Denmark's Queen Margrethe II of Denmark to abdicate after 52 years. She is Europe's longest-serving monarch. She stunned the nation with a surprise announcement during her traditional New Year's Eve speech.
The 83-year-old monarch revealed her decision to abdicate on January 14, 2024, after more than 52 years on the throne.
Queen Margrethe cited a back surgery in February 2023 as a pivotal moment that prompted her to contemplate the future.
In her speech, she acknowledged the toll that more than five decades on the throne had taken on her and expressed gratitude for the successful surgery that led to her decision to pass the responsibility to the next generation.
In two weeks time I have been Queen of Denmark for 52 years.- Denmark's Queen Margrethe II
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.- Denmark's Queen Margrethe II
In February this year I underwent extensive back surgery. “Everything went well, thanks to the competent health personnel, who took care of me. Inevitably, the operation gave cause to thoughts about the future – whether now would be an appropriate time to pass on the responsibility to the next generation.- Denmark's Queen Margrethe II
I have decided that now is the right time.- Denmark's Queen Margrethe II
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.- Denmark's Queen Margrethe II
The queen will hand over the throne to her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, who will ascend as King Frederik X.
The unexpected announcement also marked the historic moment when Princess Mary, the Australian-born wife of Crown Prince Frederik, will become the first Australian to ascend to the role of Queen Consort.
Queen Margrethe II ascended to the throne on January 14, 1972, following the death of King Frederik IX. After the passing of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 2022, she became Europe's longest-serving monarch.
While Denmark's royals have a limited constitutional role, the monarchy holds symbolic importance, with monarchs serving as ambassadors and participating in ceremonial duties.
Denmark's Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, expressed gratitude for Queen Margrethe's lifelong dedication to duty.
The announcement has prompted a period of reflection for many Danes, marking the end of an era and a change in leadership that many citizens had never experienced.
Queen Margrethe II gives a New Year's speech and announces her abdication from Christian IX's Palace, Amalienborg Castle, in Copenhagen, Sunday 31 December 2023.
Born in 1940 to King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid, Queen Margrethe II became the heir in 1953, following a constitutional amendment allowing women to inherit the throne.
Known for her love of archaeology and creative personality, she has enjoyed broad support from Danes throughout her reign.
Queen Margrethe II will leave a lasting legacy as one of Denmark's most revered monarchs.
The succession ceremony on January 14 will mark the transition to a new era as Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary take on their roles in shaping the monarchy's future.
Queen Margrethe II's unexpected announcement of abdication after 52 years on the throne marked the end of an era in Denmark.
Her decision to pass the throne to Crown Prince Frederik, with Princess Mary becoming the first Australian Queen Consort, adds a unique chapter to the country's monarchy.
As Danes reflect on the queen's long and impactful reign, the upcoming succession ceremony on January 14 symbolizes a historic transition and the beginning of a new era for the Danish monarchy.