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Princess Mary of Denmark: A Fairy-Tale Romance

The Aussie Commoner Who Married Her Prince

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Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at Sydney Opera House in March 2005

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at Sydney Opera House in March 2005

Courtesy Sydney Opera House

  • Australian-born Crown Princess Mary of Denmark gave birth to twins on January 8, 2011, at Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet. The royal twins were christened in mid-April 2011 and given the names Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander and Josefine Sofia Ivalo Mathilda.

    The twins, a boy and a girl, are brother and sister to Princes Christian, born in 2005, and Princess Isabella, born in 2007.

In a fairy-tale romance which had its beginnings in the heady days of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Australian-born Mary Donaldson became Crown Princess of Denmark at her wedding to Danish Crown Prince Frederik on May 14, 2004.

The wedding was held in the Copenhagen cathedral Vor Frue Kirke (Church of Our Lady) at 4pm central European summer time.

Copenhagen Bishop Erik Norman Svendsen officiated at the wedding rites, assisted by the chaplain to the Royal Family, Professor Christian Thodberg.

Celebrations

Australian Governor General Michael Jeffery and Mrs Marlena Jeffery represented Australia at the wedding.

The wedding celebrations included performances by Australian musicians and bands, the serving of Australian food and wine, and a yacht race between Australian and Danish yachtsmen with Prince Frederik on board the Danish yacht and Mary Donaldson on an Australian-crewed yacht.

The Aussie touch

At the start of the week-long celebrations leading to the May 14 wedding, Mary Donaldson's favorite Australian rock band, Powderfinger, performed at a concert attended by the royal couple. At least 18 Danish bands performed at the concert.

On Saturday night, May 8, the Australian Governor General hosted dinner for the royal couple and their families at Fredensborg Store Kro Hotel. Sydney chef Luke Mangan, who prepared the dinner fare, flew in from Australia the dinner ingredients of barramundi from the Northern Territory, salmon from Tasmania, kingfish from South Australia, prawns from New South Wales, and lamb from Victoria.

Entertainment was provided by Sydney's Tankstream Quartet. The group also plays at the wedding reception on Friday night.

Sunday saw the Australia versus the Vikings best-of-three yacht race in the port of Copenhagen. America's Cup winning skipper John Bertrand was at the helm of the yacht Song crewed by Australians including Mary Donaldson. The Crown Prince was on the Danish-crewed Sjaelsoe. And the winner? Song, with the future Crown Princess on board, won the race.

On Wednesday, Tasmania's Derwent Valley Concert Band played at a reception for the royal couple at Copenhagen City Hall.

Six white horses

After the Vor Frue Kirke wedding rites, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark rode in an open ceremonial carriage drawn by six white horses - through a sea of Danish and Australian flags waved by crowds lining the streets - to Christian VII's Palace in central Copenhagen.

There, on the balcony of the royal palace, the couple had their first public kiss to the cheers of the crowd at Amalienborg Square. The reception was held at Fredensborg Palace, attended by royalty from many parts of the world and representatives of government.

Crown Princess Mary is Princess not only of Denmark but also of Greenland and the Faroe Islands. She has become a Danish citizen and a convert to the Lutheran Church.

Later events

  • Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary were in Australia in late February and early March 2005 on their first official royal visit to Princess Mary's country of birth.

  • At 1.57am on October 15, 2005, Copenhagen local time, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark gave birth at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen (Copenhagen University Hospital) to a son and future king of Denmark.

  • The little prince, the first child of Australian-born Mary and Danish Crown Prince Frederik was christened Christian Valdemar Henri John in Christiansborg Palace Church, Copenhagen, just after 11.30am, January 21, 2006, central European time.

  • Crown Princess Mary gave birth to a daughter at 4.02pm, April 21, 2007, Copenhagen local time, at Rigshospitalet, the same hospital where Prince Christian was born.

How it all began

On October 8, 2003, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark officially announced the engagement of Australian Mary Donaldson and Danish Crown Prince Frederik.

Tasmanian-born Mary Donaldson met the Prince of Denmark during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. The Prince was in Australia with the Danish sailing team.

They met at the Slip Inn Bar in Sydney following the Olympic opening ceremony on September 15, 2000.

Six months later, reports emerged from Denmark that an Australian had captured the Prince's heart. The "mystery woman" was later identified as Mary Donaldson.

Mary Donaldson visited Denmark for the first time in December 2001. By January 2002 Prince Frederik had confirmed the relationship and Mary Donaldson started taking lessons in language, Danish history and etiquette.

In April 2003, Mary Donaldson was formally presented to Queen Margrethe who gave, in August, the first sign of approval of her son and heir's engagement. On October 8, the Queen officially approved the marriage, and the wedding date was set.

  • Mary Elizabeth Donaldson

    Place and date of birth: Hobart, Tasmania, February 5, 1972

    Education: Bachelors of commerce and law at the University of Tasmania

    Languages: English and Danish

    Parents: Henrietta Clark Donaldson (died November 20, 1997) and John Dalgleish Donaldson. Stepmother: Susan Elizabeth Moody

    Hobbies: Basketball, hockey, cycling, running

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