For some, marking their half-century can be a daunting time. For Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, there was no sense of a midlife crisis being triggered.
“The age has given me a fundamental feeling of being more of a whole person, a peace with myself, believing in myself and my instincts and daring to try new things,” Mary tells Danish magazine Billed-Bladet.
“So, I’m at a good place in life. I’m happy where I am.” And Mary credits her active lifestyle as a royal and mum for helping to keep her feeling fitter than ever.
Dealing with grief
Special personal milestones such as turning 50 are a big reason for celebration, but they can also lead people to reflect on their life and loss, often shining a light on those who are not there to share the day with you.
“It’s always in connection with holidays and special moments in one’s life that grief is present,” Mary says, remembering her mother Henrietta Donaldson. The princess was only 25 when her mum died from a heart condition in 1997.
“Losing my mother changed the way I think, it has also made me the person I am today,” Mary candidly reveals. “But if she is watching from somewhere, I don’t think she would need to say anything [to me] – her warm smile would say it all.”
Family comes first
Even though she’s moved so far away, it’s clear that Mary has maintained a very close relationship with her Australian family, even as she started to have her own brood with her husband, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
“You are a product of your own childhood and upbringing… it’s only natural that you carry on some of these values to your own children,” Mary reflects.
Love for her family is what gives the princess her strength, but she reveals it also makes her vulnerable. “Love gives great happiness, but when there’s love there is also vulnerability. Because life is fragile,” Mary says.
While Christian, Isabella and twins Josephine and Vincent live in the spotlight and enjoy all the privileges that come with being born into a royal family, Mary insists on them having a normal upbringing, too – no phones are allowed at the dinner table! She hopes they grow into strong and independent people.
“It’s particularly important that they are proud of who they are and the family they are a part of, and what this family means to the Danes,” Mary adds
The princess has no doubt absorbed those strong values from the head of the family, Queen Margrethe, with whom Mary shares a very special relationship.
“From our very first meeting, I think we hit it off. Despite me being extremely nervous, it was very easy,” Mary tells Billed-Bladet. “I care greatly for the Queen – my mother-in-law – and we have a relationship of deep trust today.”
Growing old together
This year, Margrethe marks 50 years on the throne; one day Frederik will step into that role, making Mary queen. And that’s just one joy on the horizon.
“With my 50-year-old body, mind and soul I look forward to everything that lies ahead,” Mary says. “Seeing my children grow up and – when they are ready for it – making their own families, to enjoy all the new chapters and growing old with my Frederik.”