A royal first: Australia celebrates Princess Mary’s historic rise to be queen consort in Denmark

SYDNEY: For the first time, Australians find themselves on the brink of witnessing one of their own, Princess Mary of Denmark, rise to the rank of queen when her husband, Crown Prince Frederik, is proclaimed king of that European nation Sunday. He will become King Frederik X of Denmark two weeks after his 83-year-old mother, Queen Margrethe II, announced she would be the first Danish royal to abdicate in some 900 years.
The 51-year-old Princess Mary’s unlikely journey from a law student in Tasmania to European royalty as the world’s first Australian-born queen has captivated Danes and Australians alike for over two decades.
The then Mary Donaldson was 28 years old and working as a real estate agent when her chance meeting with the Danish prince occurred at a Sydney pub during the 2000 Olympics. He was at the Games to support Denmark’s sailing team.
The announcement of their engagement in 2003 marked the beginning of what is considered in Australia a fairytale romance, and her succession to the title of queen consort has many Australians brimming with excitement and anticipation.
Though this is a country that purports to be classless and egalitarian, Australians are reflecting national pride as a fellow Australian transcends geographical, social and cultural boundaries to assume a position of global prominence, even if it has been attained through marrying well.
Princess Mary’s ascension potentially also promotes discussion about Australia’s evolving identity at a time when many Australians, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, would prefer that the country cut ties with the British monarchy and become a republic with its own head of state.
More tangibly, Princess Mary has played a significant role in connecting Australia with Denmark. For over 20 years, Australians have watched her seamlessly integrate Danish traditions and language into her life while maintaining a strong connection to her Australian roots and visiting her homeland often.
Her commitment to philanthropy, advocating for health, women’s rights and children’s well-being, has further endeared her to Australians.
And in the early hours of Monday morning Australian time, the modern day fairytale will reach a new high point when Princess Mary becomes the first Australian to become a queen.
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