31 January 2024

Denmark: The declaration of abdication

In my blog article titled Denmark: The declaration of abdication exempted from publicity published on 22 January 2024 I expressed my astonishment that the text of the declaration, which Queen Margrethe signed on 14 January 2024, was not made public. When the National Archives of Denmark wrote at its Facebook page on 19 January that the document had been received, it also informed that «The declaration of abdication is being physically kept in the National Archives and is not scanned and made public.» When asked why, the representative referred to the archives act. The same information was also given in the media, for instance at msn.com (Ritzau) 16 January 2024 and tv2kosmopol.dk 21 January 2024, so there was nothing wrong with my understanding or translation. It could be, however, that the National Archives was only commenting on the access to the original document kept in the archives and nothing else.

On 15 January 2024 I e-mailed the Danish Prime Minister's Office and asked if the declaration of abdication would be published in one way or another, referring to my interest in constitutional history and expressing my wish to read the text. As an historian specialising among others in the constitutional aspects of the monarchies, I am of course interested in the process of succession to the throne and how things are actually carried out when a monarch decides to abdicate the throne.

Today I received a reply from the PMO.  The office had generously interpreted my e-mail as a request for document access (anmodning om aktindsigt) and had decided to accomodate it. Enclosed was the scanned copy of the abdication document, including Queen Margrethe's signature.

In translation:

We, Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid, by the Grace of God Queen of Denmark, hereby announce that We, with Our signature on this document, abdicate Our Throne.


Given at Christiansborg Palace, 14 January 2024.

The document also say it has been «Issued in two identical copies». As I explained last week, one copy is kept by the archives of Folketinget (the Danish Parliament) and the other by Rigsarkivet (the Danish National Archives).

Besides the scanned copy of the declaration of abdication, I also received a «file overview» (aktoversigt), referring to the enclosed declaration as document no. 91/2024, that it was categorised as «internal» and that it had the id number 572976.

I am of course  very pleased that I have received the document, even though I am still wondering why the declaration was never considered for announcement in Lovtidende (the Danish Legal Gazette) or in any other form, such as at the website of the PMO. How can the declaration be deemed less important/«Lovtidende worthy» or less relevant than for instance the announcement of King Frederik's monogram? It is, as I have written earlier, after all a constitutional act which relates to who the head of state is and from when. But having now received the document, I hereby promise not to question the Danish ambitions of transparency too much in the future!

Updated on Thursday 1 February 2024 at 08:30 (minor correction to the translation of the declaration).


  1. Dag,
    Thank you for your efforts in making this important document's text public. Was the (now former) Queen able to do this entirely on her own authority or did she need the assent of the Folketing and/or the government/the Queen-in-Council?

  2. The declaration document was not countersigned by the prime minister or anyone else, it just got into force the second both identical copies were signed. Not sure if this answers your question ...