Denmark witnessed a historic moment on January 14 as Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik officially ascended to become the new queen consort and king, respectively. Their new titles thus, King Frederik and Queen Mary.
This significant transition followed the surprising abdication of Queen Margrethe II, who had reigned for an impressive 51 years.
The Abdication and Succession
In her traditional New Year’s Eve speech, Queen Margrethe II stunned the nation by announcing her abdication, citing health reasons stemming from back surgery in February 2023. This marked the end of her reign and also paved the way for her son, Crown Prince Frederik, to take the throne on the very day – 52 years after she became queen in 1972.
After signing the declaration of abdication, Queen Margrethe gracefully exited the scene, allowing her son to assume the throne as Denmark’s new monarch.
With this, Crown Princess Mary, born Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, became the first Australian-born queen of a European monarchy.
Queen Mary – From Birth to Studies
Mary Donaldson was born on February 5, 1972, at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Battery Point, Hobart, Tasmania. She is the youngest of four children to Scottish parents, Henrietta and John Dalgleish Donaldson.
Her early years saw a move to Texas, where her father worked at NASA’s Lyndon B Johnson Space Centre.
She returned to Tasmania, where she completed her primary and secondary education studies.
Mary ultimately graduated from the University of Tasmania with a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degree.
Career in Advertising and Meeting the Prince
Before her royal journey, Mary had a successful career in advertising and marketing communications.
Her life took a royal turn when she met the Crown Prince in 2000 at the Slip Inn in Sydney during the 2000 Summer Olympics.
The two were introduced by a mutual friend, Prince Felipe of Spain. The couple felt an instant connection, which led to the start of a long-distance relationship.
Engagement and Marriage
On 24 September 2003, it was announced that Queen Margrethe II intended to give her consent to their marriage at a State Council meeting.
In October of the same year, Frederik and Mary became officially engaged. The prince reportedly proposed with an engagement ring that featured a 1.5-carat emerald-cut diamond and two emerald-cut rubies, invoking the colours of the Denmark flag.
In May 2004, Mary and Frederik tied the knot in a colourful wedding at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen.
Prior to their nuptials, Mary was granted Danish citizenship and had converted from Presbyterianism to the Lutheran Church of Denmark. Mary’s two sisters, Jane and Patricia, served as bridesmaids, while Frederick’s younger brother, Prince Joachim, was his best man.
Wedding dress worn by Queen Mary
The future crown princess wore a wedding dress crafted by Danish fashion designer Uffe Frank. Her veil was previously worn by Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden in 1905 and her daughter Ingrid in 1935.
The veil, made from Irish lace, was even worn by her mother-in-law during her wedding to French diplomat, Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, in 1967. Mary was the first and only person not born into the royal family to wear the veil.
Her tiara during the wedding was a gift from Queen Margrethe II.
Upon their wedding day, Mary was given the title of Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark.
The event was also celebrated by the public as a “fairy tale” union between a royal and a commoner.
Children and Advocacy work
The royal couple has four children: Crown Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.
Queen Mary has not only embraced her role as a mother but has also become a prominent societal advocate.
Her activism includes supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, anti-bullying campaigns, and gender-based violence campaigns. She is also very vocal in advocating for immigrants.
Fashion, Charities, and Recognition
Apart from her royal duties, Queen Mary has also been recognized globally for her involvement with charities and organizations. Her dedication to social causes, combined with her impeccable sense of style, has earned her acclaim as one of the world’s most fashionable individuals.
As Denmark welcomes its new queen, the nation anticipates change and impact from Queen Mary and King Frederik. The couple is also expected to continue efforts to address important societal issues.