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Before they were royal: The life of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

She is Denmark’s future Queen, but today we take a look at the life of Crown Princess Mary before her marriage to Crown Prince Frederik.

Mary Elizabeth Donaldson was born on 5 February 1972 in Hobart, Australia, as the third daughter and youngest child of John Donaldson and the late Henrietta Horne. Mary’s parents were both Scots, and they were married in Scotland on 31 August 1963. In November that same year, they emigrated to Australia. Mary’s father is a professor of applied mathematics, and her mother worked as the Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Tasmania.

Mary first attended school in 1974 at the Clear Lake City Elementary School in Houston, Texas, where the family lived for a short period due to her father’s work. After the family returned to Australia, Mary studied at Sandy Bay Infants School from 1975 until 1977 and at Waimea Heights Primary School from 1978 until 1982, both schools being located in Hobart. After she concluded her primary education, Mary started attending Taroona High School from 1983 to 1986. For the next two years, Mary studied at Taroona High School, where she excelled as a sportswoman, before enrolling at the University of Tasmania in 1989. The then Mary Donaldson graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Law.

For further education, Mary went on to earn a Certificate in Advertising from The Advertising Federation of Australia and also a Certificate in Direct Marketing from the Australian Direct Marketing Association.

After finishing her university studies, Mary moved from Hobart to Melbourne where she started working at DDB Needham, an advertising agency. Later she took a position at MOJO Partners, also located in Melbourne.

However, in November 1997 Mary’s mother died, and six months later she resigned from her job in order to spend the next year travelling through America and Europe, with a particular focus in Scotland, her parents’ homeland. She worked for three months in Edinburgh during this period. Mary moved back to Australia in early 1999 when she started working in Sydney.

It was during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney that Mary found the one person who would forever change her life. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark was in Australia as a member of Denmark’s delegation to the Olympics, and on the night of 16 September 2000, the Crown Prince and his friends – including his brother, Prince Joachim of Denmark; his cousin, Prince Nikolaus of Greece and Denmark; Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and the now King Felipe VI of Spain – decided to spend their night at the Slip Inn, a traditional bar in Sydney.

2004 stamp issued in the Faroe Islands in celebration of Frederik and Mary’s wedding that year. Photo: Postverk Føroya/Public Domain

Mary and Frederik chatted, and Mary gave her phone number to Frederik, who called her the next day. That would be the start of a long-distance relationship, and Frederik would often visit Australia to be with Mary, until early 2002 when Mary decided to move to Europe. First, Mary lived in Paris, where she taught English at a Business English School. Later that same year, Mary moved to Copenhagen and took a new position working for Microsoft.

The engagement was announced on 24 September 2003, when the Danish Court said that Queen Margrethe II intended to give her official consent to the union on a State Council meeting on 8 October 2003. Previous to the wedding, Mary had to start her studies on the Danish language and convert to Lutheran Church of Denmark. The Parliament of Denmark also passed a special law to bestow the Danish citizenship on Mary.

Photo ESO via Wikimedia Commons

Mary and Frederik were married on 14 May 2004, with the ceremony being held at the Copenhagen Cathedral and the festivities at Fredensborg Palace. They are now a big and beautiful family of six, after the birth of their four children: Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.

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