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Crown Princess Mary of Denmark looks like a young Kate Middleton rocking low-rise jeans in rare noughties photo

The Australian-born royal looks unrecognisable in the barefoot photograph from 2003

Princess Mary of Denmark beside Kate Middleton
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
2 January 2024
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Crown Princess Mary of Denmark is an emblem of regal style perfection, as witnessed in her first appearance since Queen Margrethe II's shock abdication on Sunday. Stepping out at Christian VII's Palace, Amalienborg on 1 January alongside her husband Crown Prince Frederik for the New Year’s levee and banquet, the royal looked breathtaking in a velvet scarlet gown and the Danish Ruby Parure Tiara. 

As the Australian-born royal prepares to become Queen amid her mother-in-law's decision to step away from the Danish throne, HELLO! dove into the archives to unveil the first glimpses of Crown Princess Mary (née Mary Elizabeth Donaldson) in the royal spotlight. 

Rewind to 2003, three years after the Danish prince fell for Mary at the Slipp Inn, a pub in Sydney. 

Mary Donaldson the Australian girlfriend of Frederik Prince of Denmark's, returns to the Hobart Yacht Club's docks after watching the first race of the 2003 Dragon World Championship where the Prince is competing.© Patrick Riviere
Mary watched the first race of the 2003 Dragon World Championship where the Prince was competing

A then 31-year-old Mary joined her boyfriend on the deck of the Tasmania Yacht Club before the start of the first race of the Dragon Boat World Championship. 

Looking cool and casual, Mary opted for low-slung baggy denim jeans and a sheer beaded top that enhanced her silhouette with flattering waist slits.

HOBART - JANUARY 19:  Prince Frederik of Denmark greets and kisses for the first time in public his Australian girlfriend Mary Donaldson on the deck of the Tasmania Yacht Club before the start of the first race of the Dragon Boat World Championship. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images).© Patrick Riviere
The couple were in their first flush of romance

In true Aussie style, the former real estate agent looked relaxed as she stepped onto the deck barefoot, rocking rectangular sunglasses and letting her choppy brunette hair fall to her shoulders in natural waves. 

Despite not knowing each other at the time, Mary bore a striking resemblance to a young Kate Middleton in her university days in the photographs - rocking similar wash jeans and floaty long-sleeved tops that were the pinnacle of Y2K fashion at the time. 

Chelsy Davy (Prince Harry's former girlfriend) and Kate Middleton watch Prince Harry and Prince William play in a charity polo match© Max Mumby/Indigo
Chelsy Davy (Prince Harry's former girlfriend) and Kate Middleton watch Prince Harry and Prince William play in a charity polo match

By the time of her engagement to Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 2004, Mary's style had undergone a serious regal transformation. 


Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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Her low-rise jeans and sheer tops had been replaced with immaculate shift dresses, luscious satins and tailored coats, while her former beachy waves were given a glossy makeover and styled in perfectly preened curls. 

Mary shows off her engagement ring in 2003© Getty
Mary shows off her engagement ring in 2003

Now, as she prepares to become the world's first Australian queen, Crown Princess Mary's instantly recognisable sartorial prowess is world's away from her beachy, barefoot days. 

crown princess mary engagement ring
The Princess was given a royal makeover

Margrethe announced her plans to step down as monarch on New Year's Eve. In a statement released on social media and the official royal family website, she said, in part: "I have decided that now is the right time. The 14th January 2024 - 52 years after I followed my beloved father - I will step back as the Queen of Denmark. I leave the throne to my son, the Crown Prince Frederik."

Crown Princess Mary wearing a pink velvet dress and tiara© Shutterstock
Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will take the Danish throne

She finished by leaving her well wishes to the future King and Queen, adding: "It is my hope that the new King and Queen will be met with the same trust and devotion which have fallen to my lot. They deserve it! Denmark deserves it! I will conclude my New Year’s address in my usual manner: GOD BLESS DENMARK, GOD BLESS YOU ALL."

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