There is Danish royal offspring cavorting around Australia, and no, it isn’t the children of Aussie-turned-royal Princess Mary.
Instead, it’s her nephew, Count Nikolai of Monpezat, born Prince Nikolai of Denmark before his titles were stripped by his grandmother Queen Margrethe II in September 2022, in an effort to slim down the Danish monarchy.
So who is Count Nikolai, and why will you find him plastered all over your Instagram next to his beautiful girlfriend and walking down the runway of some of the highest fashion maisons in the world? Here, we dive into everything you need to know about the young royal and his time in Australia.
Is Count Nikolai Danish Royalty?
Despite his newfound love for life in Australia, Count Nikolai has always resided in Denmark. He is the eldest child of all Queen Margrethe II’s grandchildren, the son of her second born son, Prince Joachim of Denmark, Count of Monpezat.
Count Nikolai is currently seventh in line to inherit the Danish throne. He will remain in the line of succession, but as of January 1, 2023, he has been known not as ‘His Highness Prince Nikolai of Denmark’ but instead as ‘His Excellency Count Nikolai of Monpezat’.
The decision to remove Joachim’s children’s prince and princess titles caused shockwaves around the world, from a family that has gone to every effort to be non-controversial. It began a wave of rumour that there was tension within the family, particularly between eldest son Crown Prince Frederik and his brother Prince Joachim.
Queen Margarethe said the decision was made so the children could be “able to shape their own lives to a much greater extent without being limited by” their title.
Of the decision, Count Nikolai’s father, Prince Joachim said, “We are all very sad.”
“It’s never fun to see your children being harmed. They have been put in a situation they do not understand.”
Nine months on from the decision, Count Nikolai told 9 Honey, “It’s still quite a touchy subject but, I mean, I am the same person as I’ve always been.”
“It’s more just a formality or sort of change of belonging, in a way.”
Nikolai says: “I am the same person I have always been, it’s weird having to settle for another surname now.”
He admits he doesn’t quite know what his surname is. Likely, ‘Count of Monpezat’, although he concedes he prefers to use his mother’s ‘Frederiksborg’.
“It’s the closest I could have to a civil surname, my father didn’t have one, so Nikolai Frederiksborg has always been my alias,” he says.
While he told Danish media earlier in the year that he was “shocked” and “confused” by the change, Nikolai appears to have taken it in his stride.
“I think in the future I will be freer, but I’ve never felt limited before,” Count Nikolai told 9 Honey of the change. “So for me, as I mentioned before, it hasn’t’ changed anything yet. I think in the future it will make a difference.”
He adds, “I guess I’ve always sort of done what I wanted but in respect to everyone around me, especially my heritage, [I’ve] always asked for permission, done what’s been said and expected of me.”
“I am not rebellious at all – in my own opinion…but, you know, times change all the time and I like to keep up.”
Why Is Count Nikolai At UTS?
After Count Nikolai of Monpezat finished high school, he enrolled in a military program but soon dropped out, stating that the military was not the career for him.
Instead, he attends Copenhagen Business School, studying Business Administration and Service Management.
It’s this course that has brought him to Australia, on a semester exchange at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). This usually involves studying a series of subjects that match with ones back home, so you can finish your degree in the same, or similar timing, but spend time abroad widening your skillset.
Why Did Count Nikolai Choose To Come To Australia?
Of course, when you choose to study abroad there are many universities that you can choose to attend. One can’t help but wonder if the fact that his aunty, Princess Mary, had grown up here (meeting Prince Frederik in Sydney in 2000 during the Olympics at a pub in Darling Harbour) weighed into his choice.
He tells 9 Honey, “I wouldn’t say she influenced me, but once I told her she was very happy for me, definitely. Gave me all the good recommendations, introduced me to her friends, family here,” he says.
“She wrote me a short itinerary of what to do and what to see. Palm Beach, she recommended.”
He adds that she gave him tips on how to survive the wildlife and weather (tap your shoes before putting them on and wear sunscreen). He even intends to visit Tasmania where she grew up.
“Because I have family there, or relatives, it would be nice to come and visit,” he says. “I haven’t planned anything yet but I definitely hope to visit them, definitely.”
His visit to Australia also follows in his father’s footsteps with Prince Joachim working on a farm in Wagga Wagga from 1986 to 1987, when he turned 18.
Is Count Nikolai A Model?
While Count Nikolai may be studying business, he has risen through the sartorial ranks as a model. He is signed with Danish talent company Scoop Models, having walked his first runway at the Burberry show for London Fashion Week in February 2018.
Since then he has walked in the Dior Homme Spring/Summer showing for Paris Fashion Week in 2019, and even graced the cover of Vogue Scandinavia.
His brother, Count Felix, is also a model, having recently collaborated with Danish designer Georg Jensen for a campaign.
Who Is Count Nikolai Of Monzepat’s Girlfriend?
While it’s always a big move to go halfway around the world, Count Nikolai has not come on his own. He has come down under with his girlfriend Benedikte Thoustrup.
The couple are both studying at the University of Technology Sydney until 30 November, and have been jet-setting around Australia in their spare time.
The pair met in 2018 and have even started living together in Copenhagen. Benedikte is an entrepreneur, with her own hair accessory brand called BénéSoie alongside her mother and grandmother. They have gone travelling together before, having taken another semester abroad in Paris in 2021.
The pair are now living together in Surry Hills, close to the Ultimo campus, and are enjoying the Australian summer, having already travelled to Byron Bay to soak up the sun.