In a surprising New Year’s announcement, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II revealed her decision to abdicate after 52 years of reign, passing the throne to her son, Crown Prince Frederik. The abdication is set for January 14th, marking the anniversary of her own accession to the throne in 1972.
Queen Margrethe, Europe’s longest-reigning living monarch at 83, cited reflections on the future following back surgery in early 2023 as the reason for her decision. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen expressed gratitude for the queen’s lifelong dedication and acknowledged her significant role in shaping Denmark’s identity.
Known for her warmth and approachability, Queen Margrethe has been a popular figure in Denmark, where the monarch’s role is largely ceremonial. Despite facing health challenges, she remained active in her duties, crisscrossing the country and visiting semi-independent territories, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands.
Crown Prince Frederik, set to become king, has served as regent since the age of 18 and has undertaken official duties on behalf of his mother. His wife, Crown Princess Mary, will assume the title of queen.
The queen’s announcement, made during her New Year’s speech, marked a poignant moment for Denmark, ending an era and ushering in a new chapter with Crown Prince Frederik at the helm.