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Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark facts for kids

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Crown Princess of Denmark
Countess of Monpezat
Crown Princess Mary.jpg
Crown Princess Mary in 2011
Born Mary Elizabeth Donaldson
5 February 1972 (1972-02-05) (age 49)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • Prince Christian
  • Princess Isabella
  • Prince Vincent
  • Princess Josephine
Father John Dalgleish Donaldson
Mother Henrietta Clark Horne
Religion Church of Denmark (Lutheran)
prev. Presbyterian
Military career
Allegiance  Denmark
Service/branch Home Guard
Years of service 2008–present
Rank First lieutenant

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat, R.E. (Mary Elizabeth; née Donaldson; born 5 February 1972) is the wife of Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark. Frederik is the heir apparent to the throne, which means that should Frederik succeed, she will automatically become Queen of Denmark.

The couple met at the Slip Inn, a pub in Sydney when the prince was visiting Australia during the 2000 Summer Olympics. Their official engagement in 2003 and their marriage the following year was the subject of extensive attention from Australian and European news media, which portrayed the marriage as a modern "fairytale" romance between a prince and a commoner.

Early life

Mary Elizabeth Donaldson was born the youngest of four children to Scottish parents, Henrietta (née Horne), an executive assistant to the vice-chancellor of the University of Tasmania, and John Dalgleish Donaldson, a mathematics professor. Her paternal grandfather was Captain Peter Donaldson (1911–1978). She was named after her grandmothers, Mary Dalgleish and Elizabeth Gibson Melrose, and was born and raised in Hobart, Australia. During her childhood, she was involved in sports and other extracurricular activities both at school and elsewhere. She studied music – playing piano, flute, and clarinet – and played basketball and hockey. Her mother died on 20 November 1997. In 2001, her father married the British author and novelist Susan Horwood.


In 1974, Donaldson started schooling in Clear Lake City Elementary School in Houston, Texas (where her father was working) and moved to Sandy Bay, Tasmania from 1975 to 1977. Her primary education, from 1978 to 1983, was at Waimea Heights with her secondary schooling (1984–1987) being at Taroona High School, and matriculation (1988–1989) at Hobart College. She studied at the University of Tasmania from 1990 to 1994, graduating with a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degree on 27 May 1995. Between 1994 and 1996, she attended a graduate program and qualified with certificates in advertising from the Advertising Federation of Australia (AFA) and direct marketing from the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA). Her native language is English, and she studied French during her secondary education. In 2002, she briefly worked as an English tutor in Paris. After meeting Frederik at the Slip Inn during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Donaldson studied Danish as a foreign language at Studieskolen in Copenhagen in 2003.


Royal Wedding Stockholm 2010-Konserthuset-391 cropped2
Princess Mary in 2010.

She worked for Australian and global advertising agencies after graduating in 1995. Upon graduation she moved to Melbourne to work in advertising. She became a trainee in marketing and communications with the Melbourne office of DDB Needham, taking a position of account executive. In 1996, she was employed by Mojo Partners as an account manager. In 1998, six months after her mother's death, she resigned and travelled to America and Europe. In Edinburgh, she worked for three months as an account manager with Rapp Collins Worldwide; then, in early 1999, she was appointed as an account director with the international advertising agency Young & Rubicam in Sydney.

In June 2000, she moved to a smaller Australian agency, Love Branding, working for a short time as the company's first account director. However, in the (Australian) spring of 2000 until December 2001, she became sales director and a member of the management team of Belle Property, a real estate firm specialising in luxury property. In the first half of 2002 Donaldson taught English at a business school in Paris but, on moving to Denmark permanently, she was employed by Microsoft Business Solutions (5 September 2002 – 24 September 2003) near Copenhagen as a project consultant for business development, communications and marketing.

Courtship and engagement

Donaldson met Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark at the Slip Inn during the 2000 Summer Olympics on 16 September in Sydney. He was not identified by her friends as the Crown Prince of Denmark until after they met. They conducted a long-distance relationship by phone, email and letter and Frederik made a number of discreet visits to Australia. On 15 November 2001 the Danish weekly magazine Billed Bladet named Mary as Frederik's girlfriend. She then moved from Australia to Denmark in December 2001, while she was working as an English tutor in Paris. On 24 September 2003 the Danish court announced that Queen Margrethe II intended to give her consent to the marriage at the State Council meeting scheduled for 8 October 2003.

Frederik presented her with an engagement ring featuring an emerald-cut diamond and two emerald-cut ruby baguettes, which are similar to the colour of Denmark's flag. The couple became officially engaged on 8 October 2003.

Marriage and children

Royal Wedding Stockholm 2010-Konserthuset-388
TRH The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark at the wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and Daniel Westling (Stockholm, June 2010).

