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Danish royals attend church service to mark King Frederik’s first visit outside the capital

The church service came exactly a week after Frederik, 55, was proclaimed king after his 83-year-old mother Margrethe signed her abdication during a meeting with the government

From second left, Denmark's King Frederik X, Queen Mary, Prince Vincent, Crown Prince Christian, Princess Isabella and Princess Josephine and  greet the crowd after a service on the occasion of the change of throne in Denmark, in Aarhus Cathedral, Aarhus, Denmark, Sunday Jan. 21, 2024.
From second left, Denmark's King Frederik X, Queen Mary, Prince Vincent, Crown Prince Christian, Princess Isabella and Princess Josephine and greet the crowd after a service on the occasion of the change of throne in Denmark, in Aarhus Cathedral, Aarhus, Denmark, Sunday Jan. 21, 2024.Mikkel Berg Pedersen (AP)

Denmark’s royal family on Sunday participated in a special “celebratory church service” at Aarhus Cathedral as the new King Frederik X, accompanied by wife Queen Mary and mother Queen Margrethe, waved to crowds gathered outside the 12th-century building that is the tallest church in the country.

The royal family drove 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) through Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, from royal residence Marselisborg Castle to Aarhus Cathedral.

The church service came exactly a week after Frederik, 55, was proclaimed king after his 83-year-old mother Margrethe signed her abdication during a meeting with the government.

Aarhus resident Christina Elmstroem said she expects Frederik and Queen Mary to change the Danish monarchy “in their way.” She brought her children to experience the “big, major event.”

“So, it was an opportunity to go and see the new king and my kids are very excited about it,” she said.

Henrik Wigh-Poulsen, bishop of the Diocese of Aarhus, told The Associated Press they had just a few weeks to plan the service, and Frederik had a hand in planning it.

“Normally, you would spend three months planning this, but we (had) two and a half weeks, something like that. So we have been very busy, I tell you,” he said. “I chose some of the hymns we’re going to sing, and the king said, I would like to sing these hymns.”

The hour-long service marked Frederik’s first official visit as king outside the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Police expected around 70,000 people to line the royal route.

“I think he’s going to be a king of the people,” said Aarhus resident Charlotte Houman. “I think he’s going to embrace the people ... he’s going to be different in is his way of ruling. I think he’s going to be not too much top down, but he’s going to be embracing the people, different kinds of people. And also being there not on this high pedestal somewhere.”

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