With Denmark’s Queen Margrethe stepping down from the throne, several royal watchers have wondered if Britain’s King Charles could be next.
On New Year’s Eve, the queen announced she plans to abdicate after 52 years and will hand over the throne to her son, Crown Prince Frederik.
The 83-year-old, Europe’s longest-reigning living monarch, revealed during a televised speech that she would step down Jan. 14, the anniversary of her accession to the throne at age 31 following the death of her father, King Frederik IX.
Charles, 75, became king upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. England’s longest-reigning monarch died in 2022 at age 96.
“There is no way Charles will be abdicating anytime soon — zero chance, zip, ain’t gonna happen,” said Andersen. “Not only has Charles waited far longer than anyone else to ascend to the throne — 73 years compared to Edward VII’s 59-year-old wait to succeed Queen Victoria — he can also point to the example set by his mother, Queen Elizabeth.
“During an 18-month period in 2013 and 2014, there was a flurry of abdications,” Andersen explained. “Seventy-five-year-old Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands handed the crown to her son Prince Willem-Alexander, 45.
“Three months later, 79-year-old King Albert II of Belgium abdicated in favor of Crown Prince Philippe, 53. The following year, 76-year-old King Juan Carlos of Spain handed his crown over to Prince Felipe, 46. Even after Pope Benedict XVI stepped down — the first Pope to do so in over 600 years — and Emperor Akihito of Japan abdicated, Charles’ mother refused to step aside.
“I can say with certainty that abdication is not in the cards,” Andersen added.
Margrethe said back surgery she underwent in early 2023 led to “thoughts about the future” and when to pass on the responsibilities of the crown to her son.
“I have decided that now is the right time,” she said in her speech.
Some royal watchers have speculated Charles could hand over the reins to his eldest, Prince William, and his wife, Kate Middleton, while they are still young. The Prince of Wales, 41, is heir to the British throne.
Jonathan Sacerdoti, a British broadcaster and royal commentator, told Fox News Digital that despite his popularity with the public, William is in no hurry to be king while he attempts to give his three children a sense of normalcy. The Prince and Princess of Wales share Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.
“Prince William has made every effort to protect his children as much as possible from the knock-on effect of his role on their lives,” said Sacerdoti. “The longer that King Charles can stay on the throne, the longer Prince William will be able to continue paying close attention to his own children’s upbringing, personal development and privacy.
“King Charles knew all too well what it meant to have a parent who became somewhat distanced from their children by the demands of being the monarch. His mother became queen when he was very young, and he is well known to have felt some degree of anxiety as a result of the distance that was created between them.
“It is almost inevitable that such an enormous role where one has responsibilities to the entire nation could result in having less time for more traditional parenting activities,” Sacerdoti shared. “So, I wouldn’t think King Charles would want to make his grandchildren go through a similar experience sooner than they must, especially while they’re still young. On that basis alone, I expect he would see it as beneficial if he stayed on the throne at least until William’s children are well into adulthood, and I believe many people would be supportive of that.”
Sacerdoti also argued that the transition from the late queen’s reign to that of the new king went smoothly. Not only is he respected, but many feel he is doing his job “fairly well.” And with Charles waiting most of his life to become a monarch, it’s presumably his wish that he would tackle the role for as long as he can, just as his mother continued her duties until the end of her life.
“Even in her later years, when she suffered from increased frailty and eventually from health problems, she was able to rely on the wider royal family to assist in her duties without needing to abdicate,” said Sacerdoti. “I think this is one of the strengths of the system when it is working well, and there is every hope that the current king and Prince of Wales will be able to work together in any way they need without the need for an early handover.”
British royal expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital Charles wouldn’t want to repeat the decision of his notorious great uncle. In 1936, Edward VIII, who ruled for less than a year, chose to abdicate after the British government, the public and the Church of England condemned his decision to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, History.com reported. His younger brother, the late queen’s father, was proclaimed king.
King George VI died in 1952 at age 56. At 25, his eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth, became queen. Charles was three.
“The abdication of Edward VIII caused a constitutional crisis and was viewed as defying the will of God,” Fordwich said. “Although he hasn’t said it in the same words, the king’s mother declared to devote herself to the nation and the commonwealth her ‘whole life whether it be long or short.’
“The king was raised in the same mold. … Prince William and Kate Middleton still have young children. … These years ‘in waiting’ are an invaluable apprenticeship to forge national and international relationships, to learn the role, to mature leadership skills and, more importantly, to maintain as well as nurture their strong marriage and children.”
Fordwich also noted that William is “in no rush to ascend to the throne.”
“It would be a huge shot in the arm for the monarchy of Charles and Camilla if they stepped aside so that William and Kate could take the reins,” Andersen added. “All polls indicate that that is precisely what the vast majority of Britons want — to see William and Kate on the throne. But that, sadly, is not about to happen. William and Kate will be well into their 50s, if not older, before they take over.”
Denmark has Europe’s oldest ruling monarchy, which traces its line back to the Viking king Gorm the Old, who died in 958. Although Margrethe is head of state, the Danish Constitution strictly ruled out her involvement in party politics.
Yet the popular queen was well versed in law and knew the contents of the legislation she was called upon to sign.
She received training in French and English from her earliest years, as well as Swedish from her mother. In addition to archeology, she studied philosophy, political science and economics at universities in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Cambridge, along with the London School of Economics and the Sorbonne in Paris.
Ever since his birth May 26, 1968, Frederik André Henrik Christian has been the heir to the Danish throne.
He is the oldest son of the queen and her late French-born husband, Prince Henrik, who died in February 2018. Frederik, 55, has a younger brother, Prince Joachim.