Queen Margrethe II: Danish monarch announces abdication live on TV

  • By Jacqueline Howard & Oliver Slow
  • BBC News

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WATCH: Queen of Denmark announces abdication live on TV

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has announced her surprise abdication in a televised New Year's address.

She will step down on January 14, 52 years since she became Queen.

“I leave the throne to my son, Crown Prince Frederick,” he announced.

The 83-year-old is the world's only reigning queen and Europe's longest-serving current monarch, having ascended the throne in 1972 after the death of her father, King Frederick IX.

He revealed that the decision was made after some thought following his back surgery in early 2023.

“Surgery naturally led to thinking about the future — whether it's time to leave the responsibility to the next generation,” he said.

“I have decided that now is the right time,” he added, and expressed his gratitude to the Danish public for their support over the years.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen thanked the Queen for her service.

“On behalf of the people as a whole, I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Queen for her lifelong dedication and tireless efforts for the Kingdom,” he said in a statement.

“Although the duty and position of regent has been handed down for more than 1,000 years, it is still difficult to understand that the time has come to change the throne,” the statement said.

“Many of us have never known another Regent. Queen Margrethe epitomizes Denmark and has put words and feelings into who we are as a people and a nation over the years.”

Unlike British royal tradition, 55-year-old Crown Prince Frederick will not have a formal coronation. Instead, his inauguration will be announced later that day from Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen.

He will be King of Denmark and head of state of the country – a constitutional monarchy – as well as of Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

image source, Good pictures

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Queen Margrethe II and Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Queen Margrethe is a popular figure in Denmark, and many Danes expected her to remain on the throne until her death.

“She is to us what Queen Elizabeth was to you,” Danish journalist Dine Gottse told the BBC.

Queen Margrethe attended Queen Elizabeth II's funeral in 2022, the same year they celebrated their respective anniversaries.

She was not expected to become queen when she was born. But when she was 13, Danish law was changed to allow women to ascend the throne.

More than a decade later, Queen Margrethe reflected on being inspired by the late British queen, saying, “I have to somehow understand that I should dedicate my life to my country as she did, and in that way she was very important to me.”

Before Queen Elizabeth's death, the couple were the world's only remaining female sovereigns.

Known for his smoking habit and rejection of mobile phones

Some even consider him to be the longest reigning monarch in the world. The Sultan of Brunei was on the throne for a long time, but his country gained independence only in 1984.

Having been on the throne for 60 years, he is the second longest-serving monarch in Danish history, surpassing King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway.

Queen Margrethe, affectionately known as Daisy, is known for her smoking habit and rejection of mobile phones and the internet – declaring herself “much happier” without them.

Gottse said the Danish royal transition was a moment of mixed celebration and sadness.

image source, Good pictures

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Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary attended the coronation of King Charles III in May

“She's always been there, she's aged with all of us,” he said, but he added: “The crown prince is in a very good position to take over, the succession is set – it's very logical, it makes perfect sense.”

Crown Prince Frederick, like Britain's King Charles III, is known for his passion for the environment. He has vowed to “steer the ship” for Denmark in the future.

His wife, Princess Mary, grew up on the Australian island of Tasmania and was working as a lawyer when the couple met in 2000.

Some consider them to represent modern values ​​and have tried to raise their four children as normal as possible, mainly sending them to public schools.

During her time on the throne, Queen Margrethe continued to work as an artist and was well known for her love of art.

He has an interest in archeology and has participated in many excavations.

He was educated in England, spending time at Girton College, Cambridge and the London School of Economics.

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

Every year on New Year's Day, he broadcasts a speech on television.

This year, apart from the announcement, he also spoke about the wars in the Middle East and Ukraine and the importance of addressing climate change.

Faced with similar challenges of modern society, like other royal families across Europe, the Danish royal family has decided to reduce its number of royals.

It caused a very public rift last year after Crown Prince Frederik's younger brother Prince Joachim stripped the children of their royal titles.

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