An unsuitable proposal
The couple dated when the young prince was in his twenties and completing military training. “When he had to go and perform royal duties which he didn’t like, she would go over speeches with him and suggest changes and coach him. They were a real team,” Villemann wrote. It was widely reported that after more than two years of being “head over heels in love”, Frederik secretly proposed. His mother, Queen Margrethe, forbade the union, all because, says Villeman, of a tradition in the Danish royal family that they marry non-Danish partners.
Mary takes over
Prince Frederik, now 50, then dated glamorous Danish pop singer Maria Montell, who he was with for a year before meeting Mary in 2000 during the Sydney olympic games. The fact that Katja and Mary share many similar features isn’t lost on royal watchers.
Villemann asserts that 47-year-old Mary, who has fulfilled her role as Denmark’s Crown Princess for 14 years, felt like Princess Diana for a long time – the third wheel between two people who still had a lingering attachment – and that Frederik still kept in regular contact with Katja.
Regardless, they have a seemingly happy family life with their four children, Prince Christian, 13, Princess Isabella, 11, and twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent, 8. Toasting her son at his 50th birthday gala last year, Queen Margrethe praised Frederik for his choice of bride.
“When you found Mary, a new period of life began. Then you were two, then three, then four – indeed, six! A whole family that everybody can take pleasure in, and a family that many are pleased to follow and see themselves reflected in.
"You and Mary have succeeded in creating a safe and warm family life while both of you together and individually assume tasks that take you to faraway places. The two of you make Denmark bigger, and you are a credit to Denmark. You make me so happy!”
Former model Katja, meanwhile, ended her marriage to lawyer Chresten Plinius in 2009.
For more of the monarchy's most shocking moments, pick up the Collector's Edition of New Idea Royal Scandals, on sale now!