Denmark's Queen Margrethe II has announced her surprise abdication in a new year TV address.

She will formally step down on 14 January, which will be 52 years to the day since she became queen.

"I will leave the throne to my son, Crown Prince Frederik," she announced.

The 83-year-old is the world's only reigning queen and the longest serving current monarch in Europe, taking the throne after the death of her father King Frederik IX in 1972.

She revealed the decision was made after a period of reflection following surgery on her back in early 2023.

"The surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future - whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation," she said.

"I have decided that now is the right time," she added, and offered her thanks to the Danish public for their support over the years.

Ringenes Herre.png

I expect the real reason is so that she can spend more time illustrating Tolkien

Margrethe Alexandrine ├×├│rhildur Ingrid, or Margrethe II, is the queen regnant of Denmark. She is also an artist whose works have been inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's literature from a very young age, and - under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer - her art has illustrated British and Danish editions of The Lord of the Rings. Her works of art are examined in the film documentary J.R.R.T.: A Film Portrait of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Folio LoTR illustrations - interesting newspaper snippet - ... php?topic_id=4465&start=0