Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II marks five decades on the throne with muted celebrations

Danish Queen Margrethe, together with guests, waves on departure with the Royal Yacht Dannebrog in Copenhagen.
Danish Queen Margrethe, together with guests, waves on departure with the Royal Yacht Dannebrog in Copenhagen. Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews
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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II scales back her jubilee festivities in light of her UK counterpart’s -- and first cousin's -- death.


As the United Kingdom mourns the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, Denmark is celebrating its own sovereign's 50-year reign.

This weekend, the country took part in scaled-back golden jubilee festivities for its popular Queen Margrethe II, who was appointed to the throne in January 1972.

The Queen originally marked the anniversary in January of this year, but the festivities had to be postponed because of COVID-19.

"We have been looking forward to celebrating her for so long. The Jubilee was in January, but because of COVID-19 we had to postpone it until today," said a man from Copenhagen.

"We're happy to we can at least see and celebrate her today."

Yet, Margrethe II scaled back the festivities after the death of her first cousin Elizabeth II, cancelling her appearance on the Amalienborg Palace balcony and a ride through Copenhagen in a horse-drawn carriage. 

Europe's only reigning queen, 'Lord of the Rings' illustrator

Britain's tragic loss also means that Margrethe II is Europe’s only reigning queen, in addition to being its longest-serving monarch.

She is followed only by her first cousin Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who has been on his country’s throne for 48 years.

Margrethe II inherited the throne in January 1972 after the death of her father Frederik IX, making her the first woman in Sweden to take on the role of the reigning sovereign.

When she was born -- the eldest of three sisters -- women were banned from taking the throne in Denmark. But a referendum in 1953 changed the law as successive Danish governments attempted to modernise the country.

She has since become the most popular monarch in the world, with an approval rating of over 80%. When she took the throne in 1972, only 45% of Danes supported the monarchy.

"We are, of course, sorry about the loss of the Queen in England, Elizabeth," said a Danish tourist. "But it is nice to know that we in Denmark are a bit special now because we still have our queen to guide us."

During her time on the throne, Margrethe II has been credited with modernising her country’s monarchy, allowing, for instance, her sons to marry non-royals.

Margrethe II is also known for her involvement in the country’s cultural scene, illustrating a Danish edition of The Lord of the Rings.

She is also a painter and costume designer, working with the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Danish Theatre.

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