Everything you need to know about: Princess Mary

Princess Mary of Denmark is our Aussie Princess. Photo: Getty

Who is Princess Mary?

Princess Mary was born Mary Elizabeth Donaldson on February 5, 1972, in Hobart, Tasmania. She became Princess Mary of Denmark on May 14, 2004 when she married the Danish Crown Prince Frederik in Denmark.

When her engagement to Prince Frederik was announced, she reflected on becoming a princess. "My biggest memory is of Diana walking up the red carpet with a very, very long train," she says, of watching Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1982. "But I don't recall wishing that one day I would be a princess. I wanted to be a veterinarian."

She became Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in 2004. Photo: AP

Is Princess Mary Australian or Danish?

Mary was born in Tasmania to Scottish born parents, John Donaldson and Henrietta Clark Donaldson, who had emigrated from Edinburgh to Australia in the 1960s. They had become Australian citizens in 1975, so Mary was born a dual British and Australian citizen.

However when she married Prince Frederik and become part of the Danish royal family, she agreed to relinquish her Australian citizenship. The Danish parliament passed a special law, called Mary’s Law, which gave her Danish citizenship when she got married.

Princess Mary became a Danish citizen when she got married. Photo: Getty

Further conditions of the marriage included converting from her Presbyterian faith to become a member of the Danish Lutheran church, giving up her rights to her future children in case she and Frederik got divorced, and learning Danish.

What was Mary’s life like before she married in to the royal family?

Mary Donaldson has three older siblings; Jane Stephens, Patricia Bailey and John Donaldson. Mary went to Hobart’s Taroona High School and was captain of the hockey and swimming teams. She studied a Bachelor degree in Commerce and Law at the University of Tasmania, and graduated in 1994. After university Mary moved to Melbourne and worked at an advertising agency, before moving to Sydney. When she moved to Denmark after meeting Prince Frederik, she worked for Microsoft as a project consultant.

Mary’s mum Henrietta died in 1997. Four years later, her dad John married author Susan Elizabeth Moody.

How did Princess Mary meet Prince Frederik?

The couple met in Sydney pub The Slip Inn during the 2000 Olympics, when they were there with separate groups of friends. The king of Spain's nephew, Bruno Gomez-Acebo, was the link between the two groups, but when “Fred” introduced himself to Mary, the pair spent the rest of the evening talking to each other. Mary gave Frederick her phone number at the end of the evening.

Princess Mary was born Mary Donaldson in Tasmania. Photo: Getty

"The first time we met we shook hands," Mary has since recalled. "I didn't know he was the prince of Denmark. Half an hour later someone came up to me and said, 'Do you know who these people are?'"

They kept their relationship a secret for the first year, and Frederik made several under the radar trips to Australia to visit Mary. In 2001, Mary moved to Denmark to be closer to Frederick, and in October 2003 the couple announced their engagement.

Princess Mary and Frederick first met in 2000. Photo: Getty

How did Frederik propose to Mary?

The couple were on holiday in Rome when Frederik popped the question with an emerald cut diamond flanked by rubies. "We decided we wanted to go to Rome, just to see Rome,” he says. “And I had never been to Rome before. I thought, ‘This is the moment. Seize the day and... get your kneepads on.’ And then suddenly, on one of those wonderful areas in Rome, I had to say, 'This is it, Mary'." Mary has joked that she "wasn't allowed to say no" to the engagement.

After the blessing of Queen Margrethe II, the couple announced their news on October 8, 2003. Soon after, Mary appeared on the palace balcony in Denmark for the first time. "Today is the first day of my new role," she said. "It is something that will evolve over time and I have much to learn and experience."

Prince Frederick proposed in Rome. Photo: Getty

Where did Mary and Frederik get married?

The couple married in Copenhagen Cathedral on May 14, 2004. Mary was flanked by her bridesmaids, sisters Patricia Bailey and Jane Alison Stephens, and best friend Amber Petty. She arrived with her dad John Donaldson, who wore a traditional kilt to give his daughter away.

As she walked down the aisle, Frederik could be seen wiping tears away. "From today, Mary is mine and I am hers," Fred said at the altar. "I love her and I will protect her with all my love."

On their wedding day, Mary was given the title of Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark. She also holds the title of Countess of Monpezat after it was given to her by Queen Margrethe in in 2008.

Who made Mary’s wedding dress?

Mary wore a gown made by Danish designer Uffe Frank. Made of ivory duchesse satin, the skirt was lined with 31 metres of tulle, making it look like a ballgown. Sewn into the heart of Mary's gown was her late mother’s engagement ring. She also wore a veil that was first used by Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden in 1905.

Her bouquet gave a nod to her Australian heritage, and consisted of Australian eucalyptus, roses and a sprig of myrtle from Fredensborg Palace. After the wedding, the bouquet was placed on her mum’s grave in Scotland.

Mary and Frederik will be Denmark’s next king and queen. Photo: Getty

Will Mary become Queen of Denmark?

Mary and Frederik will be Denmark’s next king and queen. The couple have been playing a larger role in supporting the current queen, Queen Margrethe, since her husband Prince Henrik passed away in February 2018. Princess Mary already acts on behalf of Queen Margrethe when she is unable to attend events.

Does Princess Mary speak fluent Danish?

Yes! After meeting Frederik she had months of intensive lessons to learn the language, which has a reputation for being very difficult to master due to its hard guttural sounds and many vowels. “Crown Princess Mary’s Danish is very good, and she learned quickly," royal commentator Lars Hovbakke Sørensen told the Australian Women's Weekly in 2017.

How many children do Mary and Frederik have?

The couple have four children. Their first child Prince Christian Valdemar Henri John, was born on October 15, 2005. Their second child, Princess Isabella Henrietta Ingrid Margrethe was born on April 21, 2007.

On January 8, 2011, the couple had twins, Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander and Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda. When the twins were born, Frederik spoke outside the hospital calling them “a miracle times two".

All four children will attend the Swiss Boarding School, Lemania International School Altdorf in January 2020.

Princess Mary and Frederick have four children. Photo: Getty
Mary and Fred with Christian, Isabella, and twins Vincent and Josephine. Photo: Getty

Where does Princess Mary live?

Along with her husband and children, Mary lives at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, which Mary describes as “warm and cosy.” However, as of January 2020, Mary will move to live nearby her children who will be attending school in Switzerland. An official statement from the Danish Royal family said: “As a result of children's school stay, the Crown Princess's official activities in Denmark will be fewer.”

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