Denmark’s queen suddenly abdicates the throne on live television, her son is named heir

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II announced her sudden resignation from her 52-year-long reign during a live TV address on Sunday.

During a traditional live televised New Year’s address on Sunday, Queen Margrethe II announced she would step down from Europe’s longest reign of 52 years and succeed her son, Crown Prince Frederick.

Queen Margrethe II assumed the throne in 1972 and, at the age of 83, cited her illness as the reason for her decision to hand over the reign to a new generation.

“I have decided that the time is right. On January 14, 2024, I will step down as Queen of Denmark after 52 years succeeding my father and hand over the kingdom to my son, Crown Prince Frederik,” she said.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, Margrethe II became Europe’s longest-reigning monarch, and in July 2023 she also held the record for Denmark’s longest-reigning monarch.

Executive powers in Denmark are vested in an elected parliament and government, and the king remains aloof from politics and traditionally represents the entire country during state visits and national day celebrations.