Denmark Anticipates New King As Queen Margrethe To Step Down
Denmark’s reigning monarch, Queen Margrethe II, who holds the record for the longest royal tenure, is set to abdicate the throne on Sunday, passing it to her eldest son Frederik. Tens of thousands of Danes are anticipated to gather in Copenhagen to witness this historic succession after Margrethe’s surprising New Year’s Eve announcement, marking the first abdication by a Danish monarch in nearly nine centuries.
The event is expected to draw people from all corners of Denmark, reflecting the immense popularity of the monarchy. The royal family, seen as a symbol of Danish identity, resonates deeply with the citizens, embodying fairytales and traditions, as evoked by 59-year-old Anna Karina Laursen, who referenced the renowned fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen.
The transition will see Crown Prince Frederik, aged 55, and his Australian-born wife Mary, aged 51, who will assume the title of queen, depart the royal palace at 12:35 GMT in a 1958 Rolls-Royce. Shortly thereafter, Queen Margrethe, aged 83, will follow in a horse-drawn carriage, marking her final journey as the reigning monarch through Copenhagen’s streets.
Unlike the British tradition, there won’t be a formal coronation. Instead, the actual handover will occur around 13:00 GMT, as Queen Margrethe signs the abdication declaration during a Council of State meeting at parliament. Key participants include the government, Crown Prince Frederik, and his 18-year-old son Christian, the new heir to the throne.
Approximately an hour later, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will announce the new king from the parliament balcony, and Frederik will deliver a brief speech. The newly crowned king and queen will then return to the palace in a carriage.
The Amalienborg complex, home to both the outgoing queen and the incoming royal couple, has experienced a surge in demand. The nearby Scandic hotel sold out of rooms within two hours of Margrethe’s abdication announcement, witnessing a 50% increase in bookings compared to a typical mid-January weekend, according to commercial director Klaus Johansen.
Queen Margrethe, who had previously indicated her intention to remain on the throne for life, did not provide a specific reason for her abdication. However, she mentioned that a significant back surgery in February of the previous year prompted her to contemplate her future.
Speculating on her decision, historian Lars Hovbakke Sorensen suggested that Margrethe may believe Prince Frederik is ready to assume leadership. At 55, the queen may have wished to avoid a scenario reminiscent of Britain’s Prince Charles, who ascended to the throne at 73 after Queen Elizabeth’s death.
The new Danish royal couple takes the throne amidst widespread public support for the monarchy. Surveys conducted after the queen’s abdication announcement revealed that 82% of Danes expect Frederik to perform well or very well in his new role, with 86% expressing similar confidence in Mary.