Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark announces shock abdication in her New Year address

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by Mick the Ram


There was an almighty shock for the Danish public during the annual new year TV address by their Queen Margrethe II, when she announced that she would be relinquishing her monarchical authority and abdicating her position.

She will formally renounce the throne on 14 January, which will be 52 years to the day from when she became the queen. She declared that she will be stepping aside for her son, Crown Prince Frederik, who is 55-years-old, to take over as King.

At 83-years-old, she is the world’s only reigning queen and the longest serving current monarch in Europe. She began her reign after the death of her father King Frederik IX, back in 1972.

There will be no formal crowning ceremony for the new king, instead his accession will be announced from Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen on the day, which is now less than two weeks away.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen thanked the queen for her “lifelong dedication and tireless efforts for the Kingdom.”

Longest-serving in country’s history

When she was born, there was no thoughts of becoming queen one day, but that changed when she was 13-years-old and Danish law changed to allow women to take the throne, making her next in line.

She is now the longest-serving monarch in Danish history, after surpassing King Christian IV, of Denmark and Norway, last year. She refused to be drawn into a world of mobile phones and the internet, declaring herself “very happy” without them.

Complete surprise for population

The Queen always broadcasts to her nation live on TV, ahead of the new year, and many would have expected her to speak about the troubles in Gaza and Ukraine, together with the climate issues.

This she did, but nobody saw the additional news coming. Indeed, as such a popular figure in Denmark, most of the country’s citizens would have expected her to remain in position until her death.

Reflective period leads to decision

Queen Margrethe disclosed that she came to the decision after a period of reflection following surgery on her back in early 2023. “In February this year I underwent extensive back surgery, and whilst everything went well, thanks to the competent health personnel who took care of me, the surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future and whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation.”

Time is right

Continuing, she pointed out that she was approaching 52 years on the throne, and said: “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, so I have decided that now is the right time.”

Similarities to UK experience

A high percentage of Danes have never known life without Queen Margrethe, so similar to what the British public experienced, the change to a king will take some adjustment.

The obvious difference is that Queen Elizabeth II sadly passed away, rather than abdicated, but there are very definite similarities between the two women.

Inspired by Elizabeth II

Queen Margrethe often spoke of how she was inspired by the late UK monarch, especially where it came to the need to dedicate her life to serving her nation.

The two queens had been the world’s only remaining female sovereigns and shortly before Elizabeth’s death in September 2022 – the funeral of which Margrethe attended – both women celebrated their respective jubilees.

Frederik to step up

In her address, the Queen told her people: “I will leave the throne to my son, Crown Prince Frederik.”

He will take her place as King of Denmark and head of state in the country – which is a constitutional monarchy – as well as in Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Normal family life where possible

His Australian-born wife, Princess Mary, will take the title of Queen Consort. She grew up on the Australian island of Tasmania and was working as a lawyer when the pair met in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics.

They are widely respected for their modern values and have tried to give their four children as normal an upbringing as possible, sending them mainly to state schools.

University educated

Continuing with the similarities, Frederik shares King Charles III’s passion for the environment. He also has a masters degree in political science gained in 1995, when he became the first Danish royal to complete a university education.

He later served in the Danish navy, where he was given the rather embarrassing nickname of “Pingo”, seemingly because whilst on a scuba diving course his wetsuit filled up with water, causing him to waddle like a penguin.

The 55-year-old has earned a reputation as both a daredevil and for being accident prone. He took part in a four-month ski expedition across Greenland in 2000, but has been hospitalised in sledging and scooter incidents.


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