King Gustaf’s move echoes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision not to give baby Archie an official royal title

By Erin Hill
October 07, 2019 09:56 AM

The Swedish royal house just got a lot smaller.

The children of Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill, and Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, are no longer official members of the royal house, the Swedish royal palace announced on Monday.

The five grandchildren of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will no longer be expected to perform official royal duties. While they will remain members of the royal family, they have lost their official HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles.

“His Majesty The King has decided on changes to The Royal House. The purpose of these changes is to establish which members of The Royal Family may be expected to perform official duties incumbent on the Head of State or related to the function of the Head of State,” a palace statement read.

“His Majesty The King has decided that the children of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, and the children of Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine and Mr Christopher O’Neill will no longer be members of The Royal House.”

Anna-Lena Ahlström/
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia with Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia/Instagram

Despite losing their title of Royal Highness, Madeleine’s three children — Princess Leonore, 5, Prince Nicolas, 4, Princess Adrienne, 1 – and Carl Philip’s two sons — Prince Alexander, 2, and Prince Gabriel, 2 — will retain their titles of Prince and Princess, but these titles will become personal and any future spouses or children will not have a right to them.

Princess Madeleine responded to the news on Instagram, writing: “Earlier today, the court announced that Leonore, Nicolas and Adrienne will no longer belong to the royal house. This change has been planned for a long time. Chris and I think it’s good that our children are now getting a greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals in the future.”

Madeline’s younger brother, Prince Carl Philip, also took to Instagram to share his thoughts on the decision, writing: “Today, the King announced the decision that our children no longer hold the Royal Highness position. We see this as positive as Alexander and Gabriel will have freer choices in life.”

“They will retain their prince titles and their duchies, Södermanland and Dalarna, which we value and are proud of. Our family has strong connections to both landscapes and we maintain our commitment there.

“We will continue to focus on our heart issues and commitment. We will also continue to support the King and Crown Princess – our future head of state – and participate in the King’s House activities as we wish.”

Prince Carl Philip, Princess Sofia, Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel
Kungl. Hovstaterna

The decision does not pertain to Princess Estelle, 7, and Prince Oscar, 3 – the children of Crown Princess Victoria, who is heir to the throne, and her husband Prince Daniel. Unlike their cousins, both Estelle and Oscar will both continue to be part of the royal house.

Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar
Linda Broström/The Royal Court of Sweden

The change to the royal house has already been reflected on the Swedish royal family’s official website. A photo of the entire royal family has been replaced by a new photo of King Gustaf with his two heirs, Crown Princess Victoria and her daughter Princess Estelle.

Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Estelle and King Carl XVI Gustaf
Sandra Birgersdotter Ek, The Royal Court of Sweden

In 2016, Princess Madeleine opened up to PEOPLE about her “normal” life as a mom.

“They wake me up and we fix breakfast together and the breakfast flies all over the place!” said Madeleine, who recently relocated to Florida with her family. “And then we go out to the park and we swing, we try to do a lot of activities because my little Leonore, she has lots of energy, so we have to keep her stimulated and busy.”

King Gustaf’s move echoes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision not to give baby Archie an official royal title — a move that will afford their son more privacy.

While there are courtesy titles that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex could apply to their son, they have chosen not to give him a “courtesy titles” at this time, a royal source told PEOPLE at the time.

Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Oscar, Princess Estelle and Prince Daniel
Michael Campanella/Getty

Harry and Meghan were named the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their wedding day, and it is traditional for the eldest son of a duke to eventually inherit his father’s title. Down the line, Archie could be given the secondary Sussex title, before inheriting the dukedom.

Royal titles are decided by Queen Elizabeth.

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After his birth in 2013, Prince George was officially named: His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. Siblings Charlotte and Louis were named: Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.