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Crown Princess Mary will become the world’s first Australian-born queen when her mother-in-law abdicates the Danish throne in two weeks time.

Margrethe II caused shock when she announced in a speech on New Year’s Eve that she would be stepping down as monarch after 52 years.

She will be succeeded by her son, Crown Prince Frederik, on January 14. 

It means his wife Mary, whom he first met at a pub in Sydney, will soon become the world’s first Australian-born queen.

The 51-year-old was working as an advertising executive when she first met Frederik in a packed city pub 23 years ago and had no idea the handsome European tourist she had been chatting to for hours was actually the future king of Denmark.

Now, married for 19 years and proud parents to four children, Mary has won her adopted country over by her dedication to royal duty and her fluency in the language. 

Gossip magazines in both Denmark and Australia have published speculation about the state of the royal couple’s marriage over the years, but there is nothing concrete to suggest they are anything but happily married. 

The couple’s relationship was most recently scrutinised after photographs emerged of Frederik, 55, enjoying a night out with Mexican socialite Genoveva Casanova in Madrid in October. But despite rumours of an alleged ‘affair’, Frederik and Mary made a show of unity as they headed into Aarhus cathedral on Christmas Eve.

Meet the world’s first Aussie-born queen: How Princess Mary worked as an advertising executive before meeting her future husband in a Sydney pub – with no idea he was Denmark’s heir to the throne

Crown Princess Mary, pictured in Milan in April this year, will soon become the world’s first Australian-born queen

Then: A fresh-faced Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark drapes his arm around Tasmanian advertising executive Mary Donaldson in a photo believed to be taken shortly after their first meeting in 2000

Then: A fresh-faced Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark drapes his arm around Tasmanian advertising executive Mary Donaldson in a photo believed to be taken shortly after their first meeting in 2000

Mary, 51, was working as an advertising executive when she first met Frederik in a packed city pub 23 years ago and had no idea the handsome European tourist she had been chatting to for hours was actually the future king of Denmark. Frederik and Mary are pictured together at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 6, 2023

Mary, 51, was working as an advertising executive when she first met Frederik in a packed city pub 23 years ago and had no idea the handsome European tourist she had been chatting to for hours was actually the future king of Denmark. Frederik and Mary are pictured together at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 6, 2023

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark arrive for a State Banquet at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen on November 6, 2023

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark arrive for a State Banquet at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen on November 6, 2023

Mary Donaldson was 28 years old when she met Frederik in the Slip Inn in Sydney 23 years ago. 

After the pub encounter, then 32-year-old Fred – who was in Australia to support Denmark’s sailing team at the 2000 Olympics – asked Mary for her phone number and a romance blossomed.

‘The first time we met we shook hands. I didn’t know he was the prince of Denmark. Half an hour later someone came up to me and said, “Do you know who these people are”?’ Mary revealed in an interview about meeting the heir to the Danish throne.

They maintained a long-distance relationship for a year, with Frederik making secret trips Down Under before Mary moved to Denmark to study Danish language at Copenhagen’s Studieskolen in 2001.

In early 2003, Frederik’s mother Queen Margrethe publicly acknowledged the relationship and the couple announced their engagement at Amalienborg Castle later that year on October 8.

Frederik and Mary married on May 14, 2004 at Copenhagen Cathedral, with the newly minted Crown Princess opting for a beautiful gown by Danish designer Uffer Frank and a veil first used by Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden in 1905.

In a nod to her heritage, Mary carried a bouquet of Australian snow gum eucalyptus interspersed with blooms from the Palace garden.

Princess Mary shows off her engagement ring to the media during a press conference at Fredensborg Castle October 8, 2003

Princess Mary shows off her engagement ring to the media during a press conference at Fredensborg Castle October 8, 2003

Frederik and Mary married on May 14, 2004 at Copenhagen Cathedral, with the newly minted Crown Princess opting for a beautiful gown by Danish designer Uffer Frank and a veil first used by Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden in 1905

Frederik and Mary married on May 14, 2004 at Copenhagen Cathedral, with the newly minted Crown Princess opting for a beautiful gown by Danish designer Uffer Frank and a veil first used by Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden in 1905

In a nod to her heritage, Mary carried a bouquet of Australian snow gum eucalyptus interspersed with blooms from the Palace garden

In a nod to her heritage, Mary carried a bouquet of Australian snow gum eucalyptus interspersed with blooms from the Palace garden

The couple are spotted together at the Melbourne Cup in 2002, months before Frederik's mother Queen Margrethe publicly acknowledged their relationship

The couple are spotted together at the Melbourne Cup in 2002, months before Frederik’s mother Queen Margrethe publicly acknowledged their relationship

Frederik and Mary make their first official appearance together at the Tasmania Yacht Club ahead of the Dragon Boat World Championship on January 19, 2003

Frederik and Mary make their first official appearance together at the Tasmania Yacht Club ahead of the Dragon Boat World Championship on January 19, 2003

At the altar, Frederik announced: ‘From today, Mary is mine and I am hers. I love her, and I will protect her with all my love.’

