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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II Announces Abdication in New Year’s Eve Speech

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II announced Sunday that she plans to leave the throne to make way for her son, Crown Prince Frederik.

The queen announced during her New Year's speech that she would abdicate on Jan. 14th, which is the 52nd anniversary of her own accession to the throne at age 31 following the death of her father, King Frederik IX.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed the decision in a news release that paid tribute to the 83-year-old monarch, offering a “heartfelt thank you to Her Majesty the Queen for her lifelong dedication and tireless efforts for the Kingdom.”

The 6-foot-tall (1.82-meters-tall), chain-smoking Margrethe has been one of the most popular public figures in Denmark. She often walked the streets of Copenhagen virtually unescorted and won the admiration of Danes for her warm manners and for her talents as a linguist and designer.

A keen skier, she was a member of a Danish women’s air force unit as a princess, taking part in judo courses and endurance tests in the snow. Margrethe remained tough even as she grew older. In 2011, at age 70, she visited Danish troops in southern Afghanistan wearing a military jumpsuit.

As monarch, she crisscrossed the country and regularly visited Greenland and the Faeroe Islands, the two semi-independent territories which are part of the Danish Realm, and was met everywhere by cheering crowds.

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