The making of a princess: 2000-2010

The fairytale began on September 16 2000 when Mary Donaldson, an ordinary Australian girl, met Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark at Merivale’s Slip Inn in Sydney during the Summer Olympics.


Three years later the Australian beauty and the crown prince decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. On October 2003 after a long-distance relationship, a short stay in Paris and a number of private visits to Denmark, Mary and Frederik got engaged.

During the ten years from the couple’s first meeting until today, Mary underwent a drastic change from a sporty, sun-tanned sales director to crown princess, fashion icon, mother of two and charity activist. She is director of the Mary Foundation, an organization focused on improving the lives of children, adults and families who are socially excluded.

The changes the princess has undergone during the ten years are astonishing. Her hair has been coloured and restyled, she has undergone a body and skin transformation, her posture is more regal, and her clothing has become more classic and elegant with a clear historic influence.


The Australia-born princess’ overall look is now reminiscent of the designs of Jacqueline Kennedy, Yves Saint Laurent and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. She is no longer the neighbour’s sporty daughter but a fashion icon. “It is important that I look smart and elegant and appropriately dressed for every occasion. I’m still developing my style to fit with my new role”, Mary said in an interview with fashion magazine Vogue.

At official functions members of the Danish royalty are dressed glamorously, complete with sashes and tiaras. But they also go to work, to the gym, and the park.

When Mary leaves the Kancelli house to go work she wears clothes worth a total of 25,000 Danish Crowns, or approximately $5,000, says stylist Mette Louise Just Kryger, and this doesn’t include the costs of her fur coats. The Danish royal is frequently seen wearing Louboutin shoes, Gucci sunglasses and Prada handbags.


Over the years Mary has developed her own style. Like other royals – such as Crown Princess Letizia of Spain, Princess Alexandra of Greece, and Monaco’s Charlotte Casiraghi – the Australian fashion-icon has featured on best-dressed lists the world over.

A team of stylists helps Mary choose clothes, accessories, hair style and skin products. Mary’s stylist and friend Anja Camilla Alajdi gives her advice about clothes and accessories and make-up artist, hairstylist and friend Soren Hedegaard gives her advice about make-up and hairstyles. Meanwhile facialist Ole Henriksen advises her on skin care.


All three are highly sought-after fashion stylists. Anja Alajdi is a partner of jewellery-designer Marianne Dulong, Soren Hedegaard has worked on numerous television projects as a make-up artist, and Ole Henriksen, who lives in Los Angeles, has a world-renowned spa and skin-care line. Besides royalty his clientele includes celebrities such as Renee Zelweger, Cher, Kylie Minogue and Charlize Theron.

Though fashion houses frequently send new pieces to the Danish royal palace, Mary’s favorite designers are Danish. The names she turns to include By Malene Birger, Heartmade, Stories by Rikke Mai, and jewellery by Marianne Dulong.

When choosing her outfits she often takes inspiration from the past. On the day she announced her engagement she wore a simple and elegant dress – no doubt inspired by the designs of Yves Saint Laurent. She could easily have been mistaken for a young Jacqueline Kennedy.


Mary’s style is characterized by pointed shoes, tailored suits, wide-brimmed hats and stockings in a natural shade. Mary’s engagement shoes were pointed and accompanied by transparent stockings.

The layered look is also one of the staples in Mary’s wardrobe. Mary is seen in one of the above pictures in a light pink silk top and a long dark blue shirt in the characteristic layered look. Her long hair is elegantly tied behind her neck to make the top and her beautiful face stand out.

At Frederik’s 40th birthday party (bottom photo) Mary wore a Sixties-style dusty-red dress with sequin flowers and open-toe stillettos. The dress was designed by Matthew Williamson.


  1. This isn’t a style icon.
    In this day and age, there’s no room for yet another glossy made up Princess. How much more refreshing it would have been to see this princess stay the sporty next door neighbor’s daughter.
    She lucked into this by being in the right place in the right time.
    I think the world would have respected her more if she stayed herself and became a hard working Princess ala the Princess Royal. Or better yet, actually supported her husband, the reason she is now the Crown Princess, instead of thinking she’s the one who’ll be reigning when Queen Margarethe passes. (Which I hope never happens, I want her to live as long as the British Queen Mother lived)

  2. Rigetta Gobel

    Yes, Mary Donaldson has really become quite the style icon. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. But one has to ask, at what cost has this transformation been made? She doesn’t seem like the same person she once was; not just looks wise, but personality wise. What happened to the charming young woman who famously said that she was going to modernize the monarchy? What happened to the smart woman who said that her children would never be raised by nannies? There was nothing wrong with the girl-next-door. She’s hardly a shadow of her former self.
    But she does have some nice clothes and jewelry.

  3. I loved the engagement dress! I was also in copenhagen at that time too, Brit! She is lucky to have so many great Danish designers to assist her. I would like to see photos of when she is wearing Danish designs!

  4. Mary seems to be too interested in her status rather than in her position as princess. She goes shopping, goes on holiday on luxury yatches, enjoys posing for fashion magazines, cuts bows from time to time… but her job as princess of denmark remains unremarkable, unlike other princesses who are deeply involved in a cause.

  5. simple but elegant…

  6. Nicky, I certainly do hope she will become one of the people reigning when Queen Margarethe retires. Emma, yes, the engagement dress is fantastic.

  7. She is lucky to have so many great Danish designers to assist her. I would like to see photos of when she is wearing Danish designs!

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