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Royal Wedding Rewind: Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Elizabeth Donaldson

By Frankie Fouganthin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Theirs sounds like a love affair out of a romantic comedy: at the Slip Inn pub in Sydney, Australia, a crown prince meets a sales executive during the Summer Olympics. He doesn’t reveal his identity straight away, and she has no idea of the secret he’s keeping. Then, he reveals the truth and they begin a relationship that three years later leads to the biggest royal wedding in Denmark in almost 40 years.  

On their 16th wedding anniversary, Royal Central is looking back at the royal wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

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Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson were formally engaged on 8 October 2003, with Queen Margrethe announcing her blessing for the union at a State Council meeting that day. Mary, who will become the first Australian-born queen consort of any country when Frederik ascends to the throne, was granted Danish citizenship prior to their wedding and converted to Lutheranism.

On 14 May 2004, Crown Prince Frederik and Mary were married at Copenhagen Cathedral in front of hundreds of guests including the Danish Royal Family and dignitaries from around the world.

Prince Joachim, the groom’s younger brother, was his best man; Mary’s two sisters, Jane Stephens and Patricia Bailey, along with her friend Amber Petty, were bridesmaids. Mary’s nieces, Erin and Kate Stephens, and Madisson Woods were her flower girls; Prince Nikolai, Frederik’s nephew, and Count Richard von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth, his first cousin once removed, were pageboys.

Mary’s wedding dress was a blend of Danish and Australian influences. The gown, designed by Danish designer Uffe Frank, was made of ivory duchess satin and lined with silk organza. Her veil was a Danish Royal Family heirloom, worn by Queen Ingrid, Queen Margrethe, Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie on their wedding days. Her tiara, a wedding present from Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik, was a diamond and platinum piece purchased especially for her.

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Her bouquet included eucalyptus to represent her Australian roots; and her late mother’s wedding ring was reportedly stitched into her dress to rest in her heart. Following the wedding, her bouquet was taken to Scotland, where it lay on her mother’s and grandparents’ graves for a period.

The wedding reception took place at Fredensborg Palace, and Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary later spent their honeymoon in Africa, as confirmed in an interview by Frederik.

“She didn’t know where we were going, and I wanted to go some place where we could get…be ourselves, literally, just the two of us. And we had to go to the African continent, in my opinion, to get that, or you have to go to Antarctica or Greenland,” Crown Prince Frederik told ABC News in Australia.

“…We chose the host spot, and so we went down and had a wonderful photo safari, just south of the equator, really, or I would say between the Tropic of Cancer and the Capricorn.”

Neither have ever publicly confirmed exactly where their honeymoon was spent; but a few months later, as part of their first summer as a royal couple, they visited Athens, Greece, to attend the Summer Olympics, bookending their journey from strangers to married couple at the Olympics.

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Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary are the parents of four children: Prince Christian, who is 14; Princess Isabella, who is 13; and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, who are nine.

They each carry out full calendars of royal engagements and represent Denmark on the international stage.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.