Mary: The First Australian-Born Queen - Hope 103.2

Mary: The First Australian-Born Queen

From a fateful night in a Sydney nightspot to Queen of Denmark, Mary Donaldson’s storied journey is the stuff of fairytales.

By Mike CrooksThursday 18 Jan 2024NewsReading Time: 4 minutes

More than twenty years after a chance meeting at a Sydney bar, Mary Donaldson is now the Queen of Denmark—the world’s first Australian to take on such a role.

From a fateful night in a Sydney nightspot to Queen of Denmark, Mary Donaldson’s storied journey to the height of the Danish kingdom is the stuff of fairytales.

On January 14, the former Crown Prince Frederik, 55, was crowned the King of Denmark, after Frederik’s mother, Queen Margrethe II, abdicated after more than five decades on the throne.

As the King’s wife, Princess Mary, 51, became Queen.

“On 14 January 2024 – 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father – I will step down as Queen of Denmark,” Margrethe said in her annual address to the nation on January 1.

“I will hand over the throne to my son Crown Prince Frederik.”

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Translation: From all of us at Christiansborg Castle, the National Museum – Congratulations to His Majesty King Frederik 10. of Denmark! Congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Mary of Denmark. Congratulations to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Christian of Denmark.
📷 Royal Couple: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix
📷 Royal Family: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

New King

Unlike British coronations, the handover was a quick and low-key affair.

Inside Copenhagen’s Christiansborg Palace, Margrethe’s signature on abdication papers made Frederik Denmark’s head of state.

Afterwards, thousands of people waving red and white flags gathered in the streets of the capital to welcome King Frederik X.

At 3pm, he stepped on to the balcony of the palace, followed by his wife, Queen Mary, who was the first commoner to become Queen of Denmark.

Joining them were their four children – 18-year-old Christian (now the new Crown Prince), Princess Isabelle, 16, and twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent, 13.

“My hope is to become a unifying king of tomorrow,” said the King. “It is a task I have approached all my life. It is a task I take on with pride, respect and joy.”

“My hope is to become a unifying king of tomorrow,” said the King. “


And it’s a task that will be supported by his Australian-born wife of nearly 20 years.

Born in Hobart, Mary earned a Bachelor of Commerce and Laws before working in advertising and high-end real-estate.

She met Prince Frederik in Sydney’s Slip Inn bar during the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

At the time, Prince Frederick was with the then Prince of Asturias, who is now King Felipe VI of Spain.

A romance blossomed and a long-distance relationship ensued.

Mary’s mother, Henrietta, was an executive assistant at the University of Tasmania, and her father, John, was a mathematics professor.

“I’m just very happy for my daughter, and I’m very happy for Frederick,” Prof Donaldson told Who magazine at the time of their engagement in 2003.

The two wed in Copenhagen Cathedral in 2004 in what was celebrated around the world as a modern-day fairytale.

“Mary, today all of Denmark welcomes you with open arms,” Queen Margrethe said at the time. “With warmth and dignity you have met us, your new family, and all your new countrymen. You instill confidence. Around you, the garden of Denmark also blooms.”

Champion of causes

As Queen, Mary continues her work in the foundation she established in 2007 to combat “social isolation.”
The Mary Foundation focusses on three areas – bullying and well-being, domestic violence, and loneliness.

“The Mary Foundation’s activities, including projects, analyses, and communication efforts, are primarily located within the three areas,” read a foundation statement.

Mary is also a champion of gender equality.

“I strongly believe gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will create some of the greatest opportunities of our time,” she said in 2016.

“When you invest in girls and women, everybody wins.”

She is also a patron of the Maternity Foundation, which focuses on women’s reproductive and sexual health.

Further, Mary has military credentials in Demark. While still a princess in 2008, she began as a private in the Home Guard. She is now an honorary major.

Australian ties

As an Australian-born Queen of Denmark, Mary’s role strengthened the relationship between the two countries, according to the Royal Danish Consulate Tasmania.

Further, through her role Mary has made contributions to Australian causes, including the children’s charity the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, for which she is the patron.

“I am extremely proud to be the International Patron of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and support them in its invaluable work,” Mary said.

It’s work she will continue as Queen – a role she was destined for since that chance encounter in 2000.

“It takes courage to dare, but without daring we lose what could have been,” she told her husband during a speech at Frederik’s 50th birthday celebration in 2018.

“I am so happy that you swept me off my feet and that we dared to fall for each other – not for a moment, but for life.”