“They have never been truly close,” an insider says of the two princesses.
“Occasionally they have seemed to get closer, only to then take a distance from each other again. But we never see them together, we never see them do things together, either in private or in general. They live different lives.”
Indeed, Marie has been living in Paris with Joachim since early 2020, although the pair spent Christmas in Denmark with Queen Margrethe and their children Henrik, 11, and Athena, nine, as well as Joachim’s sons from his first marriage, Nikolai, 21, and Felix, 18.
“They are very different people; one is European – and not only European, she is French – where Mary is the Princess of Denmark and this makes her number one,” says Danish royal commentator Anna Thygesen.
Eyebrows were raised when Mary was absent as Fred dashed to his brother’s side after Joachim had emergency surgery for
a life-threatening brain clot back in July.
Meanwhile, Marie has appeared disillusioned with royal life. In an interview last December, she told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that she’d questioned whether life as a princess was worth it.
“I’d been fending for myself for years, and it felt overwhelming that suddenly everyone had an opinion about me,” she said. “I had
a great life – I didn’t need to be rescued by some prince from Denmark.
“There was no doubt in my heart that I loved him, but I had my life. I was happy, and I had my pride. I simply was not ready to get married and take on the responsibility it would be to become part of the royal family.
“I was not prepared that attention could be so negative. There were some stupid articles. I did wonder whether it was worth it.”\
The comments follow an earlier interview in which Marie hinted that the royal household was behind the couple’s move to France.“It is not always us who decide,” Marie revealed to Se og Hor magazine when asked about the Paris relocation. “I think that’s important to know. I loved living in Denmark.”
Marie’s comments have reportedly rankled Mary.
“Royals and their opinions should never be about politics or having too much of an opinion,” says a palace insider.
“And Marie definitely says more than Mary would ever think of saying. Mary never says anything that can possibly harm her husband’s or her own position, whereas Marie is more hot-headed.”
“But Mary is also a lot higher up the hierarchy.”
Indeed, its Mary’s position in the palace that has upset Marie over the years. As future monarch, Mary has Queen Margrethe in close proximity and the Australian-born royal has been given the green light to act as regent for her adopted country.
“They’re very much in Fred and Mary’s shadow, which is a source of frustration for Marie and Joachim. Ever since Mary came along, Fred has been able to do no wrong in the eyes of the public, and Joachim feels bad Marie has been so overshadowed by her sister-in-law,” a palace source revealed last year.
“Mary gets more attention and prestige,” another royal source explains. “Marie is always in the shadow of Mary – that´s for sure!”
Certainly during the pandemic Mary has been the face of the Danish monarchy, standing in for Queen Margrethe, taking
on more royal engagements, both in person and on Zoom.
“They [Mary and Fred] have had a busy year and their many tasks have had to be performed in untraditional ways,” Queen Margrethe said in her traditional New Year’s Eve speech. “It is a constant joy to see how well they do.”