She married a prince, but makes the most of her royalty to help others.
A modern "fairytale" romance between a commoner and a prince is the stuff of dreams. But even more inspiring is the shining pearl that is revealed in the good that can come from such a position of privilege. This is another installment of the Living like a Pearl series. Find the other stories here.
A trip to the pub can change your life, and in some cases, end up benefiting the world. The marriage of a remarkable woman and the Crown Prince of Denmark has resulted in the powerful ability to create positive change.
Born to Scottish parents on February 5, 1972 in Australia, Mary Elizabeth Donaldson was the youngest of four children whose active childhood involved sports and music.
Graduating in 1995 with combined Bachelor’s degrees in Commerce and Law, Mary attended a graduate program in advertising and direct marketing. This launched a dynamic, international career in advertising, luxury real estate, teaching English, and as a project consultant with Microsoft Business Solutions.
Successful, accomplished, and beautiful, she caught the eye of royalty.
It was at the Slip Inn Pub during the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney when she met Frederik of Denmark, and her life would forever change. Their romance began with a long-distance relationship until she moved to Denmark in 2001. Their 3-year courtship became an engagement in October 2003, and they married May 14, 2004.
Previously a dual citizen of Australia and the UK, the Danish parliament passed a special law called “Mary's Law”, granting her Danish citizenship upon her marriage. Leaving the life of an English-speaking commoner behind, her transition to public life as Crown Princess of Denmark required determination and intensive study to master the Danish language; an accomplishment among many more to come.
With a life of lavish ceremonies and high fashion, Princess Mary has focused her talents and position of privilege to support many good causes, including immigrant and refugee work, The Danish Cancer Society, and Denmark's Save the Children Organization, based on the model of an Australian anti-bullying program.
In addition to Princess Mary’s patronages that support social, cultural, health, and humanitarian organizations, in 2007 she formally established The Mary Foundation to combat social isolation. With three focus areas of Bullying and Well-being, Domestic Violence and Loneliness, the foundation’s mission is: “to improve the lives of children, adults and families who - as a result of their environment, heredity, illness or other circumstances - find themselves socially isolated or excluded from society.”
Her role includes many ‘firsts’, in addition to being the first Australian-born queen consort in Europe upon the ascension of her husband. She also became the first person not born into the royal family to assume the position of rigsforstander since Queen Ingrid in 1972, which appointed her a functioning regent when the monarch or the heir is out of the country. A supporter of LGBT rights, Mary will be the first ever royal to serve as patron for a major LGBT event as the patron of WorldPride Copenhagen 2021.
The world is a better place because of Princess Mary’s luminous pearl of goodwill and patronage. She resides in Copenhagen, Denmark with Frederik and Crown Prince of Denmark and their four children at Frederik VIII's Palace.