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International Royals

How Mary Donaldson became the people's princess

She’s the future Queen of Denmark, but the Aussie royal still considers herself first and foremost a normal mum.

Anyone will tell you that raising four kids is no mean feat. But throw in training to be the future queen and leading a nation, and you've got yourself an almighty task at hand!
Still, nothing is too hard for our very own Aussie royal, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who, true to her down-to-earth roots, takes everything – royal galas, school drop-offs and all – in her stride.
Tasmanian-born Mary, 47, and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark have been married for 15 years and are the proud parents of Prince Christian, 14, Princess Isabella, 12, and eight-year-old twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent.
The princess is admired by all and held in high regard by the Danish monarchy. Image: Getty
It seems such a short time in which they have all shot up from kids to tiny adults. Raising two teens and twins while juggling work makes for a hectic life for the Aussie royal, but the cool, calm and collected mum clearly takes it all in her stride. And as much as her youngsters keep Mary on her toes, they also seem to keep her young at heart.
She's spoken endlessly about how important it is to both her and Fred, 51, to give their brood a normal upbringing. And they do seem like regular outdoors-loving kids, only royal.
Since their stunning nuptials in 2004, Mary and Fred have remained a committed team and dedicated parents. By all reports they're doing a fabulous job, and their children are growing up to be fine young people.
WATCH: Real life fairytales! See how your favourite royal couples met. Story continues below...
In an interview last year with a Danish publication, Fred said, "To us it's a source of daily joy to be able to share as much time with our children as possible. And we take turns bringing them to school and picking them up. It makes them feel like any other child."
In the same report, Fred praised his wife by saying, "The Crown Princess wants to do better all the time. I'm very proud of that attitude, and her achievements in general."
The perfect royal couple on their wedding day in 2004. Image: Getty
Despite being busy parents, they still make time for themselves as a couple and they've not lost that romantic, playful spark.
At Frederik's 50th birthday party last year, Mary's speech had the crowd in stitches, especially when she revealed he laughs at his own jokes, and when she described him as a "Mamil" (middle-aged man in lycra) thanks to his love of cycling.
"They're often seen going on dates in Copenhagen, or taking the kids on family holidays. They're still very tactile and often kiss or hold hands. They know they're going to be photographed, but they don't seem to mind sharing their lives with the public," a palace source tells It's Your Day. "Everyone loves that Fred and Mary are so accessible. You often see Mary riding her bicycle through the streets in summer. People respect their privacy and mainly leave her well enough alone, though if you say hello to her, she's always friendly."
The pair have loved together time since day one. Image: Getty

A doting mum and wife

Mary's sunny attitude and willingness to embrace Danish life – including aceing the local language, which is notoriously difficult to learn for English speakers – has impressed Fred's mum Queen Margrethe no end.
Royal experts in Denmark predict the Queen, 79 – who has suffered ill health for years and in 2018 lost her husband, Prince Henrik – will step aside to make way for Mary and Fred within the next two years.
And it's mainly thanks to Mary. The Queen loves her son, but there's a special place in her heart for Mary. She knows the Danish monarchy will be in good hands with her because she's so patient, unflappable and absolutely dedicated to her roles and charities.
Mary with kids (from left) Isabella, Josephine, Vincent and Christian. Image: Getty
Looking back, Margrethe was hesitant to approve Fred's marriage to a girl from Down Under, but it's plain to see that nowadays, she thanks her lucky stars her son fell in love with Mary.
Mary Donaldson, like many other Tassie-born young women her age, moved to the big smoke of Melbourne and then Sydney in her 20s, hoping to become a real estate agent. Back then, she thought she had it pretty good. She rented a sweet little apartment in the iconic beachside suburb of Bondi, worked in an office in chic Paddington and had a tight-knit social circle that loved nothing more than a few drinks at the local pub on Friday evenings.
It was during one of these outings that everything changed for Mary, who met Prince Frederik of Denmark at the Slip Inn in Sydney's CBD during the 2000 Olympics.
Her story moving forward is nothing short of a real-life fairytale as the pretty young brunette with aspirations of being a property mogul took the royal path to become a princess.
WATCH: Relive the Danish royals' cutest moments! Story continues below...
Her meeting with nobility ignited an incredible love story that will one day see her become Queen of Denmark – although it could be said she's already queen of our own Aussie hearts.
Despite her enchanted life in Amalienborg Castle, by all accounts she's still the same laid-back, friendly girl from Oz.
"Mary loves nothing more than being treated like a regular mother and wife," those close to the princess reveal. "She doesn't expect or ask for special treatment at the palace, and the Danish people adore her for it. Mary remembers and honours where she came from in the way she treats people now."
It's not just the Queen who's thankful for Mary. It's widely reported that the Danes also credit her with taming their lovable but once roguish prince.
"No one ever thought Frederik would give up his partying ways for a wife and children, which was causing grave concern that he was not suitable to be king," a palace source says. "But then he met Mary, and everything changed."
And their love has not only stood the test of time, it has become stronger every minute of every day they've been together.
Mary with her mother-in-law Queen Margrethe. Image: Getty

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