Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Interview for Australian media

12 February 2005

When the anouncement was made that Frederik & Mary would make an extensive Australian tour later in the year, Australian media published an interview + photoshoot (at Amalienborg palace) with the couple. The Australia tour combined with extensive media coverage had been carefully planned beforehand - just like the Ninka interview book and the Vogue cover story.

You could say that along with Frederik's engagement a new PR chapter started at Danish court - who seem to be very aware of the importance "image" has in today's world.



The interview was meant for the Australian media - as a teaser for the tour at hand - and completely focused on Mary's background.

Mary talks about buying a house in Tasmania, also to let her future children feel a strong bond to her native country: "It would be wonderful to own a little piece of Tasmania. Perhaps something up the coast. I think it's something we dream of doing." 

"I miss the beauty of Australia and its funny personalities," she said. "If there was a nine-hour flight that would make it so much easier because, as it is, if you decide to go to Australia, you have to consider a minimum time being two weeks."

The couple said that when they started a family they would take their children frequently to Australia to experience their mother´s homeland.

"Well, the majority of my life has been as an Australian, so I think obviously those influences will be taught to our children," Mary said. "I think actually the Danes and Australians have very similar values, so I don't think we have many conflicts there in bringing up our children, or that they will have inconsistent value sets. I think naturally they will be partly Australian -- maybe I can't say that!"

The couple dodged any question about their plans to start a family.

"I think it'll happen when it's meant to happen," Mary said.

But the couple said they were looking forward to family life. Mary said children had provided some of her most touching moments as a princess, and recalled that two little girls had visited her in her office at Microsoft´s Danish subsidiary Navision, where she worked before her marriage.

"And the next day their father came into my office and he said I'm really sorry. He didn't know that his daughters had come to see me, he explained. But his youngest daughter was quite disappointed because there was no big dress, no tiara, you know. This image of me sitting beside my desk in this huge dress and tiara, that's what she'd expected to see. It's such a sweet image," Mary said.

Mary also revealed her plans to build her own profile within the royal family.
She said she wanted to make a difference on several fronts, including improving the lives of the mentally ill, raising awareness of skin cancer in Denmark and fighting heart disease. And to help the advancement of Denmark's fashion industry. She added it was important that the monarchy remains relevant and connected to people.

She confessed to feeling nervous about the reception she & Frederik would receive in Sydney.

"I'm very excited but there is also a slight trepidation because we can't really know how we're going to be received or what it will be like to be there," she told The Sunday Telegraph. "The last time we were there we went around pretty much in freedom. This is a whole new trip, a lot of it is official engagements."

The princess confessed there were often moments she felt overwhelmed by her dramatic transformation from anonymous commoner to a royal forever in the public gaze. Despite the public adulation and worldwide fame, she said she remained the same girl who met Frederik at a Sydney bar in September 2000.

"Yes, obviously my life has changed quite dramatically," she said. "I'm still very much the same person and very happy to be the way I am and with the person I'm with. And that's the greatest change - to be married. And when people ask, 'hasn't it just been too overwhelming?', I have to admit there have been times when I've thought: 'My goodness, what am I doing here wearing this tiara made for the coronation of Napoleon?' But then I get the love and support from Frederik and so we must continue."

"I think my personality is that I tend to take things as they come. I don't think too much about the fact I'll be queen one day. First I've got to be this."

"I'm the devil's advocate. I ask the tough questions of Frederik. In that way I'm quite a detailed thinker. I think of the consequences of what you say or do." Frederik concurred, adding with a laugh: "I agree with everything she says". The Crown Prince said his wife had settled into her new post "magnificently" and had been embraced wholeheartedly by the Danish people. 

Looking back on their wedding day.

Mary only watched a video of her wedding day late last year (2004 - MFTS) while recovering from a gall bladder operation."That was quite interesting because it was a little bit hard to see that that was me," she said."It was surreal," adds Frederik."I was just so happy," Mary said:she described her extraordinary horse-drawn carriage ride through Copenhagen's streets, filled with cheering Danes.
"It was amazing. There was just people everywhere, on roofs, hanging out of windows, just . . . it was such a joy. There was so much joy and warmth and good wishes for us. It was quite spectacular, that carriage ride. I think I was very much in the moment the whole day during the wedding.But to have that effect on people, it was quite amazing. By just being happy yourself and enjoying the moment, people were able to take a little bit of that for themselves."

One of the behind-the-scenes highlights for the Crown Princess was watching her friends and family mix with Frederik's family and friends: ordinary Australians hob-nobbing with the cream of European royalty."I think all my friends – our friends now – who came from Australia just had the greatest time. There was this mixing of so many different cultures at our wedding as well which was just wonderful. There was even a rugby `test' between the Aussies and the French that they just set up for themselves.

Mary said she and Frederik meticulously planned the wedding to ensure they could enjoy moments of privacy in a ceremony witnessed by tens of millions."It was something that we talked about," Mary said. "We were worried that we would not be able to show our love for each other because of everything going on around us and all that focus – with cameras catching us at vulnerable moments.
"But then we just said let's just do what feels right to do."

About attending the Athens Olympics.

The Danish crownprincess admitted she instinctively leapt to her feet to cheer Aussie athletes: "It's hard when you've followed an athlete for many years to suddenly say: 'Oh, sorry, but I have to change my direction to someone wearing red and white'." 

Frederik has introduced Mary to his great passion of hunting, taking her on pre-dawn, below-freezing expeditions.

"I was sitting there in the freezing cold, not allowed to say anything, I'm not allowed even to move to keep a little bit warm," laughed Mary. "And then by the end of it I'm getting irritated because I move too much."
"I was telling her she was scaring the animals," said Frederik.
But Mary respects the highly traditional Danish hunting scene.
"I mean it's done very traditionally and it's very important that those who go out hunting are damn good shots," she said. "There's not a person that will go out without having the appropriate licence and experience.
"After being out in the freezing morning you go to a very traditional lunch where it's schnapps and herring, which actually I don't really get into."
The couple often hunt for pheasants – "The most prestigious", said Frederik – but more recently have hunted deer. But Mary has reservations.
"Yes, red deer," Frederik said.
"Bambi!" cried his wife.

Australianisms still litter the royal couple's lifestyle.

There is no Vegemite in the cupboard, but lots of Tim Tams. "No, I never was a big fan of Vegemite," Mary said. "But we've got a lot of Tim Tams in the house."
Frederik said he was yet to master the art of sipping tea through a Tim Tam.
"I love them. But when I try to suck them through the hot drink it goes everywhere," he said.
Mary said they received a stone kangaroo for a wedding present.
"He's about a metre high and he sits out in our garden and pretty much every person who comes looks twice," she said. "They think we now own a live kangaroo, so that's quite funny.
"We have a boxing kangaroo as well that was given to us by the Australian athletes when we were at the Olympic Games in Athens."
Mