Historic announcement: Denmark’s monarch steps down after 52-year reign

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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II

DENMARK, Jan 1: In a surprising announcement, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II revealed her decision to abdicate from her role in early 2024, concluding a reign over five decades. During her traditional New Year’s Eve speech broadcast on Danish television, the 83-year-old monarch disclosed her intention to pass the throne to her son, Crown Prince Frederik.

The Queen attributed her contemplation of the future to a back surgery undergone in February 2023. Reflecting on her 52-year reign, she acknowledged the toll time had taken on her and the increasing challenges posed by various health concerns.

“I have decided that now is the right time,” she declared. “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.”

Queen Margrethe II ascended to the throne on January 14, 1972, succeeding King Frederik IX. Following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II the previous year, she became the longest-serving monarch in Europe.

Upon Prince Frederik’s ascent to the throne in January, he will be recognized as His Majesty King Frederik X, as announced by the Danish Prime Minister’s office. His Australian-born wife, Princess Mary, will become the first Australian Queen Consort, famously meeting Prince Frederik during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

The transition of power will be proclaimed on January 14 after a Council of State meeting at Christiansborg Castle. Although Denmark’s royals have a limited constitutional role, acting as ambassadors and approving legislation, Queen Margrethe II will retain the title of Her Majesty even after the handover.

According to Reuters, the news of the abdication has resonated positively with the Danish people, as Queen Margrethe II has enjoyed broad support throughout her life. The impending change in leadership is set to captivate global attention, especially with the historic elevation of Princess Mary to the role of Queen Consort.

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