Frederik X is the new King of Denmark. The 55-year-old former crown prince was given the throne in Copenhagen by his mother, Queen Margrethe II, who in a historic step became the first Danish head in almost 900 years to voluntarily abdicate during her lifetime.

With her signature under a corresponding declaration, the longest-serving reigning monarch in the world resigned as announced – to the day after 52 years of reign. Frederik was then celebrated by a sea of ​​cheering Danes at the proclamation of the change of throne.

“Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II has abdicated. Long live Her Majesty King Frederik X!” proclaimed Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen three times in a row from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace. Again and again loud cheers erupted among the thousands of people in front of the castle and in the adjacent streets – before the crowd, led by Frederiksen, shouted nine “Hurrah!” proclaimed in honor of the king. Countless Danish flags were waved.

New king with motto

Frederik was visibly moved and had tears in his eyes. In his first speech as the new monarch, he paid tribute to his mother as queen, who will forever be remembered as an exceptional ruler. He has approached his new task his entire life and takes on the responsibility with respect, pride and great joy, he said.

“My hope is to become a unifying king of tomorrow,” said Frederik. “I approach the future with the certainty that I am not alone.” He then ended the speech with his motto: “United, committed, for the Kingdom of Denmark.”

A huge crowd had gathered in front of the castle for the proclamation, with particularly loud cheers breaking out when Frederik’s wife, Queen Mary (51), and the couple’s four children stepped onto the balcony. Frederik in uniform and Mary, dressed in white, gave each other a loving kiss – “a real kiss for the throne,” exulted the radio station DR.

Shortly afterwards, the new royal couple drove back to the palace at Amalienborg Castle in a carriage – also accompanied by cheering crowds on the side of the road. The royal family then greeted the Palace Square, which was also packed to the brim, with a beaming smile from the balcony of their palace. In the evening, a large fireworks display at Tivoli, the venerable amusement park in the heart of Copenhagen, lit up the sky over the Danish capital.

Messages also from space

Loving messages poured in from near and far for the abdicating monarch and the new king. Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf sent a telegram in which he addressed Margrethe as “Dear Cousin Daisy” – Daisy is the queen’s nickname. Also the British King Charles III. and Norway’s King Harald V sent warm words to Copenhagen. The Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen even flagged in space: “Many thanks to Queen Margrethe for everything she has done for our country,” he wrote on social networks about a picture of the Denmark flag on board the International Space Station (ISS).

In her annual New Year’s speech, Margrethe unexpectedly announced that she would pass the throne on to her eldest son. This step was formally taken this Sunday at the moment when she signed a declaration of abdication at a meeting with the government. At that moment, Frederik went from crown prince to king, Mary from crown princess to queen and Prince Christian (18), the couple’s eldest son, became the new crown prince. Margrethe will retain her title of queen and will be able to step in as her son’s representative in the future if he is on a trip abroad or otherwise unable to attend.

Normally, it is customary for queens and kings in Scandinavia to remain on the throne throughout their lives. Unlike in the Netherlands, for example, abdications are extremely atypical: According to the royal family in Copenhagen, the last time a Danish regent voluntarily renounced the throne in this way during his lifetime was in 1146. At that time, King Erik III. Lam abdicated in order to supposedly go to a monastery, according to the court.

Margrethe had previously repeatedly emphasized that she wanted to fulfill her role until the end of her life. But then she had to undergo major back surgery in February 2023, which she said made her think about whether it wasn’t time to pass the responsibility on to the next generation. She then announced that she would hand over the throne to Frederik on January 14th – on that date in 1972 she had also inherited the throne from her father Frederik IX, who had died at the time. inherited.