Denmark: Queen Margrethe announces abdication

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has announced that she will abdicate on 14 January 2024, her 52nd anniversary as reigning monarch, and pass the throne on to her son Frederik. Europe's longest-serving monarch surprised her subjects with the news in her 2023 New Year's Eve speech. Commentators pay tribute to Margrethe's achievements and take stock of her successor.

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Berlingske (DK) /

A smart and timely decision

Berlingske is impressed:

“The queen has made a brave decision a the right time and with forethought. Only she knows when she no longer feels able to fulfil her duty with the energy it requires. That time has now come. ... The queen has never allowed herself to be swayed by other people's opinions. Nor is she doing so now, with her unusual decision. But the path the Queen has chosen could well be the best way to secure the future of our monarchy.”

Politiken (DK) /

Frederik could be the climate king

Politiken expects the new King Frederik X to show great commitment to nature and the environment:

“How admirable it would be if Frederik could make himself king of the fight to save the climate. With his travels in Greenland and expeditions with the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol [of the Danish Armed Forces in Greenland], he has shown that he has a special relationship with nature and the climate. ... How wonderful it would be if Denmark's future king were able to formulate a new and modern view of nature that could restore a shared respect for our shared Earth.”

The Times (GB) /

A well-timed handover

Queen Margrethe II has served her country well, says The Times:

“Her television announcement that she is to abdicate ... has taken her country by surprise, causing much regret but also widespread appreciation for her difficult task over the years in transforming one of Europe's most stilted and hidebound monarchies into one where an informal royal family has embraced television, given interviews, made many spontaneous visits, published news on Instagram and entertained Danes from all walks of life. ... Queen Margrethe, even at 83, seems resolutely modern. She gave up her 60-a-day smoking only recently; she has worked as a costume designer and Tolkien illustrator; she has changed her country's image for the better. She deserves a happy retirement.”