Denmark has new King as Queen abdicates in historic moment for Europe’s oldest monarchy


Denmark has a new king following the historic abdication of the country’s longest-reigning monarch Queen Margrethe II.

Thousands of people converged on central Copenhagen for the succession where the 83-year-old passed on the throne to her eldest son with the signing of a declaration in parliament.

King Frederik X is now the head of Europe’s oldest monarchy.

The new King Frederik is proclaimed by Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen

The monarch and his wife, Queen Mary, are greeted by the crowds

The former crown prince, 55, was then formally proclaimed king by the country’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace in the heart of the Danish capital.

Unlike in the UK, there is no coronation ceremony in Denmark.

King Charles and and Queen Camila have sent their “very best wishes” to the royal couple.

Charles wrote: “I look forward to working with you on ensuring that the enduring bond between our countries, and our families, remains strong, and to working together with you on issues which matter so much for our countries and the wider world.”

He also paid tribute to “the many years of service” of Frederik’s mother.

Margrethe stunned the nation of nearly six million on New Year’s Eve when she announced her decision to abdicate after 52 years as queen, becoming the first Danish sovereign in nearly 900 years to do so.

She cited health reasons having undergone major back surgery last February.

The historic signing saw the passing of the Danish throne

Danish royal expert Thomas Larsen said: “The queen has been here and she has been on the throne for more than 50 years. And she is an extremely respected and popular figure, so people hadn’t expected this and they were in shock.”

Karen Holk Jeppesen, 31, a communications consultant who had travelled to Copenhagen for the royal occasion, said: “I was in shock and started crying when the queen said on New Year’s Eve she would abdicate.

“It’s very rare to witness a real historical moment that you know will be written about in the history books.”

The abdication comes 52 years to the day after Margrethe ascended the throne following the death of her father, King Frederik IX.

It leaves Denmark with two queens. Margrethe will keep her title while Frederik’s Australian-born wife will become Queen Mary.

Frederik and Mary’s eldest son Christian, 18, will become crown prince and heir to the throne.

The last time a Danish monarch voluntarily resigned was in 1146, when King Erik III Lam stepped down to enter a monastery.

Read more:
Queen Margrethe’s reign in pictures

Who is the former ‘party prince’ and Denmark’s new monarch?

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‘I will step down as Denmark’s queen’

Denmark’s monarchy traces its origins to 10th-century Viking king Gorm the Old, making it the oldest in Europe and one of the oldest in the world.

Today the royal family’s duties are largely ceremonial.

The new King and Queen will take the throne at a time of huge public support and enthusiasm for the monarchy.

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