Queen Margrethe II has taken a break from ruling Denmark, spending an idyllic summer at her Cayx Palace in the South of France, surrounded by rolling, sun-kissed vineyards.
The 81-year-old monarch, who has been troubled by health problems and the loss of her husband in recent years, was spotted blending in with the locals as she strolled through a nearby market, sampling produce and picking up fresh groceries.
Sources say that she's enjoyed her time in France so much, she's considering moving to the historic chateau permanently – meaning a change of the guard at Amalienborg Palace back in Copenhagen is firmly on the cards.
"Queen Margrethe has spent countless hours with Princess Mary, preparing her to step into her shoes," says a source.
"The plan was originally for Mary to take over once Margrethe had either passed or was too unwell to perform her duties.
"But her summer in Cayx has seen Margrethe reconsider her position."
The insider says life in Copenhagen "has never been the same" for Margrethe since her husband Prince Henrik died in 2018.
"She's struggling with the cold in Denmark, too," says a source.
"She's had back problems for years and they aren't getting any better.
"In France, it's much warmer and she's able to go for walks on her property in private, and in the nearby villages where no one gives her a second glance.
"Margrethe is getting a taste of what retirement feels like, and she's surprised to find she enjoys it."
Margrethe and Henrik bought Cayx from his family in the 1970s, where they renovated extensively to create a summer retreat for their family and French relatives from Henrik's side.
"Margrethe has precious memories with her late husband at Cayx – it's there that she feels closest to him still," says our source.
"It feels more like home to her these days than her other palaces."
The insider says all credit is due to "highly capable" Princess Mary – who married Margrethe and Henrik's eldest son Prince Frederik in 2004 – as she is allowing Margrethe the opportunity to stand down and enjoy her twilight years.
Mary, together with Frederik, 53, and their children Prince Christian, 15, Princess Isabella, 14, and 10-year-old twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent, are regular fixtures at Danish charity events and public appearances, and are incredibly popular with the nation's population.
"If Margrethe's plan goes ahead, I can imagine it would be an unofficial stepping down, where Mary will still answer to her mother-in-law – it's not altogether different to how things already are.
"Mary has been taking the reins from Margrethe for a couple of years, she wants to help where she can," says a source.
"Mary is ready and willing to become Queen – it's like she was born to meet Fred in that Sydney pub all those years ago.
"She blossomed under Margrethe's tutelage, and even her husband has to admit she's the most popular Danish royal.
"Mary taking the crown is a win-win – she can finally fulfil her fairytale destiny, with Margrethe just =a short flight away should Mary need her."