, press secretary to Countess Alexandra told CNN.
‘They would lose their titles anyway when they get married one day. Her sons are young men so maybe they might get married in the near future so why shouldn’t it wait until that day so that the titles would disappear on a happy day?’
Prince Joachim told Ekstra Bladet that his children had been ‘hurt’ by the decision – and claimed he had only been given a few days to break the news to them before the announcement was made publicly.
Prince Joachim, the brother of Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, is now married to Princess Marie of Denmark.