Over the weekend, Queen Margrethe announced she was stepping down as the ruling monarch of Denmark. The news took many by surprise. A Danish royal hasn’t abdicated the throne since 1146, and like her neighboring female ruler Queen Elizabeth, many expected Margrethe to keep the crown for life. Yet she made her intentions clear: “On 14th January, 2024—52 years after I succeeded my beloved father—I will step down as Queen of Denmark. I will hand over the throne to my son Crown Prince Frederik,” she said in her annual New Year’s address to the nation.
Succeeding her will be her eldest son, 55-year-old Frederik, as well as his 51-year-old Australian wife, Mary. The Crown Princess, in particular, received her fair share of coverage: while much was written about her and Frederik’s love story upon their marriage in 2004, a whole new generation has begun to discover the origins of Denmark’s future queen.
Ahead of her ascension to the position of Queen Consort of Denmark, here’s everything you need to know about Princess Mary.
Princess Mary grew up in Australia
Born Mary Donaldson in Hobart, Australia, the future royal spent nearly her entire childhood in Tasmania—except for one brief year when her family moved to Houston, Texas after her father took a job at the Johnson Space Center. She attended college at the University of Tasmania, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce and Laws degree.
Like Kate Middleton, Mary is from a simple background
Mary did not come from a formal aristocratic background—just like another beloved Queen-in-waiting, the Princess of Wales. Instead, her parents worked in academia. Her mother, Henrietta, was the executive assistant to the vice-chancellor of the University of Tasmania, while her father was a mathematics professor.
She met Prince Frederik on a night out
Mary and Frederik met at the Slipp Inn, a Sydney bar, during the 2000 Olympic Games. He was with the now King Felipe VI of Spain (then the Prince of Asturias), who knew Mary’s roommate. The Prince and Mary, an advertising executive, hit it off. A long-distance relationship soon began.
The two wed in May 2004
Mary wore a long-sleeved ivory silk wedding dress and an Irish lace veil for her royal wedding at Copenhagen Cathedral in May 2004. At the time, the press portrayed the affair as a modern-day fairytale, citing Mary’s “commoner” status and their chance first encounter. A 400-person reception was later held at Fredensborg Palace on the island of Zealand.
Mary and Frederik have four children
The Crown Princess and Prince’s four children are Christian, Isabella, and royal twins Vincent and Josephine. Their son Christian will eventually succeed his father as the King of Denmark.
She is a champion of women’s rights
In her official biography, the royal family highlights Mary’s work with advancing and improving the lives of women. Her greatest achievement thus far? The Mary Foundation, which focuses on combating bullying, domestic violence, and loneliness. She is also a patron of the Maternity Foundation, which focuses on women’s reproductive health.
Originally published in Vogue.com