On 14 January, Mary, and her husband Prince Frederik of Denmark, were confirmed as the nation's new queen consort and king at a fabulous coronation ceremony, which echoed King Charles' own coronation in glamour and style. The event came just weeks after the surprise abdication of Queen Margrethe II, who ruled Denmark for 51 years, and exactly two decades after Mary and Frederik wed.
Mary has always been known for her elegant style, and has often drawn comparisons with Kate, the Princess of Wales. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the outfit she chose for her coronation was suitably beautiful, and imbued with sentimental meaning.
Here's what we know about her coronation look, as well as her history as a princess, her future as queen consort and her friendship with the British royal family.
Who designed Queen Mary's coronation outfit?
Appearing on the balcony with her husband at Copenhagen’s Christiansborg Palace before the cheering crowds, Mary looked ethereal in a white dress by 35-year-old Danish designer Soeren Le Schmidt.
The dress featured a mock shawl detail across a long-sleeved fit-and-flare dress, one of Mary's favourite silhouettes. The dress featured a tea-length hem, gentle pleating throughout the skirt, a shawl which fell into a dramatic over-the-shoulder train, and a belt featuring an ornate brooch.
It's not the first time Mary has worn Le Schmidt's designs – she chose a purple dress of his for the coronation of King Charles in May last year.
Are there any secret meanings behind the look?
It's not uncommon to wear white to a coronation – just look at the Princess of Wales, who donned a floor-length ivory gown designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen to her father-in-law's coronation ceremony.
Mary also incorporated touches of red into her look (perhaps to represent the other colour in the Danish flag) via her jewellery, which featured a brooch – worn at the waist – and earrings from the Danish Ruby Parure.
Adding a sentimental touch, she also wore another brooch: an ordensportrættet, which features an illustration of Queen Margrethe II, Mary's mother-in-law, surrounded by pearls and diamonds.
Why did Queen Margrethe abdicate?
King Frederik X's mother, Queen Margrethe II, formally signed her abdication on 14 January, ending her 52-year reign as the country’s longest-serving monarch and becoming the first in nearly 900 years of Danish history to abdicate voluntarily.
The former Queen, who had previously said she would remain on the throne for life, made the surprise announcement in her New Year's Eve speech, and didn't give an explicit reason – though she did say that the back surgery she underwent in February last year had led her to consider her future.
According to protocol, there was no coronation ceremony: Denmark has not had once since the introduction of the constitution in 1849. Instead, the succession officially took place at Christiansborg Palace.
Who is Queen Mary?
The new Danish queen was born Mary Elizabeth Donaldson on 5 February 1972 at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Battery Point, Hobart – the capital city of Tasmania in Australia. She went on to have a successful career in advertising and marketing communications, before she met her future husband: Crown Prince Frederik.
The pair first met in 2000, when they came across each other at the Slip Inn pub in Sydney, where the prince was visiting with his brother, Prince Joachim, and other members of European nobility during the 2000 Summer Olympics. At the time, Mary was working at real estate firm Belle Property as a sales director. They were reportedly introduced by mutual friend Prince Felipe of Spain, who knew the sister of Mary’s flatmate.
Frederik and Mary began a long distance relationship shortly after their first meeting, with Frederik making discreet visits to Australia. The couple were able to keep their relationship out of the spotlight, until Danish weekly magazine Billed Bladet named Mary as Frederik’s girlfriend.
On 24 September 2003, the Danish court announced that Queen Margrethe II intended to give her consent to their marriage and, in October that year, Frederik and Mary became officially engaged. He reportedly proposed with an engagement ring that featured a one and a half carat emerald-cut diamond and two emerald-cut rubies, referencing the colour of Denmark’s flag.
Their wedding took place on 14 May 2004 at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, the city’s cathedral. Upon their wedding day, Mary was given the title of Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark, and the couple now have four children.
Is Queen Mary friends with the Princess of Wales?
Like Mary, the current Princess of Wales was also a so-called 'commoner' before she married into the royal family. Both are known for their timeless, elegant style, and favour the same designers, such as Emilia Wickstead, Erdem and Jenny Packham; they have even worn the exact same dresses on several occasions. They are so like each other, in fact, that the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld even dubbed the pair 'royal sisters'.
Kate and Mary also have similar interests: Mary established her own foundation to improve the lives of vulnerable women and children in 2007; while Kate launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in June 2021, which focuses on the impact of the early years on later life.
It's makes sense, therefore, that there is understood to be a bond between Kate and Mary. And that's not where their likenesses end: while William and Kate were rocked by the dramatic departure of Harry and Meghan from royal life, Mary too has a tense relationship with her in-laws.
King Frederik's brother, Joachim, married second wife Marie Cavallier in 2008, and Marie gave several interviews to glossy Danish magazines, spilling royal secrets. Joachim and Marie have, just like Meghan and Harry, moved abroad to the US, and are now settled in Washington DC.
Given the similarities between Kate and Mary, we can surely expect these two royal powerhouses to continue to support each other throughout their next stages of public life.
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