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Abdication of Queen Margrethe II

Queen Margrethe announces she is to abdicate after 52 years

Queen Margrethe has announced that she plans to abdicate in January 2024 during her annual New Year’s Eve speech.

In a stunning announcement, the Queen said: “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. I leave the throne to my son Crown Prince Frederik.”

Her speech touched upon the past year for Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands, and also for herself, personally. The Queen underwent extensive back surgery in February 2023 and her sick leave extended to her birthday in April, when she re-appeared on the balcony for her traditional birthday greeting.

Queen Margrethe said: “In February this year I underwent extensive back surgery. It went well, thanks to the skilled healthcare staff who took care of me. Of course, the operation also gave rise to thinking about the future—whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation.”

Crown Prince Frederik has been heir apparent to the Danish throne since 14 January 1972. He was four at the time, and will succeed at the age of 55. In keeping with Danish tradition that all monarchs are either Frederiks or Christians, he will presumably reign as King Frederik X.

Queen Margrethe has reigned for 52 years, celebrating her Golden Jubilee in 2022. She ended her speech with a thank you to her kingdom: “Thank you for the overwhelming warmth and support that I have received over the years.”

She thanked all the governments she has worked with, and added “my thanks must go to all the many, many people who, at special events, as well as in everyday life, have surrounded me and my family with loving words and thoughts. It has made these years a series of gems.”

The Queen gave a wish to Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary before signing off: “The support and assistance that I have received over the years has been decisive for me being able to carry out my task. It is my hope that the new royal couple will be met with the same trust and affection that I have received.

“They deserve it! Denmark deserves it!”

And with a final wish to all of Denmark, the Queen closed her final New Year’s Eve speech with “God preserve Denmark. God bless you all.”

You can read the full New Year’s Eve speech here.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.