After 52 years, Queen Margrethe II abdicated on Sunday and made way for her son Frederik. The change of throne is not a cause for doubt about the monarchy.
If you want to see the treasures of the Danish monarchy, you have to go underground. Under Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen they lie in a treasury secured with thick armored doors. Crowns, jewels and scepters worn by Denmark’s kings, whose empire once stretched across large parts of northern Europe.
The crowns of the Danish royal family are well protected, but no longer in use.
But no one needs the trappings of power today, explains historian Emma Rønberg Paaske. “With the transition to democracy and our constitutional monarchy, we have jettisoned both coronations and anointings and moved to proclamation.”
Oldest monarchy in Europe
Denmark is considered the oldest monarchy in Europe. From the Viking Age to today, more than 50 queens and kings have sat on the throne. But no one needs that anymore today. But one thing, historian Paaske believes, has always remained the same throughout the long history of the Danish monarchy. “It is extremely important whether the king or the queen is popular. And it makes a difference whether we ask about the monarchy or members of the royal family. At the moment, people support the royal family significantly more than the monarchy such.”
Danes like their queen
According to a recent survey, 70 percent of Danes are in favor of retaining the monarchy. These approval ratings have a lot to do with Denmark’s queen. The monarch has grown dear to many people. Also because, in addition to tradition, it has always retained its own peculiarities. “She has remained human. She reaches out to others,” says Annette from Copenhagen, adding that the monarchy is not at all out of date. “It’s part of our history. We don’t want to miss it. We are royalists!”
When the changing of the guard takes place at midday at Amalienborg Palace, one of many palaces owned by the royal family, it attracts many tourists. The monarchy is also an advertising medium for the country. And yet she is more. Every year when the Danish Parliament meets, the royal family is there. Because the Queen, as head of state, appoints the government.
meaning for that Sense of community
The author Thomas Larsen has been following the royal family in Denmark for many years in his books. He believes their importance should not be underestimated. “The royal family creates a sense of community. Something that we lack in very polarizing times with deep divisions. Politically, the royal family can also help to unite the country.”
A task that now falls to Crown Prince Frederik. Earlier than expected. Because of the surprising abdication of his mother Margrethe due to health problems, he will be proclaimed Frederik X on Sunday – Denmark’s new king. A task that he took a long time to prepare for.
Ready for the crown: Frederik and his wife Mary
Great expectations for Frederik
And yet Frederik is different from his mother. He likes rock instead of classical music, and sports instead of big speeches. “Queen Margrethe knew almost everything about our history and was particularly good at explaining Denmark’s development. She did this every year in her New Year’s speeches,” said Larsen. “This will be a new challenge for Frederik. He now has to live up to the great expectations.”
Voluntary abdication – this last happened in Denmark before Margrethe almost 1,000 years ago. Their queen’s decision surprised the country. And yet people respect her decision. Margrethe II’s place in the long history of the Danish monarchy is assured. Her son and successor must now work for it for himself.