Queen Margrethe II of Denmark announces abdication

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II has announced her unexpected decision to abdicate during a televised New Year’s address, setting the stage for her departure from the throne on January 14, precisely 52 years since she assumed the role of queen.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in a car
Photo courtesy: Varde Kommune

In her announcement, she revealed her intention to pass the throne to her son, Crown Prince Frederik, expressing gratitude to the Danish public for their enduring support during her lengthy tenure. This decision follows a period of contemplation prompted by her back surgery earlier in 2023, leading her to ponder the appropriate timing to transition the responsibilities to the next generation.

The 83-year-old, the longest-reigning monarch in Danish history, received recognition from Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who extended thanks on behalf of the population for Queen Margrethe’s lifelong dedication and contributions to the Kingdom. The Prime Minister praised her role in personifying the Danish identity over the years.

In a departure from British royal tradition, there will be no formal crowning ceremony for Crown Prince Frederik, aged 55, with his ascension to be announced from Copenhagen’s Amalienborg Castle on the specified date.

Queen Margrethe II, a beloved figure in Denmark, was widely anticipated to continue her reign until her passing. Renowned for her artistic pursuits and academic background in the UK, she has delivered an annual televised New Year’s Eve address, often touching on various global issues, including this year’s focus on conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as the imperative to address climate change.

The Danish royal family, like its European counterparts, is undergoing adjustments to adapt to contemporary society, leading to decisions to streamline the royal family structure. Last year, a public rift ensued after Prince Joachim’s children were stripped of their royal titles, reflecting the family’s ongoing adaptation to changing times.

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