Tomorrow is HRH Crown Princess Mary’s 39th birthday. So, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to post a mini-bio of the Crown Princess since I have the day off and have nothing else better to do.
Now, I must warn you… this is going to be a long – long — post… so grab a cup of coffee or tea and be prepared to read till you just cannot take it anymore.
On February 5, 1972, Mary Elizabeth Donaldson was born in Hobart, Tasmania to Professor John Donaldson and Henrietta Clark Horne Donaldson. Mary, is the youngest of four children, and by all accounts (according to her) she had an idyllic childhood in tranquil Tasmania. She had loads of friends, active in school sports, loved to swim, played Lacrosse, boys adored her, and she loved to ride horses and she even participated in several competitions with her a horse, Bold Interest, which her parents bought for her.
After completing her studies at Taroona High School and then at the University of Tasmania, Mary Donaldson moved to Melbourne, Australia where she worked for the advertising agency, DDB Needham, as an account executive. One year later, she moved to another advertising agency, Mojo Partners.
After the sudden death of her mother, Henrietta, Mary quit her job and “… travelled the world for ten months.” ( Interview; begins @ 5:03 mark) Soon she found herself living in Scotland, her parents birth home, for the next several months. Homesick for awesome Australia, Mary moved to Sydney in 1999. (Palshoj and Ritter, 21.)
Whilst in Sydney, she lived with two roommates in a not-so-epic pad off Porter Street in Bondi Junction. Soon, she took up a job at Young & Rubicam. In early 2000, she changed jobs yet again. (P&R, 29.) This time she worked for the advertising agency, Love Branding.
She sure job hops a lot… hmmm.
Any who, on September 16, 2000, she met HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark during the Sydney Olympic Games. According to Frederik, from his official autobiography, Frederik – Kronprins af Danmark:
I had a serious case of jet-lag and when my brother and I landed in Sydney, Australia where everyone was in party-mood. We quickly got into the festive mood. One of my cousins arranged through his friend, Beatrice Tarnawski, for he, my cousins [Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Princess Martha-Louise, & Prince Felipe of Spain] , my brother Prince Joachim, and myself to go out for a night on the town.
The woman who introduced Mary to Crown Prince Frederik was Beatrice Tarnawski, a dear friend of Bruno Gómez-Acebo, the nephew of HM King Juan Carlos of Spain. According to Beatrice, “I called my good friend Andrew Miles, with whom I studied design with some years ago. I asked if he wanted to go out on the town with Bruno and some friends… and bring some nice girls.” (P&R, 26.) So he did. One of the women was Mary Donaldson. “She was dressed in jeans and a sleeveless top with a metallic look in shimmering green and yellow colors.”
On November 5, 2002, the Austrailan newspaper, The Age, wrote about Ms. Tarnawski and the night she introduced Mary Donaldson to Crown Prince Frederik at the infamous bar, Slip Inn:
The famous playboy crown prince sat alongside his cousin, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, his brother, Prince Joachim, and Princess Martha of Norway at the Slip Inn as the country was celebrating the spectacle of the Olympic Games opening ceremony. The conversation turned to that first day’s competition after Ian Thorpe had smashed a world record.
Joining the discussion were a couple of flirtatious Australian women, who started debating whether hairy or hairless was sexier. One was Beatrice Tarnawski, whose sister is a friend of the nephew of the king of Spain. Ms Tarnawski happened to invite her friend Andrew Miles and his flatmate [Mary Donaldson] along for a beer and pizza on that first night of the Games.
‘All the girls around the table were discussing what is best, the man with a hairy chest or a man without hair, and the princes were wearing open shirts,’ said Ms Tarnawski.
‘We were allowed to touch Prince Frederik and Prince Nikolaos. I liked Prince Frederik best because he was so smooth. Prince Nikolaos had a lot of hair and that really wasn’t my type.’
Ms Donaldson, too, liked the hairless Crown Prince Frederik and they partied on into the night. (The Age)
As the night went on, Mary and Frederik were inseparable. Beatrice recalls that the two were, “… conversing animatedly as they walked to the Establishment Bar and when they arrived, the stood close together, engrossed in a conversation and laughing together.” (P&R, 28.)
Soon, the Prince had to leave epic Sydney for chilly Denmark… and to return to his girlfriend, Bettina Odum. Yes, while Frederik and Mary were getting to know each other and perhaps flirting with each other the Prince’s girlfriend was at home in Denmark.
All alone probably thinking of her boyfriend, Crown Prince Frederik.
