New Year, New Throne: Denmark Welcomes Frederik as Margrethe II Abdicates the Throne

By: Alec Donaldson | Published: Jan 07, 2024

Citizens of Denmark were left in shock after Queen Margrethe II unexpectedly announced she would be abdicating the throne during her New Year’s speech. 

Her eldest son, Frederik Andre Henrik Christian, will become the new ruler and the first King of the Scandinavian nation in over 50 years. 

Queens Decides to Abdicate Throne

The 83-year-old Queen decided that after serving as head of Denmark for five decades, it was time to pass the reigns to her son, Crown Prince Frederik. 

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark photographed during an event at Bellevue Palace

Source: Steffi Loos/Getty Images

Margrethe stood as the longest-serving monarch in Europe before the announcement. 

Times Passes for Everyone

During the lengthy speech on New Year’s Day, Queen Margrethe alluded to the fact she has been struggling with a few health problems, which ultimately influenced her decision to step down. 

Queen of Denmark dressed in a purple coat prepares to give a speech on New Year's Day

Source: @pubity/X

“Such a long time does not pass unnoticed for anyone — not even me,” she said. “Time wears, and ailments increase.”

Five Decades as Ruler

The Queen of Denmark also mentioned a recent back surgery that made her “think about the future – whether it was time to hand over responsibility to the next generation.”

Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark, attends an event in the United Kingdom on 2nd May 1965.

Source: Mike McKeown/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“I have decided that now is the right time,” she said in her speech. “Fifty-two years after I succeeded my beloved father, I will step down as queen of Denmark,” the Queen said in the speech. 

Denmark's New King

Frederik Andre Henrik Christian, who will soon take sit as King of Denmark, is the first son of Queen Margrethe and her husband, Prince Henrik. 

Frederik smiles for a photo wearing a navy pin-stripped suit alongside his wife

Source: @HelloHkittybaby/X

Born in May 1968, Frederik became heir to the throne when he was just three, following after his mother became Denmark’s monarch in January 1972. 

Life of a Danish Prince

Frederik is well-educated, having studied at prestigious schools in Denmark, France, and the United Kingdom. 

Danish Crown Prince Frederik and his bride, Princess Mary, kiss during their wedding ceremony

Source: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

The soon-to-be king spent time working at the Danish Embassy in Paris and even has a military background, training with the Danish Air Force, Army, and Navy. 


First Australian Consort of Denmark

The crown prince married an Australian woman, Mary Donaldson, in 2004, and they have four children. Mary will become the first Australian consort of Denmark when Frederik is crowned king. 

Crown Prince Frederik stands beside his wife Mary and their son Christian for a photograph

Source: @RoyalCentral/X

The couple’s eldest son, Christian, will become Crown Prince Christian when his father takes over the king’s duties this month. 


Denmark Welcomes a New King

Now, at 55 years old, Frederik will officially become crowned king on January 14 and be given the title Frederik X. 

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark stands beside his Queen mother during an event

Source: @Independent/X

The name touches on Denmark’s long history, which dates back to the Viking era over 1000 years ago. According to historians, the once-great seafarers formed the Kingdom of Denmark, which includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland. 


Modern Royal Family

Like other nations worldwide, including the United Kingdom, the Danish Monarchy plays a ceremonial role in the modern era.

Members of Denmark’s royal family are pictured with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Source: @petofiszelleme/X

However, Margrethe was a popular figurehead of state and has been credited with increasing the popularity of the age-old concept of a royal family.


Beloved Queen of Denmark

The Danish queen’s popularity began during her school years. Her artistic flair and personality won over the Danish nation at a young age.

Queen of Denmark waves to a crowd from her balcony alongside many of her grandchildren

Source: Ole Jensen/Corbis/Getty Images

Even though she was next in line to become Queen at 13 years old, Margrethe earned a diploma in prehistoric archaeology and created art that would later be displayed in museums. 


Prime Minister Thanks Queen in Speech

During a speech, Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, thanked the queen for her decades of service to the nation. 

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks at an event wearing a navy suit jacket and white shirt

Source: @front_ukrainian/X

“Although the duty and role of the sovereign have been inherited for over 1,000 years, it is still difficult to comprehend that the time has come for a change of throne,” Ms. Frederiksen said.


Making History in the Nation

Frederiksen, who will be the first serving female prime minister in the nation’s history to welcome a new king, also shared a few words of sentiment for the Queen. 

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks at an event wearing a red pattern shirt

Source: @channelstv/X

“Many of us have never known another monarch. Queen Margrethe is the epitome of Denmark, and, throughout the years, has articulated the words and emotions that define us as a people and a nation throughout the years,” she said.