The Abdication of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and The Accession of King Frederik X of Denmark

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  • Post published:January 9, 2024
  • Post category:News

by Susan Flantzer
© Unofficial Royalty 2024

Note: This article will be updated after the events and photographs of the events will be added.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark; Photo: Per Morten Abrahamsen ©

In her New Year’s Speech on December 31, 2023, 83-year-old Queen Margrethe II of Denmark announced that she would abdicate the throne on January 14, 2024, the 52nd anniversary of her accession and the death of her father King Frederik IX. After her abdication, Margrethe will hold the style and title Her Majesty Queen Margrethe.

Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on September 8, 2022, Queen Margrethe II has been Europe’s longest-reigning monarch, the world’s only Queen Regnant, and the longest-serving incumbent female head of state.

Queen Margrethe II had previously said she would never abdicate the throne. In 2012, as she celebrated forty years on the Danish throne, Queen Margrethe II said, “I will remain on the throne until I fall off.” It is thought that no one was aware of Queen Margrethe II’s plan to abdicate with the exception of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, the second woman to be Prime Minister of Denmark and the youngest prime minister in Danish history, her first cousin King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (Margrethe’s mother Ingrid and Carl Gustaf’s father Gustaf Adolf were siblings, the children of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and Princess Margaret of Connaught who died before her husband became king), and a few unnamed people.

Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik; Photo: Hasse Nielsen ©

Queen Margrethe II’s elder son Crown Prince Frederik will become His Majesty King Frederik X of Denmark and his Australian-born wife Crown Princess Mary will become Her Majesty Queen Mary of Denmark.

Prince Christian; Photo: Dennis Stenild ©

Already styled as His Royal Highness, Frederik and Mary’s elder son Prince Christian (born 2005) will become His Royal Highness Crown Prince Christian of Denmark, the heir to the Danish throne.

Queen Margrethe II announces that she will abdicate during her New Year’s Speech

In her New Year’s Speech, Queen Margrethe II stated:

In two weeks time I have been Queen of Denmark for 52 years. Such an amount will leave its mark on anybody – also on me! The time takes its toll, and the number of “ailments” increases. One cannot undertake as much as one managed in the past.

In February this year I underwent extensive back surgery. Everything went well, thanks to the competent health personnel, who took care of me. Inevitably, the operation gave cause to thoughts about the future – whether now would be an appropriate time to pass on the responsibility to the next generation.

I have decided that now is the right time. On 14th January 2024 – 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father – I will step down as Queen of Denmark. I will hand over the throne to my son Crown Prince Frederik.

The last Danish monarch to voluntarily abdicate was King Erik III in 1146. The reasons for Erik III’s abdication are unclear. His abdication has been explained as his realization of his inability to govern or an illness that ultimately killed him. After abdicating, Erik III entered St. Canute’s Abbey in Odense, Denmark, where he died on August 27, 1146, soon after his abdication, and was buried at St. Canute’s Abbey.


Abdications in the 21st Century

King Juan Carlos of Spain signing his abdication law, witnessed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajo; Credit – By Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain, Attribution,

Before the abdication of Queen Margrethe II, in the 21st century, there were nine voluntary abdications. Except for one abdication due to illness, the abdications occurred to pass the throne to the heir sooner. In Luxembourg and the Netherlands, there is a history of such abdications. In Luxembourg, although Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde abdicated in 1919 in favor of her sister Charlotte due to political reasons, Grand Duchess Charlotte abdicated in favor of her son Jean and Grand Duke Jean abdicated in favor of his son Henri. In the Netherlands, the last three monarchs, all Queens – Wilhelmina, Juliana, and Beatrix – abdicated in favor of their heirs. With people living longer, it may be likely that we will see more monarchs abdicating to pass their thrones to their heirs sooner.

  • October 7, 2000 – Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg abdicated in favor of his son Henri.
  • October 7, 2004 – King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated in favor of his son Norodom Sihamoni.
  • January 4, 2005 – Emir Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah of Kuwait abdicated due to illness. The Kuwaiti Cabinet nominated Prime Minister Sabah bin Ahmad Al-Sabah to become the next Emir.
  • December 9, 2006 – King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan abdicated in favor of his son Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck.
  • April 30, 2013 – Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated in favor of her son Willem-Alexander.
  • June 25, 2013 – Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar abdicated in favor of his son Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
  • July 21, 2013 – Albert II, King of the Belgians abdicated in favor of his son Philippe.
  • June 19, 2014 – King Juan Carlos I of Spain abdicated in favor of his Felipe VI.
  • April 30, 2019 – Emperor Akihito of Japan abdicated in favor of his son Naruhito.


Events on Sunday, January 14, 2024

Christiansborg Palace; Credit – By Johannes Jansson/, CC BY 2.5 dk,

The succession of King Frederik X will take place during a meeting of the Council of State at Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish Parliament, in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, at the moment Queen Margrethe II has signed the declaration of her abdication. Denmark does not have a coronation. Denmark formerly had a coronation but in 1660, the coronation was replaced with a ceremony of anointing. The new monarch would arrive at the coronation site already wearing the crown and was then anointed.