During their short separation – Mary and Frederik that is — the couple began to write to each other via Email. They also talked constantly on the phone as well as sent each other gifts. It was during this time that Mary decided to do something unique for herself. She enrolled in Starmakers, a course best described as “Be the best you can be!” According to a 2002 interview with Teresa Page, the owner of Starmakers, in The Sun-Herald newspaper, Ms. Page notes:
Four hours a week, for six weeks, [she] Ms. Page, taught the law graduate, now 30, how to walk into a room, turn, stand and shake hands. She learned to ‘embrace the spotlight, develop a new self-image, set extraordinarily high goals and manifest dreams… She was definitely on a path of self-development. Mary wanted to change and she wanted to change her life.’Ms Donaldson enrolled in the course five weeks after meeting, and partying with, the Crown Prince at the Slip Inn bar during the Olympics. They are said to have connected via a mutual love of horses and fitness. (The Sun-Herald)
The course also taught Mary how to write, pose and to be comfortable in front the camera, and so forth. Starmakers also taught Mary the importance of grooming as well as how to dress for success. Now, I must tell you that Mary has denied that she enrolled herself in Starmakers after she met Crown Prince Frederik. She said she enrolled in the course prior to meeting him.
In mid-October 2000, Crown Prince Frederik returned to Sydney, Australia to be with Mary. Bettina was at home, once again, in chilly Denmark. Alone. Again. Any who, Frederik and Mary enjoyed various activities together in and around Sydney, and even took a trip together near Queensland, “…we went to a small cottage near the border of Queensland… it was beautiful.” It was also during this time that the Frederik introduced Mary to his friend, Chris Meehan, who owns a mega real estate company in Sydney, Belle Property. (P&R, 32.)
Once again, Mary quit her job at Love Branding to join Belle Property. On November 6, 2000, and this is heartbreaking, Frederik had to go home early. The reason: His beloved grandmother, Queen Ingrid was near death. The two were extremely close. Frederik was crushed, so he rushed back to Denmark to be by her side. The next day, Queen Ingrid died.
Frederik “allegedly” relied on Mary, not Bettina, to get him through that difficult time in his life. She even sent him a book on how to deal with grief.
Seven months after meeting Mary, Crown Prince Frederik finally grew some balls and broke with his girlfriend of many years, Bettina.
She was heartbroken.
Now, that Crown Prince Frederik was free from poor Bettina and now that he is no longer in mourning over the loss of his grandmother, in mid-October 2001 the Prince returned to Australia to be by Mary’s side. She was over-joyed. He beyond happy. It was love. Pure and forever soulmate love, according to Frederik, “It was just everything about her, that I was drawn to… it was her eyes and relatively deep voice.. Mary is an exciting person… she excites me!” (from the book, Frederik – Kronprins aft Danmark)
Ummm, perhaps you should grab, that… um… basket and tissues right about now. I sense that you just threw up in your mouth a little.
After a year of long distance dating Frederik asked Mary to come back to Denmark with him so he wouldn’t have to fly his ass half way around the world every three months to see her. Plus, he wanted to save money, I suppose. So, Mary happily agreed. The next day she handed in her resignation at Belle Property and said, “Sayounara, bitches!”
I’m kidding. She didn’t say that, but I’m sure she said, “goodbye.”
During her last few weeks at Belle Property, the Danish magazine, Billed Bladet, were in town desperately trying to find this Australian mystery woman who stole Frederik’s heart. On November 12, 2001, they succeeded. They found her. Da da dummmm.
In the book, Mary: Crown Princess of Denmark, the writers note what happened that faithful day:
After a long day at work, Mary left her office on the first floor and as she approached the stairs, Anna Johannsen (from Billed Bladet) was waiting for her with all the important questions [including] ‘Are you Crown Prince Frederik’s girlfriend?’ Mary replied, ‘No Comment’… a photographer (hiding in the bushes) snapped a photo of Mary in a tight red skirt and black blouse. (P&R, 39.)
On December 16, 2001, Mary broke her lease with her roommates. Packed up. And moved to Europe. Now, instead of moving to Denmark for some reason Mary moved to Paris, France where she “allegedly” worked teaching English as a second language at the Business English School. However, many royal watchers have yet to find any school in Paris with that name. Essentially, there is no evidence to support the claim that she worked as a teacher in Paris. Nor are there any photos of her in Paris (and remember the paparazzi stalked Mary’s every move whilst in Sydney prior to her move to Europe. Yet, there are no photos from her time in Paris… hmmm.) After eight and a half months of living in lovely old gay Paris Mary finally moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in August 2002 (Interview)
Mary moved into a $7,000 a month luxury pad in Langelinie and was soon hired by Microsoft (Navision) to work as a project consultant. (P&R, 43.) She also began to learn the Danish language via a private tutor, “I try to get lessons every day, filling my mind with the danish language. 5 days a week I have Danish lessons or Danish conversation for three hours.” (From an interview with journalist, Anne Wolden-Ræthinge, April 2004.)
For the next year and a half Mary and Frederik were attached at the hip. Whether they attended weddings, christenings, dining in Copenhagen, golfing, riding horses, traveling to Tasmania and Australia, skiing in Switzerland, holidaying at Château de Caïx, sailing in and around Denmark, visiting Rome, the French Riviera, and Brazil… the couple were together. Mary also made some very dear friends whilst in Denmark including Caroline Heering and Baroness Helle Reedz-Thott (aka Baroness Hell.)
