Meet the next Queen of Denmark: What will happen when Mary assumes the throne?

By Rebecca Cope

Photo: Hasse Nielsen

In just 10 days' time, Crown Princess Mary will step into the role of Queen of Denmark. Here, we take a look at the journey of the Australian-born royal to date, and what we can expect from the consort in the years to come

It’s been almost 20 years in the waiting, but Crown Princess Mary will finally become the Queen of Denmark on 14th January, when her mother-in-law, Queen Margrethe II, officially relinquishes her role. The royal reshuffle came as something of a surprise, with Margrethe herself previously suggesting she would die in office, but a recent back injury has forced her hand.


Making the announcement during her New Year’s speech, she said: “The surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future - whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation. I have decided that now is the right time. On 14th January – 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.”

Mary has been preparing for the role since her marriage to the Crown Prince in May 2003, after the couple met in her native Australia during the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. A scene straight from a rom-com, Mary was chatted up by ‘Fred’ at a bar, being completely unaware of who he was. After months of secretly dating, they made their debut as a couple, and announced their engagement in 2002. They were wed at Copenhagen Cathedral, with Mary thrilling the public by wearing a dress by local designer, Uffe Frank.

The royal wedding in May 2003. Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Much like her predecessor, Mary is extremely popular with the Danish public, impressing them with her quick study of the Danish language as well as her knowledge of their culture and history. Indeed, she has always been seen by royal watchers as a major asset to the crown, and was even made ‘rigsforstander’ last year, allowing her to act as regent in the absence of her mother-in-law and husband. She’s rarely made a misstep – bar a rumoured feud with her sister-in-law Princess Marie – though the same cannot be said of her royal relatives.

At the end of last year, it was suspected that there was something rotten in the state of Denmark, after tabloids reported that Prince Frederik had been having an affair after being photographed with a Mexican socialite in Madrid (rumours that have been strenuously denied). Prior to that, the Queen herself made a rare gaffe when stripped her grandchildren (Frederik’s nephews and nieces) of their titles, without informing them of her decision first. Her son, Prince Joachim, was quick to release a scathing statement of disappointment, saying ‘communication was missing’. Yet throughout, Mary has been a constant support to the family, and it has been posited by some royal experts that Margrethe’s decision to abdicate now might be to ensure Mary is kept in the fold.

Crown Princess at the 2022 celebrations for Queen Margrethe II's 50 years anniversary of accession to the throne. Photo: Getty

Sure to be a breath of fresh air, favourable comparisons have often been drawn between Mary and her British counterpart, the Princess of Wales. At a surface level, both women are tall, brunette and beautiful, as well as ‘commoners’, but they are also dedicated mothers and known for being particularly close to their families. The Crown Princess is a mother of four, with her eldest, Prince Christian, officially coming of age last year with a spectacular soirée attended by all the important royal families of Europe (bar the British royals) – a masterstroke that cemented the family’s status as the next big thing in monarchy. The two women have also been said to share a similar style and interest in fashion, with Mary appearing in Australian Vogue and described as one of the best-dressed women in the world, frequently championing both Scandinavian and Australian designers.

Unlike her mother-in-law, Mary’s role will be a supporting one, rather than the main event. In this respect, she would do well to look to the history books for inspiration, with her husband’s grandmother, Queen Ingrid, being particularly instructive. She was another Crown Princess with British ancestry – being the daughter of Princess Margaret of Connaught, one of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren – and also gained the Danish public’s love for quickly learning the language. She was reportedly extremely ashamed of her adopted country’s acceptance of the Nazis during World War II, and was instrumental in encouraging her father-in-law, King Christian, to keep up his daily walkabouts amongst the public – often joining him with her newborn daughter, the future Queen Margrethe.

Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark at Amalienborg Palace for the traditional New Year reception on 1st January 2024. Photo: Getty

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark attends the Joaquín Sorolla exhibition in 2023 in Copenhagen. Photo: Getty

As a millennial consort, she will no doubt be keen to align herself with the most important causes of her generation – and the next – in order to ensure the continued popularity of the monarchy. Indeed, she’s already made strides in this respect through her outspoken support of LGBTQ+ rights, from speaking in 2016 about the need to fight against discrimination, to presenting at the Rainbow Awards in 2020, which honours businesses and organisations that support the LGBTQ+ community.

Mary is set to make history when she is crowned as the first Australian to become Queen of a European country: it remains to be seen how she will use the platform, but we’ve got high hopes.