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Denmark: New King Frederik X takes throne from Margarethe II

January 14, 2024

Denmark's new King Frederik X has formally taken the throne following his mother Margarethe II's recent surprise abdication announcement after 52 years as monarch.

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Denmark's King Frederik X waves from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace as Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen looks on
Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen proclaimed Frederik X as kingImage: Martin Meissner/AP Photo/picture alliance

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has proclaimed Frederik X the new King of Denmark on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace on Sunday, after Queen Margrethe II gave up the throne. 

More than 100,000 people turned out for the unprecedented event in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

The Queen finalized and signed her abdication, which was first announced in her New Year's Eve address, at a meeting with the Danish Cabinet.

Queen Margrethe II is escorted by the Guard Hussar Regiment's Mounted Squadron in the gold carriage from Amalienborg Castle to Christiansborg Castle on Sunday, Januaary 14, 2024. Close up photo of the royal carriage.
Queen Margarethe II, 83, has sat atop the throne for more than half a centuryImage: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix/IMAGO

After signing it, left the room with tears in her eyes, saying: "God bless the king."

Her 55-year-old son, Crown Prince Frederik, was then proclaimed King Frederik X at the Christiansborg Palace.

The 83-year-old Margrethe is the first Danish monarch to voluntarily step down in almost 900 years. She has reigned in the small Scandinavian country for exactly 52 years, taking the crown on January 14, 1972.

She keeps her title while Frederik's Australian-born wife becomes Queen Mary.

New king of Denmark

Margrethe makes way for King Frederik X

The crowds showed up ahead of the ceremony despite the winter chill.

A placard depicting Danish Queen Margrethe is displayed as royal horse guards pass by on the day Queen Margrethe abdicates after 52 years on the throne, and her elder son, Crown Prince Frederik, ascends the throne as King Frederik X, in Copenhagen, Denmark, January 14, 2024.
The Danish royal family tends to enjoy remarkably high approval ratings, usually above 80%, in opinion pollsImage: Wolfgang Rattay/REUTERS

Margrethe has been a very popular figure in Denmark and the news of her abdication had come as a surprise to all, including Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen who had not been made aware of the intention before her announcement.

The queen said that she had taken the decision after having health issues that resulted in her having back surgery last year.

Frederiksen will be the one to proclaim the crown prince who will become King Frederik X.

An honor guard leads the way as Denmark's Queen Margrethe II arrives at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024.
Denmark's Royal Guard Company, founded in 1657 by Frederik III, severs as the active and ceremonial protection force for the royal familyImage: Martin Meissner/AP Photo/picture alliance

Observers said that Frederik, who enjoys the support of 80% of Danes, will likely differ quite a lot from his mother. He is considered more of an informal figure.

The Danish monarch has a largely ceremonial role but is required to sign government legislation into law

lo,ab/msh (AP, AFP)