Denmark’s royal handover a far cry from King Charles’s coronation


The monarchies of Denmark and Britain do things very differently.

Copenhagen’s royal handover seems a far cry from the coronation of the King.

But both monarchies face similar existential questions. Denmark‘s solution though, isn’t something Britain wants to contemplate, for now.

On her 21st birthday the late Queen said, “I declare that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.” These solemnly spoken words were a promise she meant and kept.

When Charles gave his first public address as King, he repeated her rhetoric. “That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today,” he said.

Margrethe II of Denmark said something similar, until of course her unexpected announcement to pass the throne to her oldest son Crown Prince Frederik.

Her decision was surprising, but not unheard of. During the last decade we’ve seen abdications in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain, all of which passed without catastrophe.

More on Denmark

Crown Prince Frederik will take over as monarch

The King and Queen on their coronation day

For the House of Windsor, abdication remains a loaded word. It is a haunting reminder of Edward VIII and a moment of constitutional crisis, and irreparable family fallout.

Constitutional expert Dr Craig Prescott told Sky News, the King is facing “no immediate pressure” to take big decisions after an “assured and successful” start to his reign.

But he added: “This could become an option for the King in the years ahead, especially if, like Margrethe, he feels like he starts to slow down as he gets older.”

Dr Prescott believes this kind of abdication could provide “an opportunity to refresh the monarchy”, by allowing younger generations to take on the throne.

“There is a sense that a succession of very elderly monarchs could make a monarchy increasingly remote from the people,” he said.

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The King at 75 shows no sign of slowing down, but he is only eight years younger than Margrethe.

Read more:
Queen Margrethe’s reign in pictures
Final public appearance of Denmark’s Queen
Who is former ‘party prince’ set to be King of Denmark?

Royal historian Sir Anthony Seldon told Sky News: “The abdication of the Danish queen certainly raises up the spectre of abdication.”

But he believes the King would “never ever” step down.

“His mother very deliberately decided not to do it, he himself has waited 60 years for the top job and he’s not going to want to sacrifice that at the moment,” Sir Anthony said.

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