Queen Margrethe II of Denmark used her New Year’s address on Sunday to unexpectedly announce her abdication on live television.
The 83-year-old queen, who took over the throne in 1972, is the longest-serving monarch in Europe following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.
Queen Margrethe, who underwent successful back surgery last February, said that surgery “naturally gave rise to thinking about the future — whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation,” she said in her address.
“I have decided that now is the right time. On January 14, 2024 — 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father — I will step down as queen of Denmark,” she said.
She is the longest-serving monarch in Danish history, taking the throne after the death of her father, King Frederik IX, in 1972.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen thanked the queen for her service. “On behalf of the entire population, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Her Majesty The Queen for her lifelong dedication and tireless efforts for the Kingdom,” Frederiksen said in a statement.