Donaldson and Crown Prince Frederik married on 14 May 2004 in Copenhagen Cathedral, in Copenhagen. She wore a wedding gown designed by Danish designer Uffe Frank and had a small bridal party which included her two sisters and her friend Amber Petty, a radio announcer on commercial radio in Australia. Frederik was supported by his brother Prince Joachim. Three of her nieces, Erin and Kate Stephens and Madisson Woods, were flower girls; Frederik's nephew Prince Nikolai of Denmark and first cousin once removed, Count Richard von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth were pageboys. The wedding was celebrated in Copenhagen and at Fredensborg Palace. The couple reportedly spent their honeymoon in Africa.

The couple have four children:

  • Prince Christian Valdemar Henri John, born 15 October 2005 at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen
  • Princess Isabella Henrietta Ingrid Margrethe, born 21 April 2007 at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen
  • Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander, born 8 January 2011 at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen
  • Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda, born 8 January 2011 at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen

The Danish Folketing (parliament) passed a special law (Mary's Law) giving Donaldson Danish citizenship upon her marriage, a standard procedure for new foreign members of the royal family; she was previously a dual citizen of Australia and the United Kingdom. Formerly a Presbyterian, she converted to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark upon marriage.

The Crown Princess and her family currently reside at Frederik VIII's Palace, one of the four palaces that make up the Amalienborg Palace complex. From May 2004, they have also resided at the Chancellery House, a building in the park at Fredensborg Palace, during the summer months.

Among others, Mary is the godmother of Princess Estelle of Sweden – who was also given the secondary name Mary in her honour – as well as her nephew, Prince Henrik of Denmark.

Public life

Royal guest Wedding Victoria
HRH the Crown Princess of Denmark attends the wedding of the Crown Princess of Sweden. She is pictured here surrounded by (left to right): Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark; the Prince of Orange; Princess of Orange; Crown Princess of Norway; and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Following the wedding, the couple embarked upon a summer working-tour of mainland Denmark aboard the royal yacht Dannebrog, then travelled to Greenland and later to the 2004 Athens Olympics. In 2005, during the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen, the royal family was involved in related events throughout the year. Frederik and Mary marked the anniversary in London, New York and in Australia, where she was made Honorary Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador to Australia in the Utzon Room of the Sydney Opera House. In 2005 the royal family visited the Faroe Islands.

Since becoming Crown Princess of Denmark, she has made a number of international visits and Frederik and Mary participated in the reburial ceremonies for Empress Maria Feodorovna in Denmark and Saint Petersburg. In November 2009 Mary made a surprise visit to Danish soldiers in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. One of the Crown Princess's stops was FOB Armadillo.

In the context of immigrant issues in Denmark, Mary has visited the disadvantaged migrant areas of Vollsmose (2006), Gellerup (2007), and Viborg (2010),and has participated in integration projects and in projects to teach the Danish language to refugees. As patron of the Danish Refugee Council, Mary visited Uganda (2008) and East Africa (2011) and supports fundraising for the region.

Mary has played an active role in promoting an anti-bullying program based on an Australian model through the auspices of Denmark's Save the Children. Mary is also involved in a new campaign to raise awareness and safe practices among Danes about skin cancer through The Danish Cancer Society. In September 2007 Mary formally established the Mary Foundation, with capital from public and private donations, to advance cultural diversity and encourage a sense of the right to belong and contribute to society for those who are socially isolated or excluded.

Mary was voted Woman of the Year 2008 by a Danish magazine, Alt for damerne. The Princess donated her cash reward to charity. She was interviewed by Parade Magazine (US) and on television programs of Andrew Denton (Australia) and USA Today (USA).

As a native English-speaker, Mary's main priority from the time of her engagement was to become fluent in the Danish language. Mary acknowledged that this was a challenge for her in several interviews at the time of her engagement and marriage. One can expect that when Frederik ascends the throne, Mary will become the first Australian-born queen consort.


Mary is an active patron of Denmark's third-highest-earning export industry, the fashion industry, and is Patron of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.

She has been named one of the world's most fashionable people in Vanity Fair's annual International Best-Dressed List and has posed and given interviews for magazines including Vogue Australia (where she used pieces of foreign designers, such as Hugo Boss, Prada, Louis Vuitton or Gaultier, and Danish designers, as Malene Birger and Georg Jensen), Dansk (Danish Magazine, dedicated to Danish fashion), German Vogue (where she was photographed between pieces of Danish modern art in Amalienborg Palace). Mary also posed for other magazines during her life as a royal, such as Women's Weekly Australia magazine (to which she spoke on several occasions about her life as a royal and her family) and Parade Magazine.

