Denmark is facing a new era. With the announced resignation of Queen Margrethe II after 52 years on the throne, Crown Prince Frederik has to face great expectations. The 55-year-old, who is due to take the throne as Frederik X on January 14th, should find good conditions.
Margrethe announced her abdication completely unexpectedly in her annual New Year's speech on Sunday evening. As a background, she cited back surgery last year, which she survived well, but which made her think. “I have decided that now is the right time,” she said and announced that she would hand over the scepter to Frederik in the new year. Margrethe inherited the throne after her father's death on January 14, 1972.
Margrethe managed to increase support for the monarchy
Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen praised Margrethe as the "epitome of Denmark" who, over the years, had found words and feelings for who the Danes were as a people and as a nation.
Margrethe managed to consolidate the royal family's acceptance. According to the Danish agency Ritzau, people's approval of the monarchy as a form of government in Denmark grew to more than 75 percent during her reign. She has adapted the monarchy step by step so that new generations perceive it as a meaningful institution, the speaker of the Danish parliament, Søren Gade, paid tribute to the outgoing queen in a statement. In doing so, she paved the way for her eldest son.
There is reason to believe that the future king can build on this. According to a survey by the Danish broadcaster DR, Crown Prince Frederik and his wife Crown Princess Mary are just as popular as Margrethe. Accordingly, more than 80 percent of Danes have a positive image of the soon-to-be royal couple.
Abdication is considered extremely unusual in Denmark
There was initially no reaction to the surprise from the neighboring royal families. However, there has already been speculation in the media that Margrethe's departure could have an influence on the crowned heads in Sweden and Norway. It is absolutely not impossible that the Swedish King Carl Gustav (77) and Norway's King Harald (86) followed this example, SVT quoted royal family expert Roger Lundberg. Margrethe personally informed Carl Gustav about her decision in advance, reported SVT.
Margrethe's step is considered extremely unusual and historic. Since the introduction of the hereditary monarchy in 1660, there has been no monarch who voluntarily renounced the throne, said history professor Lars Hovbakke Sørensen from the University of Absalon to the Ritzau agency.