Denmark’s Queen Margrethe announces abdication; to be succeeded by Crown Prince Frederik

The Queen cited a back surgery in February 2023 as a reason for her decision


In a surprise announcement, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II has announced that she will abdicate after 52 years on the throne. She will be be succeeded by her eldest son Crown Prince Frederik.

Her shocking announcement came during her traditional New Year’s Eve speech broadcast on Danish television. The Queen cited a back surgery in February 2023 as giving her thoughts about the future.

"In two weeks time I have been Queen of Denmark for 52 years," she said. "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," she added.

"In February this year I underwent extensive back surgery," she said. "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. I have decided that now is the right time," she said.

"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," the Queen announced.

FILES-DENMARK-ROYALS-QUEEN Crown Prince Couple, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark |AFP

Queen Margrethe II took the throne on 14 January 1972 following the death of King Frederik IX. Upon the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, Margrethe became the longest-sitting monarch in Denmark's history.

Though Denmark’s royals have a limited role under the country’s constitution with power resting with parliament, Queen Margrethe became a popular figure in Denmark. Known for her chainsmoking habit, the Queen is also popular for her artistic talents, having translating plays and illustrated several books.

She has translated plays, including Simone de Beauvoir's 'All Men Are Mortal' with her French-born husband under a pseudonym. She has also illustrated several books, including a Danish 2002 edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings", and her paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries in Denmark and abroad.

She will be succeeded by Crown Prince Frederik, who represents the country's relaxed, liberal monarchy. "When the time comes, I will guide the ship," he said in a speech celebrating his mother's half century on the throne. "I will follow you, as you followed your father" in leading the thousand-year-old institution, Prince Frederik added.


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