Home Europe Frederik X proclaimed new king of Denmark after his mother Queen Margrethe II abdicates

Frederik X proclaimed new king of Denmark after his mother Queen Margrethe II abdicates

by editor

The long-reigning monarch handed over the role of sovereign to her son, who becomes the nation’s new sovereign.


Denmark has a new king, as the nation’s prime minister proclaimed Frederik X as the monarch.

His mother, Queen Margrethe II, signed her historic abdication on Sunday – a step that made her son Frederik X immediately become king. 

Massive crowds turned out to rejoice in the throne passing from a beloved monarch to her popular son.

Margrethe, 83, is the first Danish monarch to voluntarily relinquish the throne in nearly 900 years. Many thousands of people gathered outside the palace where the royal succession was taking place, the mood jubilant as the Nordic nation experienced in first royal succession in more than a half-century – and one not caused by the death of a monarch.

Wearing a magenta outfit, Margrethe signed her abdication during a meeting with the Danish Cabinet at the Christiansborg Palace, a vast complex in Copenhagen which houses the Royal Reception Rooms and Royal Stables as well as the Danish Parliament, the prime minister’s office and the Supreme Court.

After signing the document at a table around which royals and members of the Danish government were seated, she rose and gestured to her son to take her place, adding “God save the king” as she left the room.

The abdication will leave 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.

Citing health issues, Margrethe announced on New Year’s Eve that she would step down, stunning a nation that had expected her to live out her days on the throne, as is tradition in the Danish monarchy.

Even the prime minister was unaware of the queen’s intentions until right before the announcement. Margrethe had informed Frederik and his younger brother Joachim just three days earlier, the Berlingske newspaper wrote, citing the royal palace.

People from across Denmark gathered outside parliament, with many swarming streets decorated with the red and white Danish flags. 

Several shops hung photos of the queen and king-to-be, while city buses were adorned with smaller Danish flags as is customary during royal events. Many others across the kingdom of nearly 6 million people followed a live television broadcast of the historic event.

The royal guards’ music band made their daily parade through downtown Copenhagen but wore red jackets, instead of their usual black, to mark major events.

The last time a Danish monarch voluntarily resigned was in 1146 when King Erik III Lam stepped down to enter a monastery. Margrethe is abdicating on the same day she ascended the throne following the death of her father, King Frederik IX.

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.

Unlike in the UK, there is no coronation ceremony in Denmark. The prime minister instead formally proclaims the new monarch’s ascension from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace.

Later on Sunday, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park plans to celebrate the new king and queen with the biggest fireworks show in the park’s 180-year history.

A survey – commissioned by Denmark’s public broadcaster DR – published on Friday showed that 79% of the 1,037 people polled by the Epinion polling institute said that they believed Frederik was prepared to take the reins and 83% said they thought his wife Mary was ready to become queen. The survey margin of error was 3 percentage points, DR said.

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