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The historic moment in the Danish abdication that Crown Princess Mary and youngest children won't witness

Queen Margrethe will be succeeded by her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik

Crown Princess Mary looking away from Crown Prince Frederik© Carlos Alvarez
Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
January 12, 2024
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Sunday will be a historic day for the Danish royal family as Crown Prince Frederik will succeed his mum, Queen Margrethe, as monarch. Frederik will be proclaimed King from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, however, an important will take place before this.

Ahead of the balcony appearance, Margrethe will make her formal abdication at the Council of State. On Friday, it was confirmed who will witness the historic signing over of power, with Crown Princess Mary, who will become Queen Mary, being left off of the list. Instead, it will comprise of Margrethe, Frederik, Prince Christian, who will become Crown Prince Christian, and the other members of the Council of State.

WATCH: All you need to know about the Danish royal family

The Council of State is a body of advisers to the monarch, similar to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, and its membership consists of the monarch, their successor and all current members of the Danish cabinet.

Margrethe's abdication is the first in the Danish monarchy's history for nearly 900 years, the last being when Eric III Lam stepped down in 1146. In her New Year's address, Margrethe alluded that one of the reasons for her decision to abdicate was down to health issues.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark attend the New Year's reception for the diplomatic corps at Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen, on January 3, 2023© Getty
Frederik will succeed his mum on Sunday

The 83-year-old said: "In February [2023] I underwent extensive back surgery. It went well, thanks to the skilled healthcare staff who took care of me. Of course, the operation also gave rise to thinking about the future - whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation.

"I have decided that now is the right time. 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."

Queen Margrethe wearing a green lace gown in front of flags during Germany state visit 2021© Getty
The Danish monarch confirmed she would stand down in her New Year's address

The decision came as a surprise and a spokesperson from the royal palace confirmed to Danish newspaper Berlingske that the queen only informed both of her sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, three days before making the announcement.

Margrethe's abdication will happen at 2pm on 14 January, with Frederik being declared as King Frederik X at 3pm. Half an hour before his official declaration, the royal and his wife will host a reception for specially invited guests at Christiansborg Palace.

Prince Christian poses with parents Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary© Dennis Stenild, Kongehuset
Prince Christian will succeed his father as Crown Prince of Denmark

After the proclamation, a cannon salute will be fired from the Sixtus Battery at Holmen, Copenhagen. The royal standard will then be lowered at Christian IX's Palace and reraised at Frederik VIII's Palace, Amalienborg.

DISCOVER: The telling signs that Queen Margrethe's sons Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim aren't in her 'inner circle'

MORE: Prince Joachim of Denmark to attend brother Crown Prince Frederik's accession without wife or children who were stripped of titles

The day will be finished at 5pm, with the transfer of the royal flags from Christian IX's Palace to Frederik VIII's Palace at Amalienborg, where Frederik and Mary reside.

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