As she celebrates one final Christmas in Australia, Princess Mary will be preparing to ring in the New Year as the queen of Denmark. This is set to be revealed in dramatic style during Queen Margrethe’s traditional New Year’s speech, with royal insiders predicting the 77-year-old monarch will announce her abdication.
In an interview with Danish magazine Kendte, royal expert Sebastian Olden-Jorgensen says the writing is on the wall for Mary and Fred to become king and queen in 2018.
Speculation about the abdication reached fever pitch recently when it was revealed there are some changes this year to the Danish queen’s New Year’s Eve speech to the nation.
The plans are markedly grander than usual with adjustments to the broadcast arrangements. The address will be delivered from the palace’s reception room and will also air on the big screen in the square at Amalienborg Palace.
These changes have raised suspicions that Margrethe is set to make a major announcement.
‘I think it is possible that the queen will say she will abdicate,’ Sebastian speculates.
Abdication rumours first surfaced in March when the Danish government hosted a mystery dinner. Speculation mounted further in September, after revelations regarding the health of the queen’s husband, Prince Henrik. The palace confirmed at that time that Prince Henrik is suffering from dementia. The cruel disease is said to have advanced quicker than expected and the 83-year- old has been downgraded from his royal engagements.
In previous years, Queen Margrethe has been adamant she would never abdicate. Yet, that was before Henrik’s disease reached new lows.
On top of that, Margrethe isn’t getting any younger. Now with an ill husband to care for, she is likely to want to take a step back from duties.
It has been apparent for some time that Frederik and Mary have been preparing for the top job. In recent years, the couple have steadily increased their royal duties and in the process earned a reputation as the darlings of Denmark.
Frederik has also matured in the eyes of the Danes. He is considered an established and responsible family man, who is ready to take the throne.
‘Next year, Crown Prince Frederik will be 50 years old. He is as ready as he can be to become king,’ royal expert Sebastian says.
Mary has also put her full support behind her husband. In a photo book released last month, Mary detailed how, when Frederik becomes king, he is likely to be the type of leader who remains true to himself. Mary also highlighted Frederik’s honesty as his leadership strength.
With increased chatter surrounding the changeover, it appears to be not a matter of ‘if ’ but ‘when’ the queen will step down in favour of Frederik.
An upcoming announcement would also explain Mary’s planned trip home to Australia.
The royal court confirmed that Mary, Frederik and their children will be celebrating Christmas Down Under.
There was initially some criticism in the Danish press over their decision to leave Margrethe and Henrik alone.
Communications expert Klaus Kjoller explained that it was perceived as ‘strange’ for the royal family to be apart for the holidays, particularly since it may be the last Christmas that Prince Henrik is relatively well.
But if Frederik and Mary are on the verge of being named king and queen, it makes sense Mary would want the family to return to Australia once more.
When the couple are assigned new titles, their royal duties will increase tenfold. For Mary, this will mean fewer opportunities to return to Australia to catch up with family and friends.
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