It's the end of a royal era — but another is on the way
This means that all of Europe's monarchs are now male.
After the U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth died at age 96 in 2022, Queen Margrethe was the last remaining female monarch ruling in Europe. She became the first woman allowed to inherit the throne in her country after the 1953 Act of Succession "gave women the right of succession to the Danish Throne... however only secondarily," according to Denmark's official website. The Act of Succession was amended again in 2009, "when full equality in the succession to the throne was introduced," per Denmark's website. "That means the regent's oldest child — regardless of gender — inherits the throne (so-called primogeniture)."
While there are only male monarchs at the moment, Europe has several women in line for the throne.
Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, Belgium's Princess Elisabeth, the Netherlands' Princess Catharina-Amalia and Spain's Princess Leonor are all current heirs to their fathers. Meanwhile, Princess Estelle is second in the line f succession behind her mother in Sweden and Princess Ingrid Alexandra is set to become queen one day following her dad, the current heir.
Queen Margrethe announced her abdication during her annual New Year's speech on Dec. 31, 2023, shocking the world. She previously hinted that she intended to reign for life and is now the first Danish sovereign to voluntarily step down from the throne in nearly 900 years, the Danish Royal House said in a statement.
On Sunday, she signed a declaration of her abdication on the 52nd anniversary of her accession.
Shortly after, King Frederik stepped out on the palace balcony in his first public appearance as monarch. 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 before being joined by his wife, Queen Mary, and their four children — Crown Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.
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