March 2, 2024

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Queen Margrethe of Denmark makes her final public appearance before stepping down

Queen Margrethe of Denmark makes her final public appearance before stepping down

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AFP) – Queen Margrethe, Europe's longest-reigning monarch, rode through the streets of the Danish capital on Thursday in a gilded, horse-drawn carriage, marking her last New Year before her abdication later this month.

Thousands, many cheering and waving flags, braved freezing temperatures, strong winds, snow and sleet to cheer on the popular queen along the way in what would be her last public appearance as queen. She will step down on January 14 After 52 years On the throne.

The 83-year-old queen will hand over the throne to her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederick, in the first resignation of its kind in Europe's oldest ruling monarchy for nearly 900 years.

Margaret boarded the so-called golden coach – drawn by six white horses – which is used when the Queen sets off from the royal residence at Amalienborg Palace to Christiansborg Palace during the traditional New Year's celebration with officers from the armed forces but also ex-members. Danish Prime Ministers Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, among others.

The king, who uses a cane to walk, wore a fur coat and white gloves in the enclosed 19th-century carriage, which is covered in 24-carat gold leaf and topped with four gilded crowns on the roof. She was accompanied by members of the hussar regiment wearing blue uniforms and red jackets.

Five hours later, Margaret left in the gilded coach from Christiansborg Palace to return to her residence at Amalienborg Palace.

Earlier this week, Queen Margrethe held a series of events to greet the Danish government, parliament, senior civil and military officials and foreign diplomats.

Christiansborg Palace, which is used for official royal events, such as banquets and public audiences, also houses the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister's Office and the Supreme Court of Denmark. It is located just over half a mile from Amalienborg.

The queen will sign her formal abdication on January 14 at the Council of State – a meeting with the Danish government – making Frederik (55) and his Australian-born wife Marie (51) king and queen of Denmark.

Although monarchs in many European countries have abdicated to allow younger royals to assume power, there is no such tradition in Denmark.

For years, Margaret insisted she would not resign. However, her health changed that. Margaret said in her annual televised New Year's address on December 31 Back surgery In early 2023, it led to “thoughts about the future” and when the responsibilities of the crown would be transferred to her son. “I decided it was the right time,” she said.

When she ascended the throne in 1972 after her late father, King Frederik IX, only 42% of Danes supported the monarchy. The latest poll shows that 84% of Danes favor it to a great or somewhat great extent.