Margrethe II of Denmark marks jubilee as Europe’s only reigning queen | Denmark

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Europe’s longest serving monarch and only reigning queen after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, has marked her jubilee with a series of low-key celebrations in a show of respect for her third cousin.

Margrethe, 82, an immensely popular monarch known for her artistic streak as well as her chain-smoking, is said to have made the decision herself. She had originally been due to mark the 50th anniversary of her accession to the Danish throne in January, but festivities were considerably scaled back because of the pandemic.

Full-blown celebrations had been expected to take place across the country this weekend instead, but were then toned down again after the death of Queen Elizabeth on Thursday.

The palace said that the decision was taken “at the Queen’s own request,” Danish media reported.

In a letter of condolence to King Charles III, Margrethe called Queen Elizabeth “a towering figure among the European monarchs and a great inspiration to us all. We shall miss her her terribly.”

The carriage procession through the streets of Copenhagen, as well as the balcony appearance were cancelled.

Margrethe greets staff on the Royal Yacht Dannebrog in Copenhagen.
Margrethe greets staff on the Royal Yacht Dannebrog in Copenhagen. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/AP

“After 50 years on the throne, Queen Margrethe is now the longest-serving living monarch in the world after Queen Elizabeth’s death,” the Danish newspaper Berlingske declared on Friday.

Margrethe was crowned queen at the age of 31 on 14 January 1972.

At the time of her accession, only 45% of Danes were in favor of the royal family, objecting to the place it held in a modern democracy. Today it enjoys the support of more than 80% of the population.

Margrethe, who was widowed in 2018, is credited with modernizing the institution and encouraging the marriage of two of her sons to non-nobility. She is praised for having remained scandal-free and non-political.

Margrethe has repeatedly said she will remain on the throne until she dies. In 2019 she told the Swedish daily Expressen: “I intend to remain in place as long as I live. My mission is life-long.” She said abdication would only come into question if she became seriously ill.

Her son, Crown Prince Frederik, 54, is due to succeed her.

Her fun-loving reputation was reinforced in May this year, when she rode on a rollercoaster at Copenhagen’s Tivoli amusement park, managing to keep her hat on.

She is considered a skilled visual artist, having illustrated several books and had her works exhibited in museums at home and abroad. She has also worked as a costume and set designer with the Royal Danish Ballet and Royal Danish Theatre. Margrethe, a linguist, has also participated in translation projects, including the 1981 translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s All Men are Mortal, under a pseudonym.

The decision to cancel street parties and a folk festival due to take place on Saturday was made by the royal family. The Queen had been due to appear on the balcony at Amalienborg Palace with members of her family, before taking a ceremonial carriage ride down Strøget Street in the center of Copenhagen to City Hall.

The gala performance at the Royal Theater went ahead “in an adjusted form,” according to the palace.

Members of the Swedish and Norwegian royal families were participating in the events through the weekend, including a church service on Sunday in Our Lady’s church in Copenhagen followed by a lunch on the Royal Yacht Dannebrog and a dinner at Christiansborg Palace.

Historian Lars Hovbakke Sørensen told Berlingske even though the ties between the families “had not been so close”, the cancellation followed protocol.

“It would send the wrong signal out to the world if you were to hold street festivals,” he said. “It’s necessary to show your sympathy not least because there are both personal and familial ties between the two royal families.”

The second-longest-serving monarch is King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden who has been on the throne for 49 years.

The Sultan of Brunei has been on the throne for 54 years, but opinions are divided as to whether he should be considered the world’s longest serving monarch, due to the fact that the country only became independent from Britain in 1984.

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