Queen of Denmark says she will abdicate the throne after 52 years

Queen Margrethe of Denmark announced she will abdicate her role after serving 52 years on the throne, paving the way for her son to lead the country’s monarchy.

The queen made her announcement in her annual New Year’s Eve address tonight, assuring the Danish people that it was the right decision.

“I have decided that now is the right time,” she said, according to the English transcript of the speech. “On 14 January 2024 — 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father — I will step down as Queen of Denmark. I leave the throne to my son Crown Prince Frederik.”

A coronation date for Frederik was not announced.

Queen Margrethe was the longest-serving monarch in Europe following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II last year, having taken the throne in 1972. According to the Danish royal family’s website, the country passed a change to the succession law in 1953 that allowed women to rule, but only secondarily.

Queen Margrethe II announces her coming abdication Sunday in a New Year’s speech from Christian IX’s Palace, Amalienborg Castle, in Copenhagen, Denmark.Keld Navntoft / Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Earlier this year she had to have back surgery, which she said forced her to rethink her position in the monarchy.

“Everything went well, thanks to the competent health personnel, who took care of me,” she said. “Inevitably, the operation gave cause to thoughts about the future — whether now would be an appropriate time to pass on the responsibility to the next generation.”

Frederik, who is married with four children, graduated from Denmark’s Aarhus University and studied for a post-graduate degree in political science at Harvard University. He also served in the Danish military and in 2010 was appointed as commander in the navy as well as a colonel in the army and the air force.


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