Vogue Australia, December 2004
HRH Crown Princess Mary
The Vogue Interview
Bigger pic http://i196.photobucket.c...y%202004/Vogue/vogue1.jpg
[Wearing] Scanlan & Theodore silk dress.
Bigger pic http://i196.photobucket.c...y%202004/Vogue/vogue2.jpgThe Princess Diary
It's an ordinary story - during the 2000 Olympics, a young Australian woman, Mary Donaldson, goes to a pub in Sydney, where she meets and ultimately marries a man named Fred.
In this case however, Fred just happens to be His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, heir apparent to the Danish throne.
In this exclusive interview, Vogue editor Kirstie Clements visits Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary in Copenhagen and talks with the newest member of the Danish Royal Family about love, destiny and a fairytale journey that is just beginning.
(Photographed by Regan Cameron)
It's a brisk autumn day in Copenhagen, as my taxi heads towards Amalienborg Palace, the Danish royal residence which is, in actuality, four exquisite palaces grouped around an octagonal courtyard, and situated in the heart of the city.
Of the four, one (Christian IX) is the home of Denmark's reigning monarch Her Majesty Queen Margrethe and her husband His Royal Highness Prince Henrik, while another (Christian VII) is an official palace, used for ceremonial and state purposes.
It was here on May 14, 2004, that the Danish people cheered and celebrated as a newly married royal couple appeared on the balcony, the handsome and much loved Crown Prince Frederik and his beautiful new bride, Crown Princess Mary, formerly Mary Donaldson of Tasmania.
By now the world knows the story - on a September evening in 2000, Mary makes a visit with friends to an upmarket pub in the centre of Sydney and is introduced to a young man who introduces himself as Frederik.
Four years later, the pretty former account manager is now addressed as Her Royal Highness and is destined to become the future Queen of Denmark.
It's a remarkable feelgood fairytale, a story of love, a romantic and charming respite from grim world news. It also has almost every woman in Australia wondering why she wasn't at that bar that evening.
I admit to having a minor obsession with Crown Princess Mary since I sat on the sofa with my mother and watched the royal wedding.
Here was an unknown young woman, a commoner so to speak, who looked and behaved so regally, it was as if she had been born royal. Her poise, her manner and her calm in the face of such a very public wedding were astonishing. The couple appeared to be so much in love, my mother and I had to fetch the tissues, especially when Crown Prince Frederik turned to see his bride walk up the aisle and his eyes welled up with tears of pure joy. I got lost in the romance of it all and the journey she must have made, both mentally and emotionally.
Now, four months, and much correspondence later, I am on my way to the palace to meet the Crown Princess, accompanied by Vogue stylist Trevor Stones and suitcases full of clothes.
As the taxi swings into the courtyard, the Crown Princess's personal assistant rushes forward to meet us, clutching her mobile phone. “Quickly,” she says. “Come with me, the Crown Princess is arriving in two minutes.”
We leave the car and the clothes to security and bound up the red-carpeted stairs of the Palace, this one being Christian VIII.
The couple currently lives at Fredensborg Palace, 40 minutes drive north of Copenhagen, while the fourth Amalienborg Palace, Frederik VIII, is being renovated for their future use.
We are ushered into a salon, and are just catching our breath when the Crown Princess enters the room and extends her hand with a friendly hello.
Dressed in a beige sweater, tweed pencil skirt and elegant high heels, she looks undeniably chic and relaxed. Her thick auburn hair is loose and shiny, her make-up natural, making the most of her luminous skin.
She chats easily; her manner is warm and inclusive. We decide to begin by browsing through the clothes we have chosen for the shoot. Like any woman, the Crown Princess's eyes light up as we go through the fashion, pulling out shoes and jackets and dresses and she decides she would like to try absolutely every piece on. I can sense this is going to be fun.
“I've never really thought that much about fashion,” she confides to me later over coffee and sandwiches. “My style and work environment was reasonably casual, apart from client meetings. I spent most of my free time pretty much going around in sneakers! Now, obviously the situation has changed quite a bit. It is important that I look smart and elegant and appropriately dressed for every occasion. I'm still developing my style to fit with my new role”.
Her personal style veers naturally toward the understated: Prada is a current favourite, as are Celine, Alexander McQueen, and designs by Danish designer Malene Birger, all of which are enhanced by the fact that she has a knockout, sample-size figure and great legs.
She also has a clear understanding of how crucial the fashion element is, especially in this day and age. “In the beginning, and it is still the beginning, I was definitely self-conscious. With the cameras on you, you do tend to shrink back a bit, but I'm betting better at it. It's very important when you walk out the door that everything is as it should be, your hat, your skirt, and that you've thought about the wind factor! You need to feel safe, and good and comfortable in what you're wearing”.
By all accounts from the young Danish people I spoke to, she's doing a fine job. The Crown Princess is perceived to have a very modern style and her presence front row at the recent Danish Fashion Week helped win favour with the local designers.
“I like clothes that are simple with beautiful detail. It is good to have fun with clothes, experiment a little,” she explains, mentioning Birger and her whimsical, feminine collections with their vintage touches.
Being a princess also comes with its own set of singular fashion challenges, and occasions that would rarely occur in Australia. “Like what do you wear to a lunch, at a hunt, when it's minus three? Or what do you pack for a royal tour of Greenland?”
To be continued ...