Close this search box.

From a Chance Encounter in a Bar in Sydney to the Fairytale Wedding in Copenhagen

All you need to know about Denmark’s new king & queen’s love story

King Frederic of Denmark wedding

On January 4th, five days after she announced her abdication, Queen Margrethe II made her last appearance as the ruling monarch of Denmark.

Queen Margrethe of Denmark and Prince Frederik

On January 14th, her son Crown Prince Frederik and his wife Princess Mary ascended the throne and with it began a newly rekindled fascination for the new royal couple. Not unfound, as their love story is one of the most romantic among all modern royal couples.


One evening during the Sydney Olympics 2000, 28-year old Mary Donaldson, an advertising specialist from Tasmania, went to the “Slip Inn” bar with her roommate. Of course, Mary had no idea at the time that this evening would change her life forever.

As fate had it, then Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his friend, the Prince of Asturias (today King Felipe VI of Spain), happened to visit the same bar. Mary’s roommate and today’s King of Spain already knew each other and so the two groups joined up.  Mary and Frederik hit it off right away, although Mary did not know at the time that he too was a prince. They exchanged numbers and a long-distance relationship began.

The two kept their relationship secret for a year, until in November 2001, a Danish tabloid revealed that Prince Frederik was dating an Australian called Mary Donaldson.  Amid more and more rumors the couple officially confirmed their relationship three months later.

At the beginning of 2003 Mary moved to Copenhagen to work for a Microsoft subsidiary. In September of the same year, the palace officially announced their engagement.


Mary was given “princess lessons” leading up to her wedding, led by the royal household’s Lord Chamberlain Per Thornit. These included intensive Danish language and history lessons.


From a Chance Encounter in a Bar in Sydney to the Fairytale Wedding in Copenhagen

On May 14th 2004 the royal wedding took place at the Copenhagen Cathedral. Mary looked every inch the princess in a long-sleeved ivory silk dress by the Danish designer Uffe Frank and a long veil of fine Irish lace. The ceremony was followed by a fairy-tale reception for 400 guests at Fredensborg Castle on the island of Zealand.

Twenty years later, the girl from Australia who has long won the hearts of the Danish people is their new queen.

Share this article

Related articles

Sign up to our free newsletter for your guide to fashion trends, cultural talking points, celebrity profiles and other exclusive insider tips