In all her years as Denmark's future queen, Princess Mary is rarely seen without showing her trademark megawatt smile.
So when she broke down in tears during an emotional public speech last week, those close to the 48-year-old say it was the culmination of a "very trying year" for the Aussie royal.
Speaking at an event in Copenhagen in honour of Children, Youth & Grief's 20th anniversary, witnesses tell Woman's Day she was "visibly overcome" when recalling her own mum Etta Donaldson, who died of a heart condition when Mary was only 26.
"It's difficult, if not impossible, to find meaning in losing someone you love," she said.
"But what makes sense, and something that cannot be taken from us, is [what] we all had with that person."
And sources close to Mary, who has lived at Amalienborg Palace with her husband Prince Frederik – along with their four children, Prince Christian, 15, Princess Isabella, 13, and nine-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine – since they married in 2004, say she's recently been "very troubled" that her family is losing its Aussie roots.
The Tasmanian-born mum is believed to be "pining" for her sisters Jane and Patricia, and brother John, who are scattered across the country, and for the low-key Sydney lifestyle she once enjoyed before she met Fred in a pub during the 2000 Olympics.
"Mary hasn't been home to see her family for a couple of years now," says a source. "It's feeling further and further away with everything that's been happening in the world.
"I imagine doing this speech about her dear mum made Mary realise how much she misses her home and her people. Time with your family is something you can't get back, and she's all too aware of how short life can be."
Mary and her brood were last Down Under in 2018, and sources say she worries the memories of their other homeland are fading for her kids, especially the twins.
"She feels it's very important they're tied to Australia just as much as Denmark," says the insider.
"And lately they've been mentioning it less, which makes Mary very sad."
According to an Amalienborg insider, Mary is campaigning her husband for an extended break from royal duties to go home to Australia and live for a while.
"In her mind, the timing is perfect. They could do it before Christian finishes high school and is off to college, and he could even do his final exam in Australia," says a source.
"And she thinks it's best if they take off now while Fred's mum [Queen Margrethe, 80] is still healthy enough to reign, given that as soon as she steps down or passes, Fred and Mary's lives will change forever and there won't be much chance for them to get away and just be a family."
Our insider says Mary has been looking at country retreats outside Sydney or Hobart, with extra room so her dad John can join them from Scotland – something they could sublet for "at least a year" – even though Fred, 52, hasn't committed to her scheme to go home.
"She thinks he'll see sense in the plan – Fred loves putting fun over duty at the best of times anyway. But he may side with his mum and insist on staying in Denmark just in case," says a source.
"However, Mary's intense pull toward her family is so strong at the moment I could see her up and leave without Fred, whether he likes it or not.
"She'll spend the rest of her life being his queen and serving his country, so she needs this trip for herself and for her children."