Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen proclaimed 55-year-old Prince Frederik X king of Denmark Sunday, two weeks after his 83-year-old mother, Queen Margrethe II, announced she would abdicate the throne after 52 years. She was the first to do so in nearly 900 years in the kingdom's roughly 1,000-year-old monarchy, Europe's oldest.
Frederik assumes a primarily ceremonial role as king in the constitutional monarchy, formally obligated to sign all new laws but with no legislative power. Danes overwhelmingly approve of the institution. The popular, sports-loving king joins the leaders of 42 other nations in the world who are monarchs with various degrees of power, including 11 others in Europe. The predominant form of governance in the Middle Ages, most European monarchies were abolished in the aftermath of World War I.
Prior to abdicating, Queen Margrethe was the longest-serving monarch in the world. Read more about the chain-smoking, artistic former queen here.