A pillar of strength, Mary, 48, has always taken charge and guided Frederik through the demanding responsibilities of a future monarch.
Despite her Australian heritage, Mary has been embraced by the Danish people, and she has helped to boost her husband’s profile.
Margrethe has long made her approval of Mary known, and in a 2017 book interview said, “She’s brilliant. She can do things that I was not able to do at her age. I have to say that I’m so happy with the Crown Prince’s choice.”
In 2019, reporter Jacob Heinel Jensen of Se Og Hoer magazine said Margrethe feels reassured by Mary’s presence, and knows if her son isn’t up to the job, her daughter-in-law will make up for it.
“I don’t have any doubt she feels Frederik is ready with Mary by her [son’s] side,” Jacob explains. “She thinks Mary is a very strong woman who brings out the best in her son. Mary is already the de facto Queen in many people’s eyes. The Queen has spent the last decade training up Mary because she is so important for the future, and she is delighted with her progress.”
Margrethe put this into action last year, when she signed paperwork to enable Mary to act as regent. The decision meant Mary can act on the Queen’s behalf at official events Her Majesty cannot attend. No such honour was awarded to her other daughter-in-law, Princess Marie.
Since Margrethe turned 80 in April, her age and health have sparked concerns, with royal experts fearing she may not have long left on the throne. As she takes a step back from royal duties, Frederik and Mary have upped their workload too.
But while Frederik is well practised at putting on a good show, his reluctance has been noticed by his younger brother. Prince Joachim, his only sibling, has made his desire to rule the country clear over the years, even though he is sixth in line to the throne, with Prince Christian, 14, Princess Isabella, 13, Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent, both 9, all ahead of him.
Sources allege Joachim believes Frederik isn’t dedicated enough and has been frustrated by his “lax attitude” towards royal obligations. Joachim’s resentment has resulted in a feud between the brothers, sullying their once-close relationship and causing a deep rift between the families.
While Frederik would happily hand over the crown, Margrethe, who favours keeping with tradition, has ruled that out as a possibility – at least for the time being.
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