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Crown Princess Mary's most reworn dress will see her into her reign as Queen

The Birgit Hallstein dress is a firm favourite in the royal's wardrobe  

Crown Princess Mary in white dress and tiara
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
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It became clear in Queen Margrethe of Denmark's 2024 New Year speech that Crown Princess Mary's life is about to change in a significant way. The Queen announced that she would abdicate the Danish throne on 14 January and would pass the crown to her son Crown Prince Frederik and his wife Crown Princess Mary. 

The Crown Princess, 51, stepped out for the first time on 1 January at Amalienborg Palace for the traditional New Year reception in Copenhagen and royal watchers may have noticed that the ever-stylish princess was wearing a dress we have seen before. 

Queen Margrethe of Denmark© Getty
Queen Margrethe announced her abdication in her New Year's speech

The royal looked every inch a future queen in the Birgit Hallstein burgundy velvet gown with a wide scooped neckline and long sleeves. 

It has become a bit of a tradition for the Danish royal to wear this gown on the first day of the year. In fact, she has worn the piece six times before and made small adjustments to the overall look each time.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary wave from balcony© Getty
Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary will become King and Queen of Denmark

We can assume that the dress is not only a personal favourite of the Princess', but that it also symbolises the new hope of a new year, making it the perfect piece to wear for her first public outing following the abdication announcement and it will be a staple piece that she will no doubt take with her into her reign as Queen.

Amy Smith, a royal fashion expert from Vendula London, says: "Fans of the royal appear to love her rewearing the dress instead of opting to instead wear something new, and she is considered as a fashion icon. Mary often appears at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, an event centered around sustainability in fashion, which explains her love of rewearing items. 

"However, she may have chosen to come back to this dress on this particular occasion as burgundy is sometimes thought to symbolise ambition and sophistication, as well as being associated with wealth and prosperity," Amy adds. "Historically, burgundy had connotations of luxury and was often used to represent royalty or higher-ranking members of society. Similarly to the Princess Of Wales, Mary likes to bring attention to local designers, rewear outfits and it could be said that they both also often wear the colours associated with their respective countries, such as red and white."

Crown Princess Mary in blue satin dress and Crown Prince Frederik in military uniform© Getty
The future rulers of Denmark

Personal stylist and style lecturer Sian Clarke adds that "choosing to wear red is a very savvy move because it's a colour that catches our attention and becomes super memorable to the public eye. Her choice tells us that she is confident to take on her new role with grace and reassures the public that she will be able to complete her duties with strength. 

"By rewearing her stunning gown exudes her resilience, gestures to the importance of sustainability, and she understands what works for her and her style. Her style will be watched by the world as she grows into her important role. We can certainly learn a lot from her re-wearing her favorite looks."

Let's look back at every time Crown Princess Mary has worn the fabulous piece and see how she gave it a new lease of life every time…

Crown Princess Mary in burgundy dress waving© Getty

January 2007

Crown Princess Mary debuted the Birgit Hallstein dress in January 2007, aged 34. when she attended the New Year gala dinner at Amalienborg Palace. She was seen exiting a car wearing the gown seemingly with a lower-cut rounded neckline. She added a small tie pouch bag in the same sumptuous fabric. 

The royal added a pair of sheer black stockings and pointed-toe black heels. She also wore an array of jewels including the Order of the Elephant and corresponding star insignia, as well as the Danish Ruby Parure Tiara, which is made up of sparkling leaves dotted with pink berries made of rubies.

The Prince's wife also wore a matching ruby necklace and earrings.

The Order of the Elephant represents strength and is only worn on 1 January during the New Year’s Court, on 16 April on the monarch’s birthday, and on the birthday of King Valdemar II on 28 June.

The Danish Ruby Parure Tiara has an incredible history dating back to Napoleon Bonaparte having it made for his fiancée Désirée Clary.

Crown Princess Mary and Prince Edward arm in arm in smart dress© Getty

February 2007

Just one month later, Crown Princess Mary was spotted wearing the dress alongside the then-Earl Of Wessex Prince Edward when they attended King Harald of Norway's 70th birthday celebrations in Oslo. The pair arrived at a gala dinner and dance at the Royal Palace held in his honour. 

Mary styled the gown with a sparkly envelope clutch on this occasion and her hair in a stylish high updo with a diamond tiara perched on top. 

Crown Princess Mary in burgundy dress holding arm of frederik© Getty

January 2012

Five years later Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik attended the New Year's levee and New Year's banquet in Christian VII's Palace, Amalienborg and you guessed it, she wore the Birgit Hallstein number. 

She once again wore the Danish Ruby Parure Tiara and the Order of the Elephant but the dress seemed to undergo a subtle alteration – a widening of the scoop neck and it appeared to have been made into a higher neckline too.

She carried a satin burgundy clutch which ensured the look was harmonious. The most obvious change to the outfit was a velvet waist-cinching belt added in the same fabric as the dress with a sparkling buckle adornment. 

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in burgundy dress standing with frederik© Getty

January 2014

In January 2014 Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary arrived at the New Year's banquet hosted by Queen Margrethe at Amalienborg Palace. Mary accessorised the iconic dress with the same Danish Ruby Parure Tiara and the Order of the Elephant but added a few noticeable stylistic elements.

The royal wore a plain velvet waist-cinching belt which subtly drew in her silhouette and added an accessory which was hyper-trendy in 2014 – a choker. Mary turned the buckle-adorned waist-belt from the 2012 edition into a neck accessory and wore her hair in a low bun with understated stud earrings.


In 2015 Mary decided not to wear the dress to the New Year gathering, but to style it for her official portrait that was released on 25 September. The royal reverted to the 2012 edition of the dress with the buckle belt and ruby necklace. 

She wore her hair down and added a blue sash with a portrait of Queen Margrethe hanging from the left side of her chest.

Crown Princess Mary in burgundy dress© Alamy

January 2020

In 2020 the royal reverted to wearing the dress to the annual New Year event and wore the dress as she had in 2015. She held a dark red clutch, swapped the blue sash for the Order of the Elephant on a gold chain once again and wore her hair up to allow for the ruby tiara.

Crown Princess Mary wearing a pink velvet dress and tiara© Shutterstock

January 2024

The most momentous wear yet – the 2024 version when she stepped out weeks before she will be crowned Queen. She wore it in the same way as in 2020 but removed the ruby necklace for a simpler look and added a silver bejewelled clutch. She even added a coordinating burgundy manicure.

DISCOVER: Why Prince Frederik and Princess Mary will not have a coronation and why abdication is 'not common' in Danish history 

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