The remarkable journey of an Australian sales executive to the top echelons of European royalty culminated on Sunday when Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth of Denmark was named the Queen Consort of the country. This extraordinary path from Tasmania to the Danish throne became possible following the unexpected abdication of Queen Margrethe II on New Year’s Eve. Margrethe’s resignation marked a significant historical event, as the last Danish monarch to abdicate did so in 1146.
With Margrethe stepping down, her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, ascended the throne, making his wife, Crown Princess Mary, the first Australian-born queen. This event has thrilled her Australian supporters. Their story, which began in a Sydney pub during the 2000 Olympics, has now reached a fairy-tale conclusion with their rise to the throne.
The couple’s wedding in 2004 was a global spectacle, and now, two decades later, their accession to the throne has captivated audiences from Copenhagen to Hobart, Mary’s birthplace. Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff expressed immense pride in Crown Princess Mary and anticipated her and King Frederik’s leadership of Denmark.
Queen Margrethe’s New Year’s Eve speech, while reflecting on the past year’s events, also announced her abdication, citing recent successful back surgery as a moment of reflection on the future. Margrethe’s decision to step down was unexpected, as most anticipated her lifetime tenure, similar to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. However, some of her actions, like reducing the royal family’s size, hinted at her preparations for this transition.
Mary, born to a Scottish mathematics professor and a British executive assistant, began her career in advertising and property before meeting Prince Frederik. The couple’s four children include Prince Christian, the heir apparent. Mary is known for her commitment to social causes through The Mary Foundation, earning admiration for her advocacy work.
Despite occasional controversies, such as Prince Frederik’s rumored affair, which was strongly denied, the Danish royal family has maintained a low-profile approach to their personal life. The ascension of the new king and queen was a relatively understated affair compared to other royal ceremonies, like King Charles III’s coronation in Britain. Nevertheless, Mary’s increasing popularity in Australia is expected to grow even more as she takes on her new role as queen.