SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!


The mysterious monarch who was the last person to abdicate the Danish throne

In her annual New Year’s address, Queen Margrethe of Denmark announced that on 14 January 2024 she would be abdicating. Her son, currently known as Crown Prince Frederik would become King following her abdication. While this was an unexpected announcement from the Danish queen, she is not the first Danish monarch to abdicate. 

Eric III Lamb was King of Denmark from 1137 to 1146. He was the grandson of King Eric I of Denmark through his daughter Ragnhild, and came to the throne after his uncle, King Eric II, was murdered. 

There is relatively little known about Eric or his reign. Some historians think that his description, Lamb (or Lam in Danish), may denote a reference to his piety. He spent much of his reign working to improve the Danish church’s status, so that a reference to the Lamb of God does carry weight. Contemporary sources reflect a wide variety of opinions on both his character and his reign showing both a strong and a timid ruler. 

It is unknown why Eric abdicated the Danish throne. He died shortly afterwards so it is possible that he recognised the severity of his illness and his inability to carry out his role. 

Eric III Lamb was the only Danish monarch in history to abdicate until Queen Margrethe announced her abdication. After the abdication takes place, it will be the first time since Queen Victoria’s ascension that there has not been at least one queen regnant. 

"; n.innerHTML = "window._taboola = window._taboola || [];_taboola.push({mode:'thumbnails-a', container:'taboola-below-article-thumbnails', placement:'Below Article Thumbnails', target_type: 'mix'});"; insertAfter(t, e); insertAfter(n, t) }injectWidgetByMarker('tbmarker');

About author

Historian and blogger at