Denmark’s new King Frederik X appears before parliament

COPENHAGEN – Denmark’s newly proclaimed King Frederik X appeared before the country’s lawmakers on Monday, receiving the full support from the country’s prime minister whose party has grappled with how to relate to the monarchy.

The meeting in parliament to celebrate the succession of the throne was the first official task of King Frederik, 55. He was proclaimed monarch on Sunday by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in front of roughly 174,000 cheering people who had converged on the capital in close to freezing temperatures.

The king succeeded his mother, Queen Margrethe II, who formally abdicated after 52 years as monarch, the first Danish monarch in nearly 900 years to voluntarily relinquish the throne.

Denmark has a constitutional monarchy, which means that the monarch as head of state must sign new laws before they come into force but the formal power remains with government and the elected parliament.

The new king and queen take the throne at a time of huge public support for the monarchy in the nation of nearly six million.

“Our amazing royal family is doing so well that we may take the monarchy for granted. It is not a given, it stands and falls with the people who take responsibility. And it rests on a mutual contract between monarchy and democracy,” Frederiksen said in a speech in parliament on Monday.

The prime minister, in a separate speech on Jan. 1, said she had not always supported the monarchy but had declared herself a royalist due to the work Queen Margrethe had done to unite Denmark.

Queen Margrethe’s popularity has grown even though she presided during a period when the Danish welfare state, built on a foundation of equality, grew to become the standard of the Nordic nation.

Frederiksen’s Social Democratic party has for a century refused to take decorations from royals but reversed this policy after the New Year’s eve announcement of the abdication and it is now up to the members if they wish to receive orders.

“The role of a king in a modern democratic society is a difficult balancing act in itself. Add to this the challenges we face in Denmark and in the world around us,” Frederiksen said. “We very much need our king to unite Denmark.”

King Frederik addressed the crowds in a speech on Sunday but did not speak in parliament on Monday. REUTERS

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