With the news that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark will abdicate on 14th January 2024, the question many are asking is, should abdication be the norm?
I argue yes.
In The Netherlands, monarchs abdicate after reigning for a certain amount of years. Most recently, Queen Beatrix abdicated in April 2013 in favour of her eldest son, Williem-Alexander.
Upon her abdication, Queen Beatrix reverted to the style of princess, and Willem-Alexander became King of the Netherlands.
In due course, Willem-Alexander will step aside so that his eldest child, Princess Amalia, can take the throne. Eventually, she will do the same for her eldest child.
This has taken place in the Dutch kingdom for generations and has become the norm. The same can be said for Luxembourg, which follows a similar pattern.
Belgium, Japan and Spain have also had recent abdications of older monarchs in favour of the younger generation.
This should become the norm in other countries, and the negative stigma surrounding the idea of abdication should end.
By stepping aside in favour of the heir to the retiring monarch is able to guide the next monarch in the first years of their reign, providing advice they could not get elsewhere. They can be a vital part and counselor in the reign of their heir.
Plus, they will be able to see their child or loved one take the throne – the role they’ve waited their entire life to gain. It will be a happy coronation or investiture. This allows the new reign to begin with happiness, instead of sorrow from the death of the previous monarch.
How nice will it be to see Queen Margrethe smiling as Crown Prince Frederik becomes King Frederik X? Wouldn’t it be lovely to see King Harald at his son’s side as he becomes King Haakon or King Carl Gustaf at Victoria’s side as she starts her reign as Queen Victoria?
As we will see in January, this should be the image shown during an abdication – one of joy and celebration.