A New King and Queen for Denmark

Posted by on Feb 1, 2024 in Stuff You Should Know, World History

On January 14, 2024, Frederik X and his wife, Mary, became the new king and queen of Denmark. This happened after Frederik’s mother, Queen Margrethe II, abdicated, or stepped down, from the throne.  

Royalty in Denmark 

Denmark’s monarchy traces its beginnings to the 900s C.E., making it the oldest monarchy in Europe. Today, Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. The monarch is mainly a ceremonial leader. The country is governed by a constitution and a legislative body called parliament.  

The national flag of Denmark.
The national flag of Denmark.

Margrethe became Denmark’s queen on January 14, 1972, following the death of her father. On December 31, 2023, Queen Margrethe, 83, announced that she was giving up the crown because of health issues and that her son Frederik would become the new reigning monarch. Queen Margrethe is the first Danish monarch to voluntarily give up the throne in 900 years. The last time a Danish monarch resigned was in 1146 C.E., when King Erik III Lam stepped down to enter a monastery.  

An Australian Queen 

Not only is it unusual for a Danish monarch to abdicate the throne, but it is also unusual for the country’s monarch to not be Danish. King Frederik X’s wife, Denmark’s new Queen Mary, was born in Australia. Frederik and Mary met during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. They married in 2004 and have four children. Mary has embraced Danish traditions while still maintaining a strong connection to her Australian roots. She visits her homeland often. She is the first Australian ever to become a queen.  

Support for the New Royal Family 

On the day she stepped down from the throne, Queen Margrethe signed her abdication papers during a meeting with the Danish Cabinet at the Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital. Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen then proclaimed Frederik king from the balcony of the palace in front of thousands of people. The prime minister read the proclamation three times, according to tradition. King Frederick stood beside Queen Margrethe, wearing his military uniform. Queen Mary and their children then joined the king on the balcony, as the excited crowd burst into singing Denmark’s national anthem.  

What Do You Think? Do you think people in lifetime leadership roles, like monarchs or popes, should have the freedom to step down from their duties? Why or why not?