Danish queen abdicates on TV


Denmark’s Queen Magrethe II unexpectedly announced her abdication on Sunday evening during a live television broadcast.

The 83-year-old monarch said during a New Year’s message that she would leave the throne on January 14 and hand it over to her son, Crown Prince Frederik. Queen Margrethe is the world’s only reigning queen and the longest-reigning monarch since the death of Queen Elizabeth II last year. On January 14, she will have been on the throne for exactly 52 years, since the death of her father, King Frederik IX, in 1972.

The queen said in her speech that she thought long and hard about her decision after she underwent back surgery early last year. “The operation made me think about the future and whether I should instead hand over the responsibility to the next generation. I decided that now is the right time.”

According to her speech, her time as queen has taken its toll and the number of ailments has increased. “A person can no longer undertake as much as before.”

She expressed her gratitude to the Danish public for their support over the years. The prime minister, Mette Frederikson, in turn thanked the queen for her service.

“On behalf of the entire population, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to her majesty the queen for her lifelong dedication and tireless service to the kingdom.”

According to a statement by the prime minister’s office, it is hard to believe that the time has now come to hand over the crown to someone else. “Many of us have never known another ruler. Queen Margrethe has become the embodiment of Denmark and through the years has articulated who we are as a nation and people.”

Unlike British royal tradition, there will be no formal coronation ceremony for Prince Frederik, 55. His ascension to the throne will instead be announced on January 14 from Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen. His wife, the Australian-born Princess Mary, will become Queen Consort, the first Australian to be given that title. The couple met in a bar during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Sources: CNN, BBC