Crown Princess Mary of Denmark is 50 years old today! Mary was born on February 5, 1972 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. In honor of her milestone birthday, the Danish court has released several new photos of Mary, along with her husband and children.
In these new official portraits, Mary is wearing a beautiful blue Lasse Spangenberg Copenhagen gown which features pearl embroidery and organza and lace. Mary is also sporting the Danish Ruby Parure and the Order of the Elephant. She looks stunning.
Mary gave a new interview to the Financial Times to mark her birthday. It’s an interesting read. I’ve pulled some highlights, but you can read the full thing here.
On the monarchy being a representation of the Danish people:
“A monarchy exists in the time and the society that it is a part of, and Danes are progressive and innovative and free-thinking,” she says. “How progress happens is dependent on the personalities of the people within the royal family, and, of course, the people they are among.”FT
On Mary’s understanding of royalty growing up:
“I was very aware that Queen Elizabeth was our head of state and that we were part of the Commonwealth, but day to day I wouldn’t say there was a great deal of presence unless there was an official visit or a wedding or a jubilee,” she says, two big books on Queen Elizabeth now firmly placed on the sideboard in her study. “Today… wow. I can only admire Queen Elizabeth and my own mother-in-law, the Queen of Denmark, for their lifelong commitment and dedication to serving their country and their people.”FT
On dressing for events:
“Very early on, it was clear that there were expectations about what you wore and how you dressed appropriately to an event,” says the Crown Princess who, for official duties, is now used to being bedecked in powder-blue moiré sashes, silver stars, white crosses and the diamond-encrusted Order of the Elephant badge. “That was pretty daunting for me. I was a T-shirt-and-shorts girl, known to go barefoot.” In subsequent years, she has demonstrated a decidedly modern approach to royal daywear, largely forgoing the territory’s skirt suits and dainty frocks for executive separates and streamlined silhouettes.FT
On fashion and sustainability:
“At times it can feel frustrating that what you’re wearing can overshadow the cause at hand,” says the Crown Princess. “But I’m sensing and hoping that there’s a shifting focus, that there’s less focus on the outer than there has been.”
Thirteen years ago, she participated in the first-ever Global Fashion Agenda, the Danish-led international sustainability summit, which has since become a frontrunner in the environmental conversation around fashion and boasted an extraordinary list of influential speakers. “Sustainability at that time was a relatively new focus,” she says of its success. “There’s been some progress, but an enormous transformation still has to occur. I look forward to the day that, when I buy a piece of clothing, sustainability is simply a gift with purchase.”FT
On LGTBQ+ rights and women’s rights:
“I exist in a time when, yes, these areas are still debatable and conflict-full, but it’s a human right,” she says of her decision to front the LGBTI+ organisation WorldPride. “I fundamentally believe that we all have the right to be who we are regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Denmark is a strong voice on this issue, and I wanted to lend my voice to the cause.”
Similarly, she has taken the lead in her work for women’s rights in developing countries. “I’ve always had a strong sense of justice: that everyone should have the same opportunities, no matter where you come from,” she says. […] “Understanding that inequality and lack of respect for human rights were root causes for maternal mortality – that still today, a woman can risk losing life by giving birth – was where my journey started.”FT
A keen equestrian, she has recently taken up dressage and has two horses, including a Danish warmblood, which she rides competitively. “It’s always been a happy place for me in the stables. It’s a place where I’m just Mary. It’s very meditative.”
Her favourite spots in Denmark are in nature. “I find the forests very exotic, especially in the spring when the beech trees come into leaf. The North Sea coast reminds me of Tasmania, both when it’s wild and when it’s calm.” In Copenhagen, it was always “Rosenborg Castle, with its fairytale renaissance architecture”, she says of the 1606 masterpiece that first captured her heart.FT
On life as a royal in Denmark and social media:
Perhaps it’s also a little bit easier to be a royal in Denmark compared to other countries? “I can’t answer that because I don’t know what it would be like to be a royal in another country,” the Crown Princess replies. […]
The Crown Princess paints a pleasant image of her day-to-day life in Copenhagen: “The Danes are proud of the fact that their royal family can go around freely in society. Because of that, there is a natural respect of your space. If I go into Copenhagen, or out to eat, or to the cinema with my children, I feel like we are given the space to do so.” She became a princess at the dawn of camera phones and social media scrutiny. “The positive side is that it means we can communicate more directly. On the negative side, everyone, everywhere, anytime can take a photo or a video. But what can you do? I make eye contact with people and smile. If you go for a walk and your dog wants to talk to another dog,” she says, referring to the family’s border collie, Grace, “well, you talk to the person who’s got the other dog.”
How to live with social media is an area at the forefront of the royal conscience. “It is now both a tool and a problem,” she says. “Social media can reinforce problems like bullying and loneliness, but we can’t always see it as the problem because it gives some unique channels to be able to reach out.”
Through the Mary Foundation, the platform and research institute she established in 2007, the Crown Princess deals with societal issues like isolation, harassment and domestic violence. “Since I can remember, I’ve found it difficult seeing what I interpret as people being alone, looking in, not understanding why they can’t be a part of something bigger than themselves. I’ve always had a curiosity to truly understand a situation and its consequences. That’s my drive for doing what I do, and the platform from where I lead.”FT
On her children:
One day, her son Prince Christian will become Crown Prince and eventually King of Denmark. The royal family has announced they don’t expect “apanage” – the Danish equivalent of Civil List privileges – for their three younger children. Reflecting on the next generation, the Crown Princess says her concerns are related to the times in which we live. “You know, we have two teenagers in the house and teenage years are very transformative and vulnerable. It’s the years when you make mistakes, and mistakes are important. Hopefully you learn from them and get on the right path. So I hope that they continue to be given the freedom and space to make those mistakes and to come through those explorative years.”
From the window of her study, a trampoline is vaguely visible in the palace garden. A family photo graces a chiffonier. “We hope that they grow up to be strong and independent individuals, who will have the courage to follow their aspirations,” she says of her ambitions for her children. “It’s important that they know who they are, are proud of who they are and the family they belong to, and what that family represents to the Danes.”FT
On contemporary royal life:
Is that the secret to contemporary royal life? “I don’t think there’s a secret,” Crown Princess Mary says. “It’s being in touch and being close to the people: knowing what’s happening in society; which way are we heading; what are the new trends and challenges. It’s a natural, organic process that happens as generations come and go.” When it comes to creating a modern monarchy, it seems a Tasmanian candour can often speak a Danish truth.FT
In addition to the photoset above, the Danish royal court also released a set of photos with the Crown Prince family featuring Mary, Crown Prince Frederik, and their children: Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent, and Princess Josephine.
I’m only including one from the set to comment on: I have to laugh at the matching outfits. Specifically because I remember from a few years ago when people were so up in arms that the Cambridge family would color-coordinate all of their family photoshoots and important outings. And yet the Danish Crown Prince family is over here literally wearing the exact same outfits. 😂
One last photo released today to leave you with.