The next generation comes of age...

Prince Nikolai of Denmark celebrates his 18th birthday today and as well as the usual official photographs and now customary social media posts, there is another consideration. For Nikolai is the eldest grandchild of Danish Queen, Margrethe II, and his milestone birthday is a landmark for her, too. For there is something rather special about seeing your grandchildren entering adulthood. This is when Denmark's next royal generation comes of age.

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Nikolai William Alexander Frederik, Prince of Denmark was born on August 28th 1999 in Copenhagen, the first child of Prince Joachim and his first wife, Alexandra. Third in line to the Danish throne at birth, Nikolai guaranteed the succession for Margrethe II even though most knew at the time it was highly unlikely he would ever end up ruling Denmark. But more than that, he was a much loved son and grandson whose arrival turned a queen into a granny and took her family into a new generation which now includes eight princes and princesses.

As he turns eighteen, Nikolai is now seventh in line to the throne and makes appearances at big events like his grandmother's birthday. But other than that, his life is led away from the royal spotlight. That doesn't mean this young and increasingly handsome prince isn't aware of the pitfalls his family can bring. Last year, his 18th birthday became a political hot potato when the Danish Royal Family issued a statement confirming that none of Margrethe's grandchildren, apart from future king Prince Christian, would receive an appenage once they came of age. Headlines saying that Nikolai would be cut off when he turned eighteen followed. The reality is less harsh. Nikolai lives part of the time with his father and the rest with his mother following their divorce and he is finishing his education. They will continue to support him while he makes his way in the world. He may never be king but he holds a special place in Denmark's current Royal Family. First grandchildren are the flagbearers for their generation and today Nikolai marches them into a new world as he comes of age.

Photo credit: Steen Brogaard/ Kongehuset.