Denmark welcomes new King after abdication of Queen Margrethe II

Denmark has welcomed its new King after Queen Margrethe II formally abdicated.

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Copenhagen to celebrate her son, Frederik X, taking the throne.

He has officially been proclaimed by the Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace – the Danish parliament.

The new King gave a speech from the balcony before being joined by his wife, Queen Mary, and their four children. The King and Queen shared a royal kiss on the balcony.

Pictures show people have gathered as far as the eye can see to show their support, waving flags and cheering.

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, centre, signs a declaration of abdication in the meeting of the Council of State at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, Sunday (Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

On New Year’s Eve, Margrethe made a surprise announcement that she would be stepping down as monarch after spending 52 years as the Queen of Denmark.

The 83-year-old was the longest-serving monarch in Danish history and the first in almost 900 years of the country’s history to voluntarily abdicate.

Queen Margrethe said in her New Year’s Eve address that undergoing back surgery in 2023 led to “thoughts about the future”.

A view of the the crowd gathered at Christiansborg Palace Square in Copenhagen, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024. Queen Margrethe II has signed her historic abdication. It's a step that paves the way for her son Frederik X to immediately become king. (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)
A view of the crowd gathered at Christiansborg Palace Square in Copenhagen (Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

Signing the abdication declaration at a meeting with the Danish government at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen means her 55-year-old son automatically became King Frederik X.

Frederik’s Australian-born wife, Mary, 51 – who is the daughter of Scottish immigrants – has become the new queen.

King Charles and Queen Camilla have sent their “very best wishes” to King Frederik X and Queen Mary of Denmark on the day of their accession to the throne.

Charles wrote a message, shared by Buckingham Palace, in which he also paid tribute to “the many years of service” of Frederik’s mother, and Europe’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Margrethe II.

He wrote: “My wife joins me in writing to convey our very best wishes on the day of your accession to the throne of the Kingdom of Denmark.

“I look forward to working with you on ensuring that the enduring bond between our countries, and our families, remains strong, and to working together with you on issues which matter so much for our countries and the wider world.

“I pay tribute to the many years of service of your mother, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II, and remember fondly the frequent visits between our countries, including our visit to Copenhagen and Elsinore in 2012.

“I was delighted that Your Majesties were able to attend our coronation last year and I much look forward to future opportunities to celebrate the close connection that unites our countries and our families.”