Countess Athena's birthday came 10 days after the historic abdication of her grandmother Queen Margrethe
Countess Athena of Monpezat is turning 12!
“Her Excellency Countess Athena has a birthday and turns 12 today 🇩🇰,” the court captioned the Instagram post. “On the occasion of the birthday, the Countess's mother, Her Royal Highness Princess Marie, photographed the daughter at the family's home in Washington D.C.”
Queen Margrethe’s second son and his wife relocated to the United States last year with two of their children as he started a new job at the Danish Embassy under the Ministry of Defense.
The outdoor snaps showed Countess Athena in a snowy yard, bundled up in a white puffer coat with a turtleneck and jeans. The young countess smiled solo in the first shot and kneeled to pet the family dog Cerise in the second image.
Princess Marie, 47, isn’t the only royal mom to take photos of her kids for official circulation — Kate Middleton and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden often do the same. Princess Kate has described herself as an “enthusiastic amateur photographer” and hopped behind the camera for many of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis’ birthday portraits. Crown Princess Victoria recently took a picture of her children Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar on Lucia Morning before Christmas.
Later on Countess Athena’s birthday, Count Nikolai of Monpezat celebrated his younger sister with a collage on his Instagram Story.
"Happy birthday to my favorite little sis," Nikolai, 24, wrote with a Danish flag emoji. The tribute featured three undated photos of Athena and was topped by a shot of her laughing with a sparkler at a dinner table. In the snaps below, Nikolai stood arm-in-arm with his sister on a beach, and who appeared to be his girlfriend, Benedikte Thoustrup, hugged Athena.
Prince Joachim is a father of four and shares his two eldest sons, Count Nikolai and Count Felix, 21, with his first wife, Alexandra. They divorced in 2005 after a decade of marriage, and Joachim remarried in 2008. He and Marie went on to welcome a son and daughter — Count Henrik, 13, and Countess Athena.
Last weekend was historic for the Danish royal family, as matriarch Queen Margrethe abdicated on the 52nd anniversary of her accession and her eldest son became King Frederik X. The change of reign was a much lower-key affair than the coronation of King Charles in May 2023, and Countess Athena’s father Prince Joachim made a solo trip to Denmark for the special occasion.
The arrangement was expected, as a spokesperson told Hello! that Prince Joachim, 54, would attend without his wife and kids.
Prince Joachim kept a low profile on Queen Margrethe’s Jan. 14 abdication day, where she signed a declaration of her abdication during a Council of State at Christiansborg Palace to make her decision to step down as monarch official. Queen Margrethe, 83, shocked Denmark when she announced the plans on Dec. 31 and made history as the first Danish monarch to voluntarily step down from the throne in nearly 900 years, per Danish Royal House history.
Joachim did not appear on the palace balcony with his brother, the newly minted King Frederik, who was proclaimed monarch by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and was then joined by his wife, the new Queen Mary, and their four kids, Crown Prince Christian, 18, Princess Isabella, 16, and 13-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.
The following day, Prince Joachim joined fellow members of the royal family at the Danish Parliament's succession celebration, where he hugged his older brother as they made their way in.
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Queen Margrethe rewrote history in January 2023 when she stripped Prince Joachim’s four children of their royal titles in a decision she later described as “necessary future-proofing of the monarchy.” The siblings had previously been styled as prince or princess and known as "His/Her Highness" since birth.
Nikolai, Felix, Henrik and Athena each retained their respective places in the line of succession and are now known instead by His Excellency Count of Monpezat or Her Excellency Countess of Monpezat. The titles passed from their late grandfather Prince Henrik, who died in 2018.
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