top of page

The Abdication of Queen Margrethe

Gazing into Denmark’s royal family, Jackson Robb summarises Queen Margrethe’s abdication to the throne, the accomplishments and scandals of Denmark’s monarchy, and the undeniable legacy that Queen Margrethe has left for future generations. 


In her annual New Year's Eve address to the country, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe announced that she would abdicate her throne. The decision will take place on the 14th of January, exactly fifty-two years after she succeeded her father, King Frederik IX, and will see her firstborn son, Prince Frederik ascend to the throne as King. Despite her abdication, Queen Margrethe has become the longest-serving monarch in Europe, surpassing her third cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, upon her death in 2023 [1]. Queen Margrethe has also been the longest-serving monarch in Denmark. The decision comes after a series of surgeries to her back and tumultuous rifts within the royal family, but the queen stated in her broadcast to the people of Denmark that “[she has] decided that now is the right time.”


Whilst often overshadowed by the British royal family, Queen Margrethe’s reign has had its significant accomplishments, including her ascension to the throne. During her father's reign and shortly before her thirteenth birthday, King Frederik changed the laws that only prohibited male heirs from assuming the throne. A referendum was held and passed, allowing the young Princess Margrethe, with her global education and interests in archaeology and art, to become the next Queen of Denmark. [2] At the time, only 42 percent of Danes were still in favour of preserving the monarchy, however, upon her abdication, the monarchy had a 72 percent approval rating from the population and 78 percent said they expected Denmark to continue to have a monarchy in the next fifty years. [3]


While Queen Margrethe was instrumental in maintaining the legacy of the monarchy in Denmark, her family has been involved in several public ‘scandals’ that have also changed the way her legacy will be perceived by future generations. Her most notable decision came in 2022 when the Queen announced that her second-born son, Prince Joachim’s children must surrender their titles, a decision the prince claims to be blindsided by. Queen Margrethe was not afraid to slim down the royal family, with another decision in 2016 rocking the family as taxpayer funding was changed to support only the heirs to the throne, leaving Prince Christian’s siblings and cousins to acquire jobs when they came of age, allowing them greater access to shape their own lives. 


Following the stripping of titles, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie expressed their discontent, stating "It's never fun to see your children being mistreated like that. They find themselves in a situation they do not understand."  The Queen would later issue an apology to her son and grandchildren, stating how the decision was made as a queen, and not as a mother and grandmother [4]. Another controversy also plagued the royal family when cheating allegations were published by a Spanish magazine that alleged Prince Frederik had been unfaithful to a Mexican socialite. The family refused to comment on the “rumours and insinuations” and the woman mentioned, Genoveva Casanova, denied any romantic involvement. [5]


The Prince and his wife, Australian-born Princess Mary, are set to assume the throne in mid-January. Princess Mary is to become the first Australian monarch, despite renouncing her Australian citizenship when marrying Prince Frederik [4]. The ceremony is expected to be brief, with Queen Margrethe’s coronation only lasting five minutes, which in no way reflects the lifelong legacy she has left for Denmark. 




[1] - Wienberg, C. (2024). Denmark’s ‘smoking Queen’ who ruled the longest of anyone in its 1200-year history. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/denmark-s-smoking-queen-who-ruled-the-longest-of-anyone-in-its-1200-year-history-20240101-p5eugb.html


[2] - McDowell, E. (2024). Meet Queen Margrethe II, the reigning monarch of Denmark who is abdicating the throne after 52 years. [online] Business Insider. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/queen-margrethe-denmark-biography-abdicating-throne-2024-1


[3] - Howard, J. and Slow, O. (2023). Queen Margrethe II: Danish monarch announces abdication live on TV. www.bbc.com. [online] 31 Dec. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-67854395


[4] - Thomas, M. (2022). Danish Royal Family: Queen ‘sorry’ after stripping grandchildren’s titles. BBC News. [online] 3 Oct. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63120481.


[5]- Coates, J. (2024). Princess Mary and Prince Frederik’s new royal titles officially revealed. [online] The Canberra Times. Available at: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8475371/new-titles-for-princess-mary-and-prince-fredrik-revealed/


Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page