Photo: Lars Skaaning, POLFOTO

The Majesty’s New Year’s speech as a tradition extends back to Christian IX’s so-called “toast to the fatherland”, which was held for the first time by the King back in the 1880s. During Frederik VIII’s reign, the nationwide daily newspapers began to publish the speech. Then, the toast speech was delivered at the New Year’s banquet on 1 January and not, as we know it today, on the last day of the year, 31 December.

In 1909, Frederik VIII introduced the concluding petition in the New Year’s address,  “God preserve Denmark”, which later was revived by Frederik IX and even now serves as the conclusion of The Queen’s New Year’s speeches. Christian X also ended his New Year’s speeches with a petition for the blessing of the nation, which had a special symbolic meaning during the Nazi occupation of Denmark in 1940-45.  

In 1941, radio transmissions of The King’s New Year’s speech began, and in 1958 Danmarks Radio for the first time produced a TV broadcast of the New Year’s speech, which was delivered by Frederik IX.  

Now, The Queen’s New Year’s speech is broadcast live on TV and radio at 18.00 from The Queen’s reception room in Christian IX’s Palace at Amalienborg. In 2010, Danmarks Radio for the first time transmitted the New Year’s speech worldwide via dr.dk. Thus, Danes residing abroad could follow the speech live for the first time.