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The then Prince Frederik and Princess Mary with Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2018 (CNS/Paul Haring)

Frederik X and his Australian-born wife Mary Donaldson became King and Queen of Denmark yesterday following the formal abdication of his mother, Queen Margrethe II, who had been on the throne for 52 years. Source: Vatican News.

Tens of thousands of Danes gathered in Copenhagen to witness the historic succession.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen proclaimed 55-year-old Frederik X the new King of Denmark, watched by an enthusiastic crowd. 

Standing next to him on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Ms Frederiksen turned three ways to show she was proclaiming him the King to the whole of Denmark.

Queen Margrethe announced on television on New Year’s Eve that she was stepping down.

The new King paid tribute to his mother, wife, and family before being joined by the new Queen Mary, dressed in white, followed by their four children.

Australian-born Mary is the first commoner to become queen in Denmark.

While mainly a ceremonial role, the King is seen by supporters as having an essential uniting role for the nation while facing significant challenges.

These include concerns about immigration and aiming to strengthen defence ties with other Nordic countries to protect critical infrastructure and counter what the country views as the Russian threat both in the Arctic and the Baltic Sea region amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

In November 2018, the royal couple met Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace, where they exchanged gifts, had a brief conversation, and posed for photos.

The pair presented the Pope with a traditional vase from Denmark and a book titled Frederik VIII’s Palace and the pontiff gave the couple several books.


Frederik X becomes King of Denmark after historic succession (By Stefan J. Bos, Vatican News)

Aussie-born Princess Mary meets Pope (By Catherine Sheehan, The Catholic Weekly