In a surprising turn of events, Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, Europe's longest-serving monarch, announced her abdication in her traditional New Year's Eve speech, after an impressive 52 years on the throne. The 83-year-old monarch will officially step down on January 14, handing over the reigns to her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik.
Unlike British royal customs, Denmark will not host an official coronation ceremony. Instead, the succession will take place on the day Crown Prince Frederik, who is currently 55 and will turn 56 in May, becomes King of Denmark and head of state, overseeing not only Denmark but also Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Crown Prince Frederik, known for his passion for environmental causes, has discreetly carved out his place in the royal sphere, championing Denmark's commitment to tackling the climate crisis. His path to the throne, however, was marked by early struggles, as he struggled with media attention and the weight of royal expectations.
From rebellious prince to philanthropist
Originally seen as a rebellious, fun-loving prince, Frederik's image began to change after he graduated from Aarhus University in 1995. Serving in the Frogman Marine Corps and undertaking adventurous expeditions, such as skiing 3,500 kilometers across Greenland, showed his maturation.
Frederik's commitment to people and the nation is evident in the establishment of a foundation that supports political science students for one-year studies at Harvard, as well as funding scientific expeditions to Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Celebrating his 50th birthday, Crown Prince Frederik initiated the "Royal Run," a running event held in five Danish cities. The event saw enthusiastic participation from not only the royal family but also over 70,000 Danes, turning it into a cherished tradition that, regrettably, was canceled only during the pandemic.
Approachable and down-to-earth, Crown Prince Frederik, who speaks English, French and German, is often described as closer than his mother. His wife, Mary Donaldson, an Australian lawyer whom he met during the 2000 Olympics, participates in his active public life.
Together they have four children – Christian, Vincent, Isabella and Josephine. Denmark anticipates the coronation of Crown Prince Frederik, his dedication to people, commitment to environmental causes, and down-to-earth persona signal a promising era for the this scandinavian country.