Queen Margrethe abdicated the throne after 52 years
Shortly after Queen Margrethe officially stepped down by signing a declaration of her abdication on Sunday, King Frederik stepped out solo on the palace balcony. He waved to the cheering crowds from the balcony, looking emotional and wiping away tears.
Denmark's prime minister then stepped forward and proclaimed the change of reign from the balcony at Christiansborg Castle.
King Frederik, 55, gave a short speech and announced his royal motto.
He was then joined by his wife, Queen Mary. She wore a white ensemble for her first appearance as Queen.
After that, all four of the couple's children — Crown Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine — appeared on the balcony to wave to the crowds.
The crowd cheered when King Frederik and Queen Mary shared a kiss.
The signing of the abdication declaration and the following proclamation marked the official change of reign. Unlike King Charles last year, King Frederik and Queen Mary won't be crowned in a coronation ceremony.
Later on Sunday, the transfer of the royal colors from Christian IX’s Palace (Queen Margrethe's residence) to Frederik VIII's Palace in Amalienborg (King Frederik's residence) will take place.
Queen Margrethe, 83, became monarch on Jan. 14, 1972, following the death of her father, King Frederik IX. Her abdication came on the 52nd anniversary of her accession after she announced her shocking decision to step down during her New Year's speech.
"In February this year, I underwent extensive back surgery. Everything went well, thanks to the competent health personnel, who took care of me. Inevitably, the operation gave cause to thoughts about the future — whether now would be an appropriate time to pass on the responsibility to the next generation. I have decided that now is the right time," she said, per an English translation of the official speech transcription. "On 14 January 2024, 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father, I will step down as Queen of Denmark. I leave the throne to my son Crown Prince Frederik."
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While there have been famous Queen Marys in the past, this one will have a distinct first as the only queen consort ever born in Australia.
Born Mary Donaldson, the new Danish queen was an Australian advertising executive before a chance encounter changed her life. She found herself chatting to Prince Frederik, although he introduced himself simply as "Fred," at the Slip Inn on Sydney's Darling Harbor in September 2000. The pub was filled with people from around the world who were in town for the Olympics.
"Something clicked," Crown Princess Mary said in a 2005 interview. "It wasn't the fireworks in the sky or anything like that, but there was a sense of excitement."
Shortly into their conversation, Mary found out that she was talking to the Crown Prince of Denmark, heir to the 1,000-year-old Danish throne.
"The first time we met, we shook hands," she said of their introduction. "I didn't know he was the prince of Denmark. Half an hour later, someone came up to me and said, 'Do you know who these people are?' "
For a year, the pair got to know each other through a long-distance relationship that flew under the media's radar.
"She got to know and love Frederik as the man he is, not as the Crown Prince," Mary's friend Chris Meehan later told the authors of Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark.
In 2002, Mary moved to Copenhagen, converted to the Lutheran Church and learned Danish, a notoriously tricky language to master. The couple announced their engagement in 2003 and married the following year at Copenhagen Cathedral.
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