Denmark has a new monarch after Queen Margrethe II signed an instrument of abdication on Saturday, ending her 50-year reign. Her eldest son, Frederik, has ascended the throne as King Frederik X in a historic transition for the Danish royal family.
Queen Signs Abdication After Announcing Decision Weeks Ago
On January 1st, 2024, Queen Margrethe II announced in her annual New Year’s speech that she had decided to step down from the throne. The 83-year-old monarch cited her advancing age as the reason for her abdication. She made her final public appearance as Queen three days later.
The signed instrument of abdication was countersigned on Saturday morning by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the State Council meeting at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. This formalized the Queen’s decision to stand down.
In a statement, Queen Margrethe said “With my signature, I confirm my abdication of the throne of Denmark in favor of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik.” The palace also released a photo of the historic moment.
Prince Frederik Becomes King as Denmark Transitions to New Monarch
With Queen Margrethe’s abdication now formalized, her son Frederik automatically becomes the new King. The palace announced that the 54-year-old monarch will reign as King Frederik X.
King Frederik X marked the new reign by appearing on the balcony of Amalienborg Palace with his wife Queen Mary, waving to crowds who had gathered to witness the historic transition of power.
“I am so moved and grateful for the support,” King Frederik X told the assembled well-wishers. “My wife and I will serve Denmark to the utmost of our abilities.”
Denmark is now set to officially proclaim Frederik as monarch at a ceremony at Parliament later on Saturday. He will take an oath to uphold the constitution at a formal accession ceremony alongside Queen Mary.
New Reign Ushers In Fresh Era for Danish Monarchy
Queen Margrethe II was beloved by Danes during her long reign and presided over a period of stability and prosperity for Denmark.
King Frederik now takes the throne at a time of transition for Europe’s oldest continuous monarchy. His ascension is expected to usher in a more modern, streamlined Danish royal family focused on fewer working royals.
|Reign Lengths of Recent Danish Monarchs
|Christian X: 1912-1947 (35 years)
|Frederick IX: 1947-1972 (25 years)
|Margrethe II: 1972-2024 (50 years)
At 54 years old, King Frederik is expected to have a long reign ahead of him. He has been Crown Prince for many years and is well prepared to take on his royal duties as monarch.
Queen Margrethe will retain her title and is expected to remain active despite abdicating the throne to her son. She will continue residing at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen.
Australian-Born Queen Mary Prepares for New Role
Queen Mary was born Mary Donaldson in Australia and met Crown Prince Frederik during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Their fairytale romance culminated in a royal wedding in Copenhagen Cathedral in 2004.
The new Queen Consort trained as a real estate agent in Australia and owned her own agencies before moving to Denmark. The down-to-earth Queen has won over Danes and enjoys widespread popularity.
Queen Mary marked her new title by stunning in an all-white ensemble today as she greeted crowds outside Amalienborg Palace. She embraced her new role by kissing King Frederik publicly in a rare show of affection.
Observers expect Queen Mary to continue focusing attention on promoting Danish culture and arts globally. She is also involved in humanitarian work and aims to raise awareness of health and wellness issues.
Denmark Starts New Chapter After Queen Margrethe’s Reign Ends
Queen Margrethe II’s abdication signals the end of an era for Denmark after her 50 years as monarch. She celebrated her Golden Jubilee marking 50 years on the throne in 2022.
The popular Queen now steps back to make way for a new generation of the Danish royal family. Her reign encompassed a period of rising prosperity for Denmark and its emergence as a confident, modern nation.
King Frederik X now inherits the throne at a time of global instability and faces significant challenges. However, Denmark remains a symbol of steady, compassionate and effective governance and sets an example amid turbulence in the world.
Observers will be watching closely to see if King Frederik and Queen Mary can build on Queen Margrethe II’s legacy and usher in a new period of stability for Denmark. After a reign spanning half a century, Queen Margrethe II leaves large shoes for her successor to fill even as she passes the torch to a new era.
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