Her elegance was praised by designer Tommy Hilfiger.


Since 2004 Crown Princess Mary has steadily worked to establish her relationships with various organisations, their issues, missions, programmes and staff. Mary's patronages range across areas of culture, the fashion industry, humanitarian aid, support for research and science, social and health patronages and sport (golf and swimming). The organisations for which she is patron have reported positive outcomes through their relationship with Mary and there are various reports in the Danish media and on some of the websites of the organisations themselves about Mary being quite involved in her working relationship with them. Mary is currently involved in supporting anti-obesity programs through the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe.

Mary's current patronages include cultural organisations, the Danish fashion industry humanitarian aid, research and science, social, health and humanitarian organisations and sporting organisations.

Crown Princess Mary is also an Honorary Life Governor of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute based at the Garvan Institute/St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, a member of the International Committee of Women Leaders for Mental Health and a member of various sporting clubs (riding, golf and yachting). In June 2010, it was announced that Crown Princess Mary has become Patron of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, "to support the agency's work to promote maternal health and safer motherhood in more than 150 developing nations". Mary lends her support to a number of other 'one-off' Danish causes, industry events and international conferences. In 2011, the Westmead Cancer Centre at Westmead Hospital in Sydney was renamed the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Care Centre Westmead.

Mary Foundation

On 11 September 2007 Crown Princess Mary announced the establishment of the Mary Foundation at the inaugural meeting at Amalienborg Palace. The initial funds of DKK 1.1 million were collected in Denmark and Greenland and donated to Frederik and Mary as a wedding gift in 2004. Crown Princess Mary is the chairwoman of eight trustees. The Mary Foundation aims to improve lives compromised by environment, heredity, illness or other circumstances which can isolate or exclude people socially. In 2014, Mary received a Bambi Award for her work with the foundation.

LGBT rights

In 2016, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the Crown Princess gave a speech on LGBT rights at a forum in Copenhagen hosted by the Danish government. She called for an end to discrimination, oppression, and violence against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. On 25 April 2018, Mary was invited to present the honorary award to LGBT Danmark at the Danish Rainbow Awards – AXGIL 2018. She thus became the first ever member of the royal family to attend the Danish Rainbow Awards.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Royal Monogram of Princess Mary of Denmark
Mary's monogram

Titles and styles

  • 5 February 1972 – 14 May 2004: Miss Mary Elizabeth Donaldson
  • 14 May 2004 – 29 April 2008: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark
  • 29 April 2008 – present: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat.

Mary has been Crown Princess of Denmark since her marriage and also Countess of Monpezat by marriage since 29 April 2008, when Queen Margrethe II granted the title to her male-line descendants. She also holds the rank of first lieutenant in the Home Guard.


National honours

  •  Denmark: Knight of the Order of the Elephant (R.E.)
  •  Denmark: Dame of the Royal Family Decoration of Queen Margrethe II
  •  Denmark: Recipient of the Homeguard Medal of Merit
  •  Denmark: Recipient of the 75th Birthday Medal of Prince Henrik
  •  Denmark: Recipient of the 350th Anniversary Medal of the Royal Danish Life Guards
  •  Denmark: Recipient of the 70th Birthday Medal of Queen Margrethe II
  •  Denmark: Recipient of the Ruby Jubilee Medal of Queen Margrethe II
  •  Denmark: Recipient of the 75th Birthday Medal of Queen Margrethe II
  •  Denmark: Recipient of the Golden Anniversary Medal of Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik

Foreign honours


Coat of arms of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Coat of arms of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

With the marriage in 2004, the Crown Princess Mary was honoured with the Order of the Elephant, and her father John Dalgleish Donaldson with the Order of the Dannebrog. In accordance with the statutes of the Danish Royal Orders, both the Crown Princess and her father were granted a personal coat of arms, this for display in the Chapel of the Royal Orders at Frederiksborg Castle. The main field of the Crown Princess' coat of arms is or tinctured and shows a gules MacDonald eagle and a Sable tinctured boat both symbolising her Scottish ancestry. The chief field is azure tinctured and shows two gold Commonwealth Stars from the Coat of arms of Australia, and a gold rose in between, depicted as her personal symbol. Above the shield is placed the heraldic crown of a Crown Prince of Denmark.

The coat of arms of her father is almost identical to that of the Crown Princess, but a gold infinity symbol is depicted (symbolising his career as an Australian mathematician), instead of the gold Rose. Above his shield is instead placed a barred helmet topped with a gules rampant lion, which is turned outward. The lion is derived from the Scottish coat of arms and also from the arms of Tasmania and Hobart. Both coats of arms were approved in 2006 and placed in the Chapel of the Royal Orders in 2007.

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