Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf has taken the unusual step of stripping five of his grandchildren of their royal titles—but it's not because of a family feud. The five children, aged between one and five, are the offspring of the younger two of the king's three children, and they are being removed from the "royal house" to slim down a royal family that is at its largest in more than a century, the Local reports. The two sons of Carl Philip and Princess Sofia and the three children of Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill will no longer have the title "royal highness," and they will not be expected to perform royal duties when they are old enough, though they will still have their titles of dukes and duchesses.
The move also means that the five children will no longer receive annual taxpayer-funded payments known as "appanages." The king's order does not affect Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, the two children of Crown Princess Victoria, who is the heir to the throne. Swedish historian Dick Harrison tells the BBC that while the five grandchildren will still have a "theoretical claim to the throne" if others in the line of succession die, they will now be able to "live ordinary lives." "They don't have to bother with being fenced in," he says. "They are made into ordinary people but still members of the royal club." (Read more Sweden stories.)