Lazy eyes listen
Margrethe II, Denmark’s longest-reigning queen, legally abdicated the throne on Sunday afternoon, as crowds gathered in Copenhagen to witness the royal succession to her eldest son, now King Frederik X.
Margrethe surprised the Scandinavian country on New Year’s Eve when she announced her desire to abdicate the throne after more than five decades as Queen, making her the first Danish monarch to do so in nearly 900 years. Her abdication occurs 52 years to the day after she took the throne following the death of her father, King Frederik IX.
The 83-year-old cited health concerns as the basis for her historic decision, which came three months after she had back surgery in February.
“The Queen has been here and she has been on the throne for more than 50 years,” Danish royal expert Thomas Larsen told the Associated Press ahead of Sunday’s abdication. “She is an extremely respected and popular figure, so people hadn’t expected this and they were in shock.”
Margrethe signed her abdication in the presence of Danish lawmakers at a state council meeting on Sunday afternoon, after which Frederik – formerly the country’s Crown Prince – officially became King.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen then declared Frederik as Denmark’s new ruler from the balcony of the capital’s Christiansborg Palace, which houses the government, parliament, and the Supreme Court. Thousands watched the proclamation from the square below.
According to the Danish newspaper Berlingske, Frederiksen was uninformed of Margrethe’s decision until shortly before the announcement, whereas Frederik was notified only three days earlier.
To mark the succession, four guns stationed at Copenhagen Harbour fired three 27-round salvos. Unlike in the United Kingdom, where King Charles III succeeded his mother Queen Elizabeth II after her death, there will be no coronation ceremony.
Despite stepping down, Margrethe keeps her royal title, resulting in the country having two Queens, as Frederik’s Australian-born wife becomes Queen Mary. Their eldest son, Christian, 18, is named Denmark’s new Crown Prince and heir to the throne.
The royal couple ascends to the throne at a moment when the monarchy has widespread popular support. According to a recent study done following Margrethe’s resignation declaration, 82% of Danes feel Frederik would do well as King, and 86% believe Mary will do the same.