Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark attend a gala dinner at the Christiansborg Palace on 6 November 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
- After 52 years on the throne, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II will abdicate on Sunday.
- Power will be handed over to her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, who will take the name Frederik X.
- Here are five things to know about the Danish monarchy.
After 52 years on the throne, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II will abdicate on Sunday, handing over power to her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, who will take the name Frederik X.
Here are five things to know about the Danish monarchy.
READ MORE | An artistic monarch, a woke prince and a modern future queen: Getting to know the Danish royals
This is only the second time that a Danish sovereign has abdicated – the last being Erik III almost nine centuries ago in 1146.
Since the death of Britain’s Elizabeth II, Margrethe has been the longest-reigning monarch in Europe, as well as the only woman monarch who did not get her title through marriage.
Denmark’s monarchy is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to the Viking Age.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark attends a gala dinner at Christiansborg Palace on 6 November 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
It has been a kingdom since the reign of Gorm the Old, who died around 958 and was succeeded by his son Harald Bluetooth, whose name was borrowed for the Bluetooth wireless technology – with the symbol being a merger of the runes for his initials.
However, Margrethe II’s lineage is from the House of Glucksburg, a branch of the German House of Oldenburg, which has ruled Denmark since 1448.
She would not have been queen if the rules of succession had not been changed in 1953 – when she was 13 – to allow women to take the throne.
A king without a crown
Fredrik X will become king by proclamation and will not wear the crown of Denmark, which is on display at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen.
The full coronation was substituted for an anointing in the 17th century when the monarchy became hereditary, but the ritual was then abolished in 1849 with the adoption of the Danish constitution.
Contrary to traditions of other European monarchies, the Danish sovereign does not take an oath and there is no ceremony bringing together heads of state and foreign-crowned heads.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, King Felipe VI of Spain, Queen Margrethe of Denmark and Queen Letizia of Spain attend a gala dinner at the Christiansborg Palace on 6 November 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Margrethe II has been credited with modernising the image of the monarchy during her 52-year reign, but she has also tightened it up.
Last year, she sparked a public spat within her own family when she stripped her youngest son’s four children of royal titles in order for them “to be able to shape their own existence without being limited by… a formal affiliation with the Royal House”.
The children of the new sovereign couple will retain their titles, but when they reach adulthood, only the eldest will keep theirs.
Margrethe II was able to win the hearts of Danes and unite them behind the monarchy.
When she ascended the throne in 1972, only 45 percent supported the monarchy, with the remainder believing that royal dynasties were unsuited to a modern democracy.
Today, the proportion of monarchists has risen to over 80 percent, and over 80 percent of Danes also believe that her abdication was the right decision.
Four out of five Danes believe that the new monarch, famous for his passion for sports and championing the environment, will be a good king.
Despite having mostly symbolic powers, the Danish monarch is also the head of state. And every year, the government allocates money to run the royal court.
The purse is now set at 121.4 million kroner ($17.8 million), but experts believe the cost of the royal family is at least three times this when the upkeep of residences and the royal yacht Dannebrog is taken into account.
Which would mean the cost of the royal household could be around nine euros a year to each and every Dane.