Denmark set to welcome new king after historic abdication

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Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik will become king on Sunday after the unprecedented abdication of his mother Queen Margrethe, with more than 100,000 Danes expected to pour into Copenhagen’s streets for the historic event.

The 55-year-old future monarch is hugely popular in Denmark, with 82 percent of Danes saying in a recent poll they think he will make a good king.

Queen Margrethe’s shock abdication — announced in a televised New Year’s Eve address after 52 years on the throne — stunned Danes, after she had repeatedly insisted that she would never step down.

Historian Bo Lidegaard said Margrethe’s decision showed she was a modern queen able to adapt to the times.

“She knows that she is getting weaker physically. Her son is ready and in a better position than she is to take over the family business,” he said.

“It’s a change that had to happen sooner or later so it’s just as well to do it now and not be a prisoner to tradition.”

This is only the second time that a Danish sovereign has abdicated, with the last one being Erik III almost nine centuries ago in 1146.

The queen’s decision left the country of 5.9 million people stunned, and wondering what would happen next.

“The traditions (regarding the accession to the throne) as we know them are linked to the death of a monarch,” Nielsen noted.

Danes have widely supported the queen’s decision, with many expressing relief that Sunday’s celebration of a new monarch does not mean the loss of Margrethe.

Opinion polls show that more than 80 percent of Danes support her decision.

Margrethe will retain her title of queen and will still represent the royal family on occasion.

Since her announcement, Copenhagen’s hotels have been fully booked and trains and domestic flights to the capital have sold out.

Police expect huge crowds in the streets of Copenhagen on Sunday.

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