Europe’s longest-reigning monarch shocks the world, abdicates throne

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II has surprised the nation by announcing her abdication in her customary New Year’s speech. The 83-year-old monarch, recognized for her love of dogs, illustration, and fashion, will pass the throne to her son, Crown Prince Frederik, on January 14, marking 52 years since she ascended to the throne in 1972, succeeding her father, King Frederik IX. She is the only queen regnant in the world, and there will be no others when she abdicates.

Queen Margrethe II in 2010. Aalborg Stift, Wiki Commons.

In her televised address, Queen Margrethe revealed that her decision stemmed from a back surgery she underwent in February. She expressed, “The surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future – whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation. I have decided that now is the right time. On 14 January 2024 – 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father – I will step down as queen of Denmark.”

The Queen surrounded by her family waving to crowds on her 70th birthday in April 2010. From left to right: the Crown Princess, Prince Felix, the Crown Prince, Prince Christian, the Queen, Prince Nikolai, Prince Henrik, Prince Joachim and Princess Isabella. Bill Ebbesen, Wiki Commons.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen extended gratitude to the queen, acknowledging her lifelong dedication and tireless efforts for the Kingdom. Margrethe, born in 1940, has enjoyed widespread support throughout her life. Known for her warm manners, linguistic skills, and talents in design, illustration, and archaeology, she often walked unescorted on the streets of Copenhagen, earning admiration from the Danish people.

Denmark – Copenhaguen, Amalienborg Castle. randreu, Wiki Commons.

Having studied in the UK at Cambridge’s Girton College and the London School of Economics, Queen Margrethe gained fame for her forward-thinking fashion sense and refusal to quit smoking. Widely respected, she celebrated her Golden Jubilee in July 2022 with various events across Denmark and, a month later, became Europe’s longest-serving monarch after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

Her husband, Prince Henrik, whom she married in 1967, passed away in 2018. Despite recent health challenges, Margrethe remained active, even attending a series of events for Queen Sonja of Norway’s 70th birthday in 2007, where she garnered praise for her brightly-colored floral raincoat.

Queen Margarethe II in 2019. Metsavend via Wiki Commons.

Royal commentator Alistair Bruce shared insights on the announcement, noting Queen Margrethe’s recent health struggles and the impact of her husband’s death on her energy levels. He suggested that the decision to step down might have been a carefully considered plan, given the challenges she faced in the aftermath of Prince Henrik’s passing and her own health concerns.

4 thoughts on “Europe’s longest-reigning monarch shocks the world, abdicates throne”

    1. I have never seen a city as clean as Copenhagen! If they want to have a queen, so be it. At least they don’t have a snotty little tyrant trying to run a state like her very own private kingdom!

      I keep expecting her to scream, “Off with their heads!!” from Santa Fe.

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