On 27 December, a new documentary titled The Other Prince – Prince Joachim aired in Denmark. The documentary was made by the TV channel TV2 with the agreement of the Royal Court. Unfortunately, the documentary isn’t available for international viewers, but TV2 did release some stills and short videos which provided a lot of quotes from Prince Joachim.
In the past few years, and even more since he sold Schackenborg Castle, Prince Joachim has been criticised a lot, some saying he was arrogant or that he was not working enough after selling Schackenborg. In this new documentary, Prince Joachim let the people into his family life as well as his professional life in a way that allows them to learn more about him and to see his vision of his role as a member of the Danish Royal Family.
About his role, Prince Joachim said: “From that day [the day King Frederick, their grandfather, died] the Crown Prince became crown prince, he was dynastically placed above me and wanted to advance therefrom, and I would just keep reversing. For every time the Crown Prince has a child, I take a step down the ladder, and in that way, I’m still part of the family, but more like a backup. […] My role must be to be the Crown Prince’s, and one day the King’s, brother – neither more or less.”
As the spare, Prince Joachim was always destined to have a day job along with his royal duties. He did so when he was managing Schackenborg, but as he stated multiple times, it became less and less successful. As a result, he decided to sell and create a foundation (this way, he is still involved in the development of the castle in which he spent most of his life and where his children grew up) to ensure the well being of the building. Now, he has a day job in the Armed Forces, and as shown in the documentary, he visited the Danish troops in Iraq last November.
Prince Joachim also performs royal duties, and he is the patron of 42 organisations. He also visited Nepal as the Patron of CARE Denmark which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
About people thinking he is arrogant, Prince Joachim said: ” I am a sensitive person, and I am also a person who has learned to keep a certain appearance whether it is in major official events or as a private person. For the public, I have a reputation for being stiff, and that has led to thinking that I have to be arrogant. But I am who I am. I am not as you think or hear, or in some cases, as I want to be. I am a human of flesh and blood.”
The documentary also shows the tender moments of his family life – Prince Joachim helping Princess Marie cook, picking up Prince Henrik and Princess Athena from school, accompanying Prince Nikolai for his first drive or helping Prince Felix choose the suit for his Confirmation. Prince Joachim, Princess Marie and the Countess of Fredensborg – Prince Joachim’s ex-wife – are often praised for managing to be friendly with each other for the benefit of their children and the unity of their family and that is something that is very important for Prince Joachim.
According to Billed-Bladet, he said:“We do not speak of half children, only the whole!”
He also talked about his divorce from his first wife, Countess Alexandra: “I asked myself a lot of questions in connection with my divorce and, of course, what the price was for it. Not just for oneself and for the family, but for the institution and for all the gathering power and continuity that a royal family represents for its country.”
Prince Joachim also reveals that they had decided to divorce because they didn’t want to be unhappy and make their children unhappy. This led Prince Joachim to a dark period: “I did not know what tomorrow would bring. I did not know if there would be a revelation for me suddenly, and then there might be a lot of questions. I tried to think: ‘What am I worth as a human being?’ “ During the darkest times, he had close friends and family who helped him, and he said that it took him a few years to feel better.
Another vital part of his family life is his relationship with his brother Crown Prince Frederik. There are constant rumours saying the two brothers do not have a good relationship anymore, but these rumours make Prince Joachim laugh:“We laugh very much, and we are brothers in the same way as when we were teens. That’s why it’s annoying that there are pending rumours that we have no contact or that we are not close. You can be close without necessarily being physically together and without communicating.”
It is not known why such a documentary was made, but it is clear that it was essential to hear Prince Joachim talk about his life and his role as a member of the Royal Family. He said so himself; his brother’s children are growing up and will eventually take on a more important part than him.
Several reviews were posted online by Danish magazines, and they were very mixed. Some praised the documentary for being genuine and an accurate portrait of the Prince’s personality and life while others like Trine Villeman said that it would not be enough to change the Prince’s image. An online poll on TV2’s website showed that 55% of the 17478 voters agree with Trine (18% voted that the documentary had changed their view of the Prince while 27% said they hadn’t seen it).
However, every expert agrees that it is unusual to see such a close portrait of a member of the Royal Family, as Prince Joachim talked about his successes and his failures too, but that it is something that the younger generation of royals has started to do more often.