Queen Margrethe II of Denmark ushered in her 80th birthday last month with little fanfare, but plenty of reflection.
Planned nationwide celebrations to mark the occasion had already been called off due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
Normally, Queen Margrethe would receive multitudes of birthday flowers from members of the public – but she insisted that this too should be different.
“This year, the Queen is calling for a bouquet to be sent to one of the many senior citizens who are facing particular difficulties during this time,” read a statement from the palace.
Speaking to local publication ALT for Damerne, Margrethe indicated the milestone birthday did however serve as a chance to reflect on the past and look towards the future of the Danish royals.
Having inherited the throne in 1972 at the age of 31, Queen Margrethe admitted turning 80 has made her acutely aware that her life is approaching its final stages – and so too is her reign.
“I do not think that I have 10 years ahead of me. I really don’t,” revealed Margrethe.
“But time will tell. I do not feel that time is running out, but being realistic one must think that there are not 10 years more for me.”
Looking ahead, it seems that the wheels of the royal family succession plan are already
set in motion. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary’s increased presence
as representatives of the royal family appears to indicate that Queen Margrethe is preparing to pass on the torch.
In this new interview, the Queen revealed that she has the utmost confidence in her son and his wife as future leaders of Denmark.
“I have a good feeling about it all. Knowing that he will take over some day.
“You have a heavy responsibility as regent, but you also have a lot to be happy about. And I can see the Crown Prince is aware of that, with the good help from Crown Princess Mary. They have a fantastic teamwork.”
Frederik’s growing responsibility was evident when he accompanied his mother to Argentina in 2018. This was noteworthy as Margrethe’s first engagement abroad after the passing of
her husband, Prince Henrik.
Margrethe said that having Frederik along was “lovely” – and that it also gave him the opportunity to step up.
“Two can do so much more than just one,” she reflected.
In a further show of support, late last year Queen Margrethe also made Australian-born Princess Mary a regent.
“As regent, The Crown Princess will, from now on, be able to attend to The Queen’s duties as head of state when The Queen is prevented from doing so, for example during a stay abroad,” read a statement from the palace.
Now that the Queen has entered her 80s, there’s growing speculation among Danes that she may soon abdicate from her position.
But when asked what she thought about entering her ninth decade, the monarch was in good spirits.
“One is used to thinking that people who are 80 are really old, but I do not feel old myself. But I probably am,” she said with a laugh.
Margrethe admitted she now contends with a few “physical limitations” that come with age, but adds that she’s relishing this stage of life because she has “a lot of experience” thanks to having “been here so long”.
But spending more quality time with her eight grandchildren appears to be on the royal’s mind, with Margrethe admitting that she’s “not the perfect grandmother”.
“It’s hard to spend as much time with the children as I would like, or should,” she told the local publication.
“I still have my hands full and therefore not so much time to spend with the grandchildren. And that’s of course also because I still work. That’s where I’m different from a lot of other grandmothers.”
Margrethe would undoubtedly have more time for family if she stepped down to allow Frederik and Mary to become king and queen.
But if she were to do that, the pair would be wise to heed her life learnt advice about what it takes to be a royal.
“Well, you do your best, and hope it’s good enough,” said Margrethe.