Europe's longest-serving monarch Queen Margrethe II of Denmark surprised her nation on Sunday by announcing her abdication, saying she would pass the baton to her son.
During her traditional New Year's Eve speech, the popular queen told viewers that she would step down on January 14. The 83-year-old pointed to her age and health issues as reasons for the unexpected decision.
"In two weeks' time, I will have been Queen of Denmark for 52 years," Margrethe said, adding that such a long reign could take its toll on anyone.
"One cannot undertake as much as one managed in the past," she added.
Her son Crown Prince Frederik is set to become King in her place. The January 14 date carries a special significance, as it was on this day in 1972 that Margrethe's father King Frederik IX passed away, leaving the throne to her.