Frederick X is proclaimed the new king of Denmark after the abdication of his mother, Queen Margaret II

Copenhagen, Denmark –

Denmark’s prime minister proclaimed Frederick

Margrethe, 83, is the first Danish monarch to voluntarily renounce the throne in almost 900 years. Many thousands of people gathered in front of the palace where the royal succession took place, in an atmosphere of jubilation as the Nordic nation experienced its first royal succession in more than half a century, and one that was not caused by the death of a monarch.

Dressed in a magenta suit, Margrethe signed her abdication during a meeting with the Danish cabinet at Christiansborg Palace, a vast complex in Copenhagen that has been the seat of Danish power for centuries. It currently houses the royal reception halls and royal stables, as well as the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s office and the Supreme Court.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen then proclaimed Frederick king from the palace balcony before many thousands of subjects in a kingdom where the symbols of royalty are mainly symbolic in the modern era of constitutional democracy.

Frederiksen read the proclamation three times, as is tradition, while Frederik stood at his side wearing a ceremonial military uniform adorned with medals. He was then joined on the balcony by the new Australian-born Queen Mary and the couple’s four children, and the crowd spontaneously sang the national anthem.

“My hope is to become the unifying king of tomorrow,” Frederik said. “It’s a task I’ve tackled my entire life.”

It is customary for each new sovereign to adopt a royal motto as the guiding principle of his reign, and Frederick’s is: “United, committed, for the kingdom of Denmark.”

“I want to return the trust I have,” said the new king. “I need the trust of my beloved wife, of you and of that which is greater than us.”

Frederik then kissed Mary, who was wearing a white dress, and another huge cheer went up from the crowd.

They then left Christianborg Palace in a horse-drawn carriage as church bells rang and headed to their residence in Amalienborg, where they once again appeared before a large crowd of people cheering and waving the national flag of a white cross over a red background.

Frederik, visibly moved, placed both hands over his heart in a gesture of gratitude.

The abdication document was earlier presented to Margrethe while she was sitting at a huge table covered with a red tablecloth around which were seated members of the Danish royalty and government. Frederik sat next to her.

After signing it, Margrethe stood up and gestured for Frederik to take her place. “God save the king,” she said as she left the room.

The abdication leaves Denmark with two queens: Margaret retains her title, while Frederick’s wife becomes Queen Mary. Frederik and Mary’s eldest son Christian, 18, has become crown prince and heir to the throne.

Citing health problems, Margrethe announced on New Year’s Eve that she would resign, surprising a nation that had expected her to live out her days on the throne, as is tradition in the Danish monarchy. Margrethe underwent major back surgery last February and did not return to work until April.

Even the Prime Minister was unaware of the Queen’s intentions until shortly before the announcement. Margrethe had informed Frederick and his younger brother Joachim about him just three days earlier, she wrote in the Berlingske newspaper citing the royal palace.

People from all over Denmark gathered in front of parliament, with many streets lined with red and white Danish flags. Photos of Margrethe and Frederik were hung in several shops, while city buses were decorated with small Danish flags, as is customary at royal events. Many others across the kingdom of nearly 6 million people followed a live television broadcast of the historic event.

The royal guard marching band performed its daily parade through central Copenhagen, but wore red jackets, rather than the usual black ones, to mark important events.

Copenhagen resident Rene Jensen, wearing a replica of a royal robe and a jeweled purple crown on his head, said he hoped Frederick would be “a king of the nation, representing us everywhere.”

The last time a Danish monarch voluntarily resigned was in 1146, when King Erik III Lam resigned to enter a monastery. Margaret abdicated on the same January day that she ascended the throne following the death of her father, King Frederick IX, on January 14, 1972.

Denmark’s 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.

Australians also took to the streets of Copenhagen to celebrate one of their own becoming queen.

“I think it’s good that she’s not royal and has a normal Australian background. We can relate to that more, because she’s from a middle-class background, and so are we,” said Judy Langtree, who made the long trip from Brisbane. with her daughter to witness the royal event.

A poll, commissioned by Danish public broadcaster DR, published on Friday showed that 79 percent of the 1,037 people surveyed by polling institute Epinion said they believed Frederik was prepared to take the reins and 83 percent said who believed that his wife Mary was ready to become queen. The poll’s margin of error was 3 percentage points, DR said.

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Aleksandar Furtula contributed to this report.

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