The Danish royal family are mourning the loss of Queen Margrethe's husband, Prince Henrik, who sadly passed away on Tuesday night. The palace confirmed the news in a statement, saying that Henrik died "peacefully in his sleep" at 11.18pm at Fredensborg Castle, north of Copenhagen. The queen and her two sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, were by his side.
Following the sad news, speculation is mounting as to whether Queen Margrethe will abdicate. The heir to the throne is her son Prince Frederik, which would make his wife Crown Princess Mary, queen consort. Read on for everything you need to know about the Australia-born princess…
Where is Princess Mary from?
Mary Elizabeth Donaldson was born on 5 February 1972, in Hobart, Tasmania, as the youngest child of Scotland-born maths professor John Donaldson and university secretary Henrietta Clark Donaldson. Mary had a happy childhood in Australia, where she excelled in music and sports. Sadly, when she was 25, her mother Henrietta passed away from a heart condition.
Mary has previously opened up about losing her mum, saying: "It happened too early. It's so hard to see when it is so close and so personal, but as you get older, you learn to appreciate the time you had together as a gift. And the loss offers something that you wouldn't have otherwise. It makes a strong person."
Where did Mary work before becoming a princess?
Mary graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1995 with a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degree. She spent the next two years completing a graduate programme where she qualified in advertising and marketing. Mary lived in Melbourne and Sydney, where she worked for a number of agencies, including DDB Needham, Mojo Partners and Young & Rubicam. After her mother passed away, Mary travelled around the US and Europe and spent three months working in Edinburgh. She moved to Denmark permanently when her relationship with Frederik became serious. Mary was employed by Microsoft Business Solutions before officially becoming a royal.
How did Princess Mary and Prince Frederik meet?
Mary met her future husband Prince Frederik at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. She explained that she was unaware of who the prince was when they first met, as he simply introduced himself as "Fred" at a Sydney pub. "The first time we met we shook hands," Mary recalled. "I didn't know he was the Crown Prince of Denmark. Half an hour later someone came up to me and said, 'Do you know who these people are?'" Opening up about her husband, Mary has previously said: "He has a warm, warm heart, he is loyal and honest."
When did Mary and Frederik marry?
The pair quietly dated, with Mary learning Danish throughout their relationship. Three years later, on 8 October 2003, it was officially announced that Frederik and Mary had become engaged. The royal wedding took place on 14 May 2004, when Mary captivated the world in a stunning dress by Danish designer Uffe Frank. Upon her marriage, Mary was styled as Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat.
How many children do Princess Mary and Prince Frederik have?
One year after their wedding, Mary and Frederik welcomed their first child Prince Christian, who is second-in-line to the Danish throne. Their daughter Princess Isabella was born in April 2007, and then in 2011 there was double joy as Mary gave birth to twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine. Frederik described the twins as a "miracle times two".
What charities and patronages does she support?
As well as being a devoted mother, Princess Mary has a range of public duties. She supports anti-bullying programmes and charities for refugees and immigrants through her Mary Foundation, which was established in 2007.