Australia and Denmark don’t share a rich history, but on Thursday morning a top royal will watch with torn emotions as the two nations fight for their lives at the World Cup in Qatar.
The Socceroos take on FIFA’s No.10-ranked side in just over 24 hours, with Graham Arnold’s side aiming to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 2006, with victory securing their place in the knockout stages of final.
Millions of fans Down Under will be watching with anticipation, and 10,000 miles away in Copenhagen, Australian Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, 50, may feel torn as two nations close to her heart clash.
Earlier this month, Prince William caused outrage when he visited the England camp to send a final message of good luck before Gareth Southgate’s team flew to Doha.
William, who inherited the title of Prince of Wales after the Queen’s death, has been criticized for not visiting the Wales squad ahead of the tournament. Wales were drawn in the same group as England and Welsh actor Michael Sheen led the reaction against the Football Association chairman.
Princess Mary will watch Australia v Denmark with a direct interest on Thursday
The Danish royal was born in Australia and lived Down Under for 28 years, based in Tasmania
She moved to Denmark in 2001 and married her husband Prince Frederik three years later.
Earlier this month, Prince William – the Prince of Wales – suffered a misstep when he wished England well ahead of the World Cup. England face Wales in Group B on Tuesday night
Mr Sheen accused William of not showing “a shred of embarrassment” during his visit to the St George’s Park training center in England. The Prince of Wales has since lent his support to Rob Page’s side, who are set to be knocked out of the tournament.
But Mary, who is married to the future king of Denmark, Frederik, did not make the same misstep this World Cup.
The royal – formerly known as Mary Donaldson – grew up in Tasmania and spent 28 years of her life in Australia before moving to the Scandinavian nation and marrying Frederik at Copenhagen Cathedral in 2004.
They first met in a Sydney bar while watching the city’s 2000 Olympics; then an advertiser, Mary, spent hours chatting with the heir to the Danish throne.
However, Mary has previously said she will back all Australians – unless they are competing against a Danish opponent.
Frederik and Mary make their first official appearance together at the Tasmania Yacht Club ahead of the World Dragon Boat Championship on January 19, 2003
More than two decades later, the couple, who share four children, are living proof that fairy tales can come true.
After meeting Slip Inn, Frederik, then 32 – who was in Australia supporting Denmark’s Olympic sailing team – asked Mary for her phone number and a romance blossomed.
“The first time we met, we shook hands. I didn’t know he was the Prince of Denmark. Half an hour later, someone approached me and said, “Do you know who these people are? Mary revealed in an interview that she had met the heir to the Danish throne.
They maintained a long-distance relationship for a year, with Frederik making secret trips down before Mary moved to Denmark to study the Danish language at Studieskolen in Copenhagen in 2001.
At their wedding in Copenhagen on May 14, 2004, the new Crown Princess wore a beautiful dress by Danish designer Uffer Frank and a veil first used by Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden in 1905.
Over the span of six years, Mary and Frederik welcomed four children, Prince Christian (far right), Princess Isabella (second from right) and twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine (before the picture)
In early 2003, Frederik’s mother, Queen Margrethe, publicly acknowledged the relationship, and the couple announced their engagement at Amalienborg Castle later that year, on October 8.
Princess Mary reveals she felt ‘pretty lonely’ when she first moved to Denmark
Crown Princess Mary revealed she felt lonely when she first moved to Denmark, in a candid interview with Australian Women’s Weekly in 2017.
“I felt a sense of loneliness – in the short term – when I moved to Denmark,” she told the magazine.
“Moving to Denmark was a huge change in my life – new culture, new language, new friends and another way of life.
“So I find it quite natural that sometimes I feel quite lonely or a bit like I’m outside watching.”
Princess Mary knew it would take time to settle in and said she got there thanks to many caring and caring people in her new home.
Years later, Princess Mary speaks fluent Danish and is loved by her adopted country.
“From today Mary is mine and I am hers,” the prince said on their wedding day. “I love her and I will protect her with all my love.”
Mary opted for a beautiful dress by Danish designer Uffer Frank and a veil first used by Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden in 1905, however, in a nod to her heritage, she wore a bouquet of gum eucalyptus snowshoes interspersed with flowers from the palace garden.
Her family have returned to Mary’s native Australia on several occasions, visiting famous sites in Sydney, Canberra and the Northern Territory and even spending Christmas in 2015.
With her title of Crowned Princess of Denmark, Mary has sworn allegiance to the Scandinavian country, but is part of her still fighting for green and gold?
Ahead of the 2016 Olympics, she opened up about her loyalty when she said she would support all Australian athletes, on one condition.
“I will absolutely support Australians,” Princess Mary told the Today Show. “As long as they’re not competing with a Dane.”
Australia and Denmark last met at the 2018 World Cup, where they played out a 1-1 draw. Before that, Princess Mary was in the stands as the Danes beat the Socceroos 2-0 in a friendly in Copenhagen in 2012.
On occasion, the princess is known to pay a secret tribute to the country of her birth. In June 2021, she stepped out in an Australian-designed dress when she attended the “Mind of Music” concert in Odense, 167 km south of the capital, Copenhagen.
Earlier this year, she donated $50,000 to an Australian charity fighting child bullying after celebrating her 50th birthday.
Australia (left) are fighting for their life in the World Cup against Denmark (right) in Al-Wakrah, Qatar