The longtime monarch handed over the role of ruler to her son, who became Frederick X.
Queen Margaret II of Denmark signed her historic abdication on Sunday, a step that made her son Frederick X immediately become king.
Margrethe, 83, is the first Danish monarch to voluntarily give up the throne in almost 900 years. Many thousands of people gathered outside the palace where the royal succession was taking place, in an atmosphere of jubilation like that experienced by the Nordic nation in the first royal succession in more than half a century – and not caused by the death of a monarch.
Wearing a magenta dress, Margrethe signed her abdication during a meeting with the Danish cabinet at Christiansborg Palace, a vast complex in Copenhagen that houses the royal reception rooms and royal stables, as well as the Danish Parliament, the office of the first minister and the Supreme Court.
After signing the document at a table around which royalty and members of the Danish government were seated, he stood up and motioned for his son to take his place, adding “God save the king” as he left the room.
The abdication will leave Denmark with two queens: Margrethe will retain her title while Frederik’s Australian-born wife will become Queen Mary. Frederik and Mary’s eldest son Christian, 18, will become crown prince and heir to the throne.
Citing health problems, Margrethe announced on New Year’s Eve that she would step down, stunning a nation that had expected her to live out her days on the throne, as is tradition in the Danish monarchy.
Even the Prime Minister was unaware of the Queen’s intentions until shortly before the announcement. Margrethe had informed Frederik and his younger brother Joachim only three days earlier, the Berlingske newspaper reported, citing the royal palace.
People from all over Denmark gathered in front of parliament, with many bustling streets decorated with red and white Danish flags.
Several shops had hung photos of the queen and future king, while city buses were adorned with smaller Danish flags, as is customary at royal events. Many others across the kingdom of nearly 6 million people followed the live telecast of the historic event.
The Royal Guards Marching Band made its daily parade through central Copenhagen, but wore red jackets, instead of the usual black, to mark major events.
The last time a Danish monarch voluntarily resigned was in 1146 when King Erik III Lam resigned to enter a monastery. Margrethe abdicated on the same day she ascended the throne following the death of her father, King Frederick IX.
The Danish monarchy traces its origins to the 10th-century Viking king Gorm the Elder, making it the oldest in Europe and one of the oldest in the world. Today the duties of the royal family are largely ceremonial.
Unlike the United Kingdom, there is no coronation ceremony in Denmark. The prime minister instead formally proclaims the ascension of the new monarch from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace.
Later on Sunday, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park plans to celebrate the new king and queen with the largest fireworks display in the park’s 180-year history.
A poll – commissioned by Danish public broadcaster DR – published on Friday showed that 79% of 1,037 people polled by polling firm Epinion said they believed Frederik was ready to take the reins of the program and 83% said that he believes his wife Mary is ready to do so. become queen. The survey’s margin of error was 3 percentage points, DR said.