Denmark's Queen Margrethe II announces surprise abdication on live TV

After 52 years on throne she will be succeeded by her eldest son Crown Prince Frederik

By Reuters

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FILE. Danish Queen Margrethe. Photo: Reuters
FILE. Danish Queen Margrethe. Photo: Reuters

Published: Sun 31 Dec 2023, 9:37 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 Dec 2023, 9:40 PM

Denmark's Queen Margrethe II will abdicate on January 14 next year after 52 years on the throne and will be succeeded by her eldest son Crown Prince Frederik, she said her annual New Year's speech on Sunday.

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.

In February, she underwent a successful back surgery.

"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 in the speech.

"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," she said.

"I leave the throne to my son, Crown Prince Frederik," she said.

In Denmark, formal power resides with the elected parliament and its government. The monarch is expected to stay above partisan politics, representing the nation with traditional duties ranging from state visits to national day celebrations.

Born in 1940, Margrethe has throughout her life enjoyed broad support from Danes, who are fond of her tactful and yet creative personality.

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