Monarchy: Danish Queen Margrethe II abdicates

Exactly 52 years after her accession to the throne, Danish Queen Margrethe II wants to abdicate.

Monarchy: Danish Queen Margrethe II abdicates

Exactly 52 years after her accession to the throne, Danish Queen Margrethe II wants to abdicate. The 83-year-old said, completely unexpectedly, in her televised New Year's speech on Sunday evening that she wanted to resign as regent on January 14, 2024. Margrethe inherited the throne after her father's death on January 14, 1972. The new king will now be Crown Prince Frederik (55).

In her annual New Year's Eve speech, which is always followed closely by the Danes, Margrethe discussed her back operation this year. The operation went well thanks to the health workers, but it made her think about her future as queen. She will leave the throne to her son. Above all, she wanted to say thank you this evening - for the warmth and support that has been shown to her over the years, said the monarch.

Denmark's new king is to take the throne as Frederik X

As the Danish State Chancellery announced, Frederik is to ascend the throne as King Frederik X at the same time as his abdication. However, Margrethe will continue to be referred to as “Her Majesty” in the future.

The speech began with comments on the Gaza and Ukraine wars, then discussed the climate crisis and artificial intelligence. After a greeting to the people on the Faroe Islands and Greenland, which are part of the Danish Kingdom, the sensation came completely unexpectedly.

"I have decided that now is the right time. On January 14, 2024 - 52 years after I inherited my beloved father - I will step down as Queen of Denmark. I will hand over the throne to my son Crown Prince Frederik," the monarch said .

Prime Minister Frederiksen: Margrethe is the epitome of Denmark

Danish media described the announcement as “absolutely historic.” After the announcement, spontaneous applause broke out among the onlookers who had gathered on the palace square in front of Amalienborg Palace. Margrethe had always emphasized that she wanted to stay on the throne until her death - until she caused the big surprise on December 31st.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen expressed her great thanks to the Queen on behalf of the population. Many Danes would not know any other female ruler than her. "Queen Margrethe is the epitome of Denmark and over the years has found words and feelings for who we are as a people and as a nation," said Frederiksen. The Social Democrat continued that she had done honor to the kingdom.

Margrethe is considered the longest-serving monarch on earth

The always radiant and often smoking ruler is popular with the people; her New Year's Eve speeches have cult status like "Dinner for One" in Germany. She is extremely creative and interested in art, is considered pragmatic and sometimes a bit unconventional. Since the death of the British Queen Elizabeth II, whose third cousin she was, Margrethe was considered the longest-serving regent on earth.

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 impact on the crowned heads in Sweden and Norway. It is absolutely not impossible for Sweden's King Carl Gustav (77) and Norway's King Harald (86) to follow this example, the Swedish broadcaster SVT quoted royal family expert Roger Lundberg as saying.