Denmark’s monarchial shift: King Frederik X takes the throne

Denmark marks a historic transition as King Frederik X ascends the throne, succeeding Queen Margrethe II, who voluntarily abdicated after 52 years of reign.

Denmark witness a historic moment on Sunday as King Frederik X officially assumed the throne, succeeding his mother, Queen Margrethe II, who surprised the nation on New Year’s Eve with her decision to voluntarily abdicate after a remarkable 52-year reign. The capital city saw large crowds gather to be part of this significant event.

The formal abdication took place during a meeting of the Council of State at parliament, where Queen Margrethe signed the declaration. Denmark, boasting one of the world’s oldest monarchies, does not hold coronation ceremonies. The event was attended by government representatives, Queen Margrethe, the new King Frederik, his wife Mary, and their eldest son Christian, now the heir to the throne at the age of 18.

Following the signing, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was scheduled to announce the new king on the parliament balcony, with King Frederik delivering a brief speech. Tens of thousands of people from across Denmark braved freezing temperatures to witness the historic moment, underscoring the monarchy’s immense popularity in the nation of nearly six million.

Soren Kristian Bisgaard, a 30-year-old pilot present at the event, expressed the sentiment shared by many attendees, stating, “We have come here today because this is history being made in front of our eyes. We just had to be here.” He, along with friends, enjoyed the festivities with champagne in hand, highlighting their pride in the royal family.

Later in the day, King Frederik and Queen Mary were set to embark on a horse carriage procession to their residence, Amalienborg, a historic royal complex in central Copenhagen. They will continue to reside with Queen Margrethe, who retains her title, in Amalienborg, each occupying their respective palaces within the octagonal complex.

Queen Margrethe, who had previously expressed her intention to remain on the throne for life, cited a significant back surgery in February of the previous year as a key factor influencing her decision to step down.

Lars Hovbakke Sorensen, a historian and associate professor, speculated on her motivations, suggesting, “Maybe the queen wanted to avoid a situation where you would have a very, very old king, as you saw with Prince Charles.” King Frederik and Queen Mary assume their roles at a time of widespread public support, with recent surveys indicating high expectations for their success in their new roles. Eighty-two percent of Danes anticipate King Frederik to perform well or very well, while 86% express the same confidence in Queen Mary.

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