Queen of Denmark, Europe’s longest-reining living monarch, announces surprise abdication

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II announced she will step down from the throne on Jan. 14 in a surprise New Year’s abdication address.

Margrethe II, Europe’s longest-reigning living monarch, will hand the throne to her son, Crown Prince Frederik, after 52 years in service, The Associated Press reported.

“I will leave the throne to my son, Crown Prince Frederik,” she said, in a live television address.

The 83-year-old queen said she began to think about the future after undergoing surgery on her back in early 2023.

“The surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future — whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation,” she said. “I have decided that now is the right time.”

Margrethe offered thanks to the Danish public for their support, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen thanked her for her service, while also looking ahead to 2024.

“In the new year, Crown Prince Frederik will be proclaimed king. Crown Princess Mary will become queen. The kingdom will have a new regent and a new royal couple,” he said in his statement. “We can look forward to all of this in the knowledge that they are ready for the responsibility and the task.”

Margrethe II will abdicate the throne on the same day she ascended to the role following the death of her father, King Frederick IX, at the age of 31 on Jan. 14, 1972.

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