All About Memorable Abdications Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II announced plans to relinquish the throne recently. (File)

Paris, France:

Following the announcement by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II of her plans to relinquish the throne, AFP looks at other memorable abdications over the past century:

King Edward VIII: for ‘the woman I love’ 

The British public was stunned when their king of less than a year, Edward VIII, made the shock announcement on December 12, 1936, that he would abdicate in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Edward’s tumultuous love affair with Simpson had caused a major constitutional crisis, with the headstrong monarch insisting he wanted to marry the US socialite — despite the Church of England, of which he was head, vehemently opposing the match.

In an explosive radio broadcast Edward said he found it “impossible” to be king without the support “of the woman I love”.

His younger brother Albert, father of the late Queen Elizabeth II, succeeded him under the name of George VI.

Cambodia’s Sihanouk: two-time king 

Cambodia’s revered late king Norodom Sihanouk, who held his country together through six turbulent decades in various guises, abdicated twice.

He was appointed to the throne in 1941 by the collaborationist Vichy regime of colonial power France but stepped back in 1955 after independence in favour of his father.

The self-confessed “naughty boy”, who married six times and also served as president and prime minister, abdicated again on October 7, 2004 after being treated for cancer, and was succeeded by his son, King Norodom Sihamoni.

Sihanouk died in 2012 in Beijing.

Pope Benedict: sovereign pontiff who bowed out 

Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the world’s Catholics as well as sovereign of Vatican City, was the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years when he stepped down in 2013 due to ill health.

The German pontiff, a champion of Catholic orthodoxy, lived for another decade before his death in December 2022.

King Juan Carlos: spectacular downfall 

The reputation of Spain’s monarchy took a battering under former King Juan Carlos I, who abdicated on June 18, 2014, after being dogged by a steady flow of revelations about his love life and personal wealth.

Carlos, who was 76 at the time, had come to the throne in 1975 on the death of dictator Francisco Franco.

A symbol of national unity, he was widely respected for his role in helping Spain make the transition to democracy.

But revelations about his opulent lifestyle and extramarital relationships overshadowed the latter years of his reign, with his popularity plummeting dramatically after he was photographed standing beside a dead elephant on a hunting trip to Botswana in the midst of a financial crisis in Spain.

He abdicated in favour of his son Felipe and later moved to the United Arab Emirates.

Emperor Akihito: an historic retirement 

On April 30, 2019, Japan’s much-loved Emperor Akihito gave up his throne at the age of 85 after nearly three decades in the job, the first imperial retirement in the country in more than two centuries.

Akihito, who helped restore Japan’s standing in the world after its defeat in World War II, said he felt unable to continue in the job because of his failing health.

His son Emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2019.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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