Queen Margrethe abdicates; Prince Frederik to be king
Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, the country's longest-reigning monarch, will abdicate the throne this Sunday. Her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, is poised to become the new king. Anticipation for this historic succession has sparked plans for large-scale gatherings in Copenhagen.
Announced on New Year's Eve, the Queen's decision to step down after 52 years came as a surprise to Denmark's nearly six million residents. This abdication is the first voluntary relinquishment by a Danish monarch in almost 900 years.
"The royal family embodies all that is Danish — fairy tales and traditions," said Anna Karina Laursen, 59, reflecting the sentiment of many. This reverence connects with Denmark's cultural heritage, reminiscent of famed fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen.
Crown Prince Frederik, 55, and his wife Mary, 51, will leave the royal palace in a 1958 Rolls-Royce. Queen Margrethe, 83, will follow shortly in a horse-drawn carriage, marking her final journey as monarch through Copenhagen's streets. The succession ceremony, a simpler affair compared to Britain's coronations, centers around Queen Margrethe signing her abdication declaration at the Council of State meeting in Parliament. The government, along with Frederik and his 18-year-old son Christian, the next in line for the throne, will attend this historic event.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will then declare the new king from the Parliament's balcony. Frederik is expected to address the nation briefly before he and Mary return to the palace by carriage.
The Amalienborg complex, home to both Queen Margrethe and the incoming royal couple, sits at the heart of Copenhagen. This complex, built in the 1750s, features four palaces surrounding an octagonal courtyard. Following the abdication announcement, hotels near the palace, including the Scandic, reported a significant increase in bookings.
Queen Margrethe, previously committed to a lifelong reign, cited last year's major back surgery as a factor in her decision to abdicate. Historians like Lars Hovbakke Sorensen suggest the Queen aimed to facilitate a transition to a younger monarch, avoiding the scenario of an aging king as seen with Britain's Charles III.
As Frederik and Mary step into their roles, public support for the monarchy remains robust. Recent surveys indicate high confidence in their ability to lead, underscoring the enduring popularity of Denmark's royal institution.