Their first child, Prince Christian Valdemar Henri John, was born October 15, 2005; Princess Isabella Henrietta Ingrid Margrethe followed on April 21, 2007.

Almost four years later Mary and Frederik welcomed twins, Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda and Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen on January 8, 2011.

Standing on the hospital steps, a beaming Frederik declared: ‘It’s a miracle.’

The family has returned to Mary’s native Australia on many occasions, visiting famous landmarks in Sydney, Canberra and the Northern Territory and even spending Christmas Down Under.

The sporting event which brought them together continues to hold a special place in their hearts, with the couple attending the Olympics in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, Vancouver in 2010, London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016. 

In 2009, Frederik was appointed to the International Olympic Committee – a role he has had ever since.

In October 2019, Mary was named regent in a historic move by Queen Margrethe. The title gave the Princess power to perform duties as head of state when the 80-year-old monarch is overseas or otherwise engaged.

Between raising her children and appearing at diplomatic events, Mary has worked tirelessly to prove her commitment to charity, becoming a patron of more than 25 international organisations since her marriage to Frederik in 2004. 

Patronages include the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe and the United Nations Population Fund, where she supports their work to promote maternal health in more than 150 developing nations.

In 2007, the Princess launched The Mary Foundation, a charity focused on stamping out domestic violence, bullying and loneliness.

Married for 19 years and proud parents to four children (pictured together), the famously down-to-earth royals are adored by millions, with Mary poised to become the world's first Australian-born queen

Married for 19 years and proud parents to four children (pictured together), the famously down-to-earth royals are adored by millions, with Mary poised to become the world’s first Australian-born queen

Between raising her children and appearing at diplomatic events, Mary (pictured with her husband) has worked tirelessly to prove her commitment to charity, becoming a patron of more than 25 international organisations since her marriage to Frederik in 2004

Between raising her children and appearing at diplomatic events, Mary (pictured with her husband) has worked tirelessly to prove her commitment to charity, becoming a patron of more than 25 international organisations since her marriage to Frederik in 2004

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (left) has been given the right to act as regent in place of her mother-in-law Queen Margrethe (right) when the monarch is otherwise engaged

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (left) has been given the right to act as regent in place of her mother-in-law Queen Margrethe (right) when the monarch is otherwise engaged

Mary will soon become Queen of Denmark when her husband Frederik takes the crown.

Queen Margrethe announced during her traditional New Year’s Eve speech that she will abdicate on January 14 next year after 52 years on the throne.

The monarch, famed for her chain-smoking as well as her flamboyant sense of style, will be succeeded by her eldest son Crown Prince Frederik.

The 83-year-old queen, who took over the throne in 1972, is the longest-serving monarch in Europe following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.

In February, she underwent a successful back surgery.

‘The surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future – whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation,’ she said in her speech.

‘I have decided that now is the right time. On January 14, 2024, 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father, I will step down as Queen of Denmark.

‘I leave the throne to my son, Crown Prince Frederik.’

In her broadcast today, Queen Margrethe II stated: 'I have decided that now is the right time. On January 14, 2024, 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father, I will step down as Queen of Denmark.'

In her broadcast today, Queen Margrethe II stated: ‘I have decided that now is the right time. On January 14, 2024, 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father, I will step down as Queen of Denmark.’

Margrethe II was the eldest of the three daughters of King Frederik IX of Denmark, and succeeded him to the throne in 1972

Margrethe II was the eldest of the three daughters of King Frederik IX of Denmark, and succeeded him to the throne in 1972

Queen Margrethe II (centre) pictured with her son Crown Prince Frederik (left), daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Mary (right) and their four children Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine

Queen Margrethe II (centre) pictured with her son Crown Prince Frederik (left), daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Mary (right) and their four children Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine

Pictures of Crown Prince Frederik and Genoveva Casanova enjoying a night out in Madrid in October caused a stir when they were published by a Spanish gossip magazine

Pictures of Crown Prince Frederik and Genoveva Casanova enjoying a night out in Madrid in October caused a stir when they were published by a Spanish gossip magazine

Crown Prince Frederik reaches out an arm towards his wife during an engagement on November 8, days after a Spanish magazine pictured him on a night out with Mexican socialite Genoveva Casanova

Crown Prince Frederik reaches out an arm towards his wife during an engagement on November 8, days after a Spanish magazine pictured him on a night out with Mexican socialite Genoveva Casanova

News of her abdication comes just months after the Danish Royal Family has been shaken by rumours of an alleged ‘affair’ between Frederik and Mexican socialite Genoveva Casanova.

