Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II Announces Abdication After 52 Years

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has announced her decision to abdicate the throne after a reign lasting 52 years. The announcement was made during her traditional New Year’s Eve address, broadcast on Danish television, where she cited age and health concerns as the factors behind her decision.

Queen Margrethe II Announces Abdication After 52 Years

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The 83-year-old monarch, who became the longest-serving European monarch following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II last year, disclosed that her thoughts about the future were triggered by a back surgery she underwent in February 2023.

In her speech, she reflected on the toll that more than five decades on the throne had taken on her, mentioning the increasing challenges posed by various health issues.

“In two weeks’ time, I have been Queen of Denmark for 52 years. Such an amount will leave its mark on anybody also on me! The time takes its toll, and the number of ‘ailments’ increases. One cannot undertake as much as one managed in the past,” Queen Margrethe II expressed.

The monarch, known for her artistic talents and popularity among Danes, stated that the back surgery made her to contemplate whether the time had come to pass on the responsibilities to the next generation. She decided that now is the right time for her to step down.

“On 14th January, 2024 – 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father – I will step down as Queen of Denmark. I will hand over the throne to my son Crown Prince Frederik,” she declared.

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Crown Prince Frederik, 55, will ascend to the throne as His Majesty King Frederik X in January. His wife, Australian-born Princess Mary, will become Queen Consort, the first time an Australian has ascended to such a role. The couple’s love story, originating from a meeting in a Sydney bar during the 2000 Olympics.

The Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, confirmed the queen’s decision in a statement, expressing gratitude for her lifelong dedication and efforts for the kingdom.

Denmark’s constitutional monarchy places formal power in the hands of the elected parliament, with the royal family playing an ambassadorial role.

Queen Margrethe II, born in 1940, has been a prominent figure in Danish public life. Standing at 6 feet tall, she was often seen walking the streets of Copenhagen unescorted, earning admiration for her warm manners and design talents.

Her reign witnessed changes, including globalisation, the multicultural state, economic crises, and the challenges posed by the pandemic.

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Renowned for her passion for archaeology, Queen Margrethe II actively participated in excavations. She became the heir to her father in 1953, following a constitutional amendment that granted women the right to inherit the throne.

In 1967, she married French diplomat Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, who served as her royal consort until his passing in 2018.

The couple had two sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim. Frederik’s marriage to Australian-born Mary Donaldson in 2004 is a modern dimension to the Danish royal family.

The change in throne will be proclaimed at Christiansborg Castle on January 14, following a meeting in the Council of State.

The queen will retain the title Her Majesty even after the handover, maintaining a symbolic link to Denmark’s rich history.

As Denmark prepares for a new era under the reign of King Frederik X, the abdication of Queen Margrethe II is the end of an extraordinary chapter in the nation’s history.

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