It was also during this time the Danish press could not stop speculating when the couple were going to become engaged. They just couldn’t shut up about it… especially Anna Johannson from my all time favorite Danish tabloid, Billed Bladet.
Finally, it happened.
On September 24, 2003, it was announced to the world that HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark proposed to Miss Mary Elizabeth Donaldson. (Announcement) One month later — the day of days — happened for Frederik and Mary: The Ulitimate Press Conference & Wave-A-Thon & Gala Engagement Dinner. Once again, the Queen’s Lord Chamberlain, Ove Ullerup, issued a press release:
The Office of the Lord Chamberlain announces:
Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark and His Royal Highness The Prince Consort have pleasure in announcing the engagement of their son, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince to Miss Mary Elizabeth Donaldson.
Today, Wednesday 8 October 2003, the Council of State gathered at Amalienborg Slot, presided over by Her Majesty The Queen. Upon submission from the Prime Minister and in accordance with the Act of Succession of 1953, Her Majesty gave her consent to the marriage of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Miss Mary Elizabeth Donaldson. The wedding will take place on Friday 14 May 2004.
Miss Donaldson is a British and an Australian citizen and is currently a member of the Presbyterian church. She has agreed to become a member of the Evangelical-Lutheran church and to apply for Danish citizenship, thus relinquishing her British and Australian citizenship ties.
Professor Christian Thodberg, Her Majsty The Queen’s Chaplain will undertake Miss Donaldson’s spiritual guidance in her transition to the Evangelical-Lutheran faith.
The marriage ceremony will be performed by the Bishop of Copenhagen, Erik Norman Svendsen assisted by Professor Christian Thodberg in the Cathedral of Copenhagen, Our Lady’s Church.
At high noon, October 8, 2003, Mary and Frederik stepped out onto the balcony at Amalienborg Slot to wave to the crowds in Copenhagen, then had a press conference, and finally an fancy engagement dinner at Fredensborg Slot. (Press Conference and Engagement Dinner. Please click Se Video to watch.)
Between October 8, 2003 and May 14, 2004, Mary had a lot on her plate. First, she had to learn proper Danish protocol, continue her rigid Danish lessons, have an aesthetic make-over, and much more. During that time, many royal watchers noticed a change in Mary. She had lost a tremendous amount of weight and a sparkle she once had began to fad from her eyes. In other words, sista looked stressed the heck out! And, who could blame her? I mean, she was entering a restricting and otherwise boring life; moreover, hard-to- live-up-to expectations. In the end, I’d say she faired quite well.
Days before the mega-wedding of the century in Denmark, there were lots of activities going on celebrating the upcoming wedding. For example, there were:
- Sailing competitions
- A gala dinner at Christiansborg Slot
- A reception at Folketinget
- A reception atand the Radhus (town hall)
- A regal gala concert at the Royal Theatre
- A rock concert
- Australian Govenor General’s Dinner
- A Danish Defence Wedding Tribute (basically it was an armed forces bruhaha with cannons being shot all over hell and gone and dozens of military airplanes whizzing above Copenhagen. Yeah, it was a bit much.)
- Two luncheons aboard the royal yacht, Dannebrog
On May 14, 2004, HRH Crown Prince Frederik married Mary Elizabeth Donaldson in an elaborate regal wedding at the Von Frue Kirke in Copenhagen, Denmark. As the bride walked up the aisle, to G.F. Handel’s Zadok the Priest (an odd choice if you ask me, but whatever it’s not my wedding), Crown Prince Frederik cried… seriously cried. In fact, I was worried that he was having mental breakdown standing there waiting for his Mary. Nevertheless, Frederik bucked up and the ceremony went on. It was lovely. Slightly boring, but nonetheless lovely. ( The Danish Royal Wedding)
After the wedding and a two-week honeymoon in Africa, the new Crown Princess of Denmark got right to work. Her first job as a royal: Attending a horse competition in Silkeborg, Denmark. After that, the Danish Crown prince couple visited Greenland, attended a concert, attended the opening of the Danish Parliament, took a summer cruise around Denmark, attended the Olympic games in Athens, and hung out the Danish and German royal relatives at Graasten Slot.
Today, the couple have two children and by all accounts seem to be quite happy. Crown Princess Mary is also a patron of many organizations including the CIFF, the Danish Heart Association, and the Danish Golf Association to name a few, and everyone on planet Earth freaking loves her.
Well, not really.
Happy Birthday, Crown Princess Mary! One more year until you are officially middle-aged!!!! Live it up, gurl!!!!
Palshoj, Karin and Gitter Redder. Mary: Crown Princess of Denmark. Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2005.
“Sydney lass plays lady in waiting.” The Age (November 5, 2002)
Cox, Kate. “The actor who taught Mary to be a princess.” The Sun-Herald (October 11, 2002)
Too many articles to mention from Billed Bladet, BT.dk, Berlingske Tidende, Politiken, Ekstra Bladet, and much more.
Mary Elizabeth Donaldson: A Documentary
Official site for the Danish Royal Family
Photos courtesy of Various magazines, Zimbio, foto kritik, and the Internet