Photos published by Spanish magazine Lecturas in October that showed Prince Frederik out for the evening in Madrid with the 47-year-old socialite.

The newspaper published the photos and alleged the pair had spent the evening at a bodega in the Spanish capital where they watched flamenco dancing and dined into the early hours. 

Since the photos emerged Mary has remained tight-lipped about her husband’s dinner with the socialite, and the pair have adopted a ‘business as normal’ attitude during public appearances. 

Divorcee Genoveva Casanova (pictured in May 2023) - the former daughter-in-law of the billionaire Duchess of Alba - was pictured by a Spanish gossip magazine enjoying a day out with Frederik in Madrid

Divorcee Genoveva Casanova (pictured in May 2023) – the former daughter-in-law of the billionaire Duchess of Alba – was pictured by a Spanish gossip magazine enjoying a day out with Frederik in Madrid  

Days before Christmas, the mum-of-four shared a cryptic post about loneliness and the need for positive human connection during the festive season. 

The post came after the Princess reconnected with Frederik and three of their children in New Zealand during an unofficial getaway.

In the letter which was posted on the Mary Foundation website the future queen reflects on the past year – and says she felt it was shorter than previous years.

‘And at the same time, so much has happened that it is impossible to put it all into words,’ she continued.

An excerpt posted on the official Instagram of the Danish Royal House had some speculating the princess was using her foundation to hint at the ‘affair’ rumours. 

‘We need each other if we are to succeed.’ And that’s not only true in the working world and for those of us who are working to combat social isolation,’ it read.

‘This is true for all of us. Humans need humans.’

The post and powerful words were pictured alongside a gorgeous picture of the royal in the snow.

Frederik and Mary were also spotted holding hands at a Christmas Eve church service at Marselisborg Castle with their four children Prince Christian, 18, Princess Isabella, 16, Prince Vincent, and Princess Josephine, both 12.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has been spotted holding hands with husband Prince Frederik while attending a Christmas Eve church service with their four children

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has been spotted holding hands with husband Prince Frederik while attending a Christmas Eve church service with their four children 

Despite swirling rumours of the Prince's alleged 'affair' that rocked the family, Mary and Frederik appeared loved up as they headed into Aarhus cathedral on Sunday, December 24

Despite swirling rumours of the Prince’s alleged ‘affair’ that rocked the family, Mary and Frederik appeared loved up as they headed into Aarhus cathedral on Sunday, December 24

Mary looked stylish in a $1,400 floral Saloni maxi dress she paired with Aquazzura's knee-high suede Gainsbourg 85 Boots, a grey soft drop coat and burgundy gloves on December 24

Mary looked stylish in a $1,400 floral Saloni maxi dress she paired with Aquazzura’s knee-high suede Gainsbourg 85 Boots, a grey soft drop coat and burgundy gloves on December 24

The royal couple were all smiles as they stepped out alongside Prince Christian, 18, Princess Isabella, 16, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, both 12

The royal couple were all smiles as they stepped out alongside Prince Christian, 18, Princess Isabella, 16, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, both 12

Queen Margrethe (right) also attended the Christmas Eve service as well as Frederik's brother Prince Joachim, his wife Princess Marie and their children Count Henrik and Countess Athena.

Queen Margrethe (right) also attended the Christmas Eve service as well as Frederik’s brother Prince Joachim, his wife Princess Marie and their children Count Henrik and Countess Athena.

Pictured from left on Christmas Eve: Prince Christian, Princess Josephine and Princess Isabella

Pictured from left on Christmas Eve: Prince Christian, Princess Josephine and Princess Isabella

The popular royal family celebrated Christmas day at Marselisborg Castle with Frederik's mother Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. They are pictured on December 24 this year

The popular royal family celebrated Christmas day at Marselisborg Castle with Frederik’s mother Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. They are pictured on December 24 this year

According, according to Hola!, Frederik’s private trip to Spain was to enjoy art exhibitions, watch flamenco and visit new restaurants.

It is believed that he had planned to attend the Picasso exhibition with a mutual friend he shares with Genoveva – however at the last minute, the friend was unable to go and asked Genoveva to attend in his place. 

After visiting the exhibition at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, the pair walked through El Retiro Park, before heading to El Corral de la Morería for dinner.

Genoveva has since hit back at ‘malicious’ rumours she was romantically involved with the heir to the Danish throne.

A statement from the socialite said: ‘I categorically deny the statements that suggest a romantic relationship between Prince Frederick and me.’

She added: ‘Any statement of this type not only completely lacks the truth but also misrepresents the facts in a malicious manner. 

‘This is already in the hands of my lawyers, who will take care of the pertinent steps to protect my right to honour, truth and privacy.’



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