Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, the world’s only reigning queen and Europe’s longest-serving current monarch, has announced her surprise abdication after 52 years on the throne. She will step down on January 14, passing the throne to her son, Crown Prince Frederik, with no formal crowning ceremony. The 83-year-old monarch, who recently underwent back surgery, expressed gratitude to the Danish public and cited the surgery as a catalyst for contemplating the future. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen praised her lifelong dedication, acknowledging the difficulty of accepting a change of throne after more than 1,000 years. Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary are expected to bring a modern outlook to the Danish monarchy. Queen Margrethe’s reign, known for her love of arts and archaeology, has left an indelible mark on Denmark’s history.