Queen Margrethe II and her husband Prince Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark  wave from the balcony at Christiansborg Palace on January 15, 1972 after the proclamation of her succession to the Danish throne. The couple’s two young sons Frederik and Joachim can be seen.

The ceremony of anointing was abolished with the introduction of the Danish Constitution in 1849, and a simple proclamation has been used since then. Denmark does have regalia but it plays no role in the ceremonies for a new monarch. Now, a public announcement of a new monarch’s accession is made from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace. The new king or queen is presented and proclaimed by the Prime Minister, followed by a ninefold “hurrah” by the crowds below.

Amalienborg; Credit – By Rob Deutscher from Melbourne, Australia – Amalienbor Plads and Opera House_Copenhagen, CC BY 2.0,

Amalienborg in Copenhagen, Denmark is the official residence of the Danish royal family. It consists of four identical classical palaces around an octagonal square. Frederik VIII’s Palace is the northeastern palace and has been the home of the future King Frederik X and Queen Mary since their marriage in 2004. Christian IX’s Palace is the southeastern palace and has been the home of Queen Margrethe II since 1967. Both King Frederik X and his family and Queen Margrethe II will remain at their respective homes.

Below is the program for the abdication of Queen Margrethe II and the accession of King Frederik X. The times listed are Danish times.

13:35 – Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, and their elder son Prince Christian will leave their home Frederik VIII’s Palace, Amalienborg in Copenhagen, and travel by car to Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen.

13:37 – Queen Margrethe II will leave her home Christian IX’s Palace, Amalienborg in Copenhagen, and travel by carriage to Christiansborg Palace escorted by the Guard Hussar Regiment.

14:00 – Queen Margrethe II, Crown Prince Frederik, and Prince Christian will met with the Council of State at Christiansborg Palace. The succession of the Danish throne takes place during the Council of State meeting at the moment when Queen Margrethe II has signed a declaration of her abdication. Frederik will become King of Denmark and Christian will become  Crown Prince of Denmark.

14:15 – Queen Margrethe will leave Christiansborg Palace and travel by car to her home Christian IX’s Palace, Amalienborg.

14:30 – King Frederik X and Queen Mary will hold a reception for invited people at Christiansborg Palace.

15:00 – King Frederik X will be proclaimed from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace. King Frederik X will step out on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will proclaim King Frederik X’s accession to the throne. King Frederik X will speak and announce his motto.

15:10 – After the proclamation, an honorary cannon salute will be fired from the Sixtus Battery at Holmen Naval Base in Copenhagen.

15:10 – After the proclamation, the royal standard will be lowered at Queen Margrethe’s home Christian IX’s Palace and then raised at King Frederik X’s home Frederik VIII’s Palace, Amalienborg.

15:30 – After the proclamation, King Frederik X and Queen Mary will ride in a carriage, escorted by the Guard Hussar Regiment’s mounted squadron, from Christiansborg Palace to their home Frederik VIII’s Palace, Amalienborg.

17:00 – The royal colors will be transferred from Queen Margethe’s home Christian IX’s Palace to Frederik VIII’s Palace, King Frederik X’s home.


Event on Monday, January 15, 2024

Danish Parliament chamber in Christiansborg Palace; Credit – By Antony-22 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

10:00 – The Royal Family will participate in the Danish Parliament’s celebration of the succession of the throne. During a meeting at Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish Parliament, Speaker of the Parliament Søren Gade and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will deliver speeches and the Prime Minister will read an announcement from King Frederik X to the Danish Parliament. Afterward, the Royal Family and members of Parliament will take part in a reception.


Event on Sunday, January 21, 2024

Aarhus Cathedral; Credit – Wikipedia

14:00 – The Royal Family will participate in a celebratory church service at Aarhus Cathedral in Aarhus, Denmark, an Evangelical Lutheran church, sometimes called the Church of Denmark, the established, state-supported church in Denmark. The service will be led by Henrik Wigh-Poulsen, Royal Chaplain-in-Ordinary and Bishop of the Diocese of Aarhus  and attended by various Danish officials and representatives from the City of Aarhus.

Read more about the Danish monarchy at Unofficial Royalty: Kingdom of Denmark Index

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Works Cited

  • Flantzer, Susan. (2023). Which monarchies have coronations? What succession ceremonies do other monarchies have?. Unofficial Royalty.
  • Mehl, Scott. (2014). Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Unofficial Royalty.
  • Programme for the Succession of the Throne. Kongehuset (Danish Royal House). (2024).
  • Read HM The Queen’s New Year Address 2023. Kongehuset (Danish Royal House).
  • Wikimedia Foundation. (2024). Abdication of Margrethe II. Wikipedia.

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