The future Crown Princess of Denmark was born Mary Elizabeth Donaldson on 5 February 1972 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia as the youngest daughter of John Dalgleish Donaldson and his first wife, Henrietta Clark Horne. She has two sisters, Jane Stephens and Patricia Bailey and a brother John Stuart Donaldson. Mary’s mother died on 20 November 1997, and her father remarried to Susan Elizabeth Horwood in 2001.
Mary spent two years of her early education at Clear Lake City Elementary School in Houston, Texas, where her father was working at the time. Upon the family’s return to Australia in 1975, she attended the Sandy Bay Infants School until 1977. After that, she attended the Waimea Heights Primary School until 1982. She attended the Taroona High School from 1983 until 1986, and she also spent two years at the Hobart Matriculation College, where she developed a love for sports. She enrolled in the University of Tasmania in 1989 and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Law in 1994.
She began her career with the advertising agency DDB Needham in their graduate program and became an account executive for client management. Over the years, she worked at MOJO Partners, Rapp Collins Worldwide of Edinburgh, Young and Rubicam, Love and Belle Property.
Mary met her future husband, Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, on 16 September 2000 during the 2000 Summer Olympics. He travelled back and forth between Denmark, and they conducted a long-distance relationship. Mary briefly worked in Paris before making the final move to Denmark. On 24 September 2003, it was announced that Frederik’s mother Queen Margrethe II of Denmark intended to give her consent to their marriage. They were officially engaged on 8 October 2003.
On 14 May 2004, Mary and Frederik married in Copenhagen Cathedral. Mary wore a wedding dress designed by Uffe Frank, a Danish designer. Her bridal party included her two sisters and her friend Amber. Mary’s veil had a rich royal history and was first worn by Princess Margaret of Connaught, later Crown Princess of Sweden. Her daughter Ingrid became Queen of Denmark and was the mother of Queen Margrethe II. Both wore the veil as well. Mary’s wedding tiara was a gift from Queen Margrethe and her husband, Prince Henrik. Mary also converted from Presbyterianism to the Lutheran Church of Denmark. Upon marriage, she became Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth of Denmark. She was also granted the Danish nationality.
After the wedding, the newlyweds spent the summer on a working-tour of Denmark, before travelling to Greenland and attending the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Their first child, Prince Christian, was born the following year on 15 October. He was followed by Princess Isabella on 21 April 2007 and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine on 8 January 2011.
As Crown Princess of Denmark, Mary has picked up a number of royal patronages and she learned to speak Danish fluently. In 2019, she became the first person not born into the Danish royal family since 1972 to be appointed rigsforstander (regent). If she becomes Queen consort as expected, she’ll be the first Australian-born Queen consort in a reigning European dynasty.1
- Australian-born Susan Cullen-Ward was titular Queen of Albania