Denmark is on the brink of a historic royal transition, as Queen Margrethe II, Europe’s longest-serving monarch, announced her abdication after an illustrious 52-year reign.
The unexpected revelation, made during her traditional New Year’s Eve speech, has set the stage for Princess Mary, Australia’s own, to ascend as the next Queen of Denmark alongside her husband, Crown Prince Frederik.
In a poignant moment, the 83-year-old Queen reflected on her decision, citing a successful back operation earlier in the year that prompted contemplation about the future.
“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.
“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.”
This unexpected turn of events places Princess Mary, beloved for her elegance, compassion, and charitable endeavours, at the forefront of Denmark’s royal legacy.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen thanked the queen for her life-long dedication to duty.
“It is still difficult to understand that the time has now come for a change of throne,” Frederiksen said in a statement.
“Queen Margrethe is the epitome of Denmark and throughout the years has put words and feelings into who we are as a people and as a nation.
“In the new year, Crown Prince Frederik will be proclaimed king. Crown Princess Mary will become queen.
“The kingdom will have a new regent and a new royal couple. We can look forward to all of this in the knowledge that they are ready for the responsibility and the task.”
As Queen Margrethe II passes the torch to her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, the ascension of Princess Mary to the role of queen captures the imagination of not only Denmark but the world.
As the nation prepares for this significant change, the spotlight shines brightly on the Crown Prince Frederik and Mary.
The Australian-born princess, who captured the heart of the Danish heir during the 2000 Olympics, is set to make history as the first Aussie to take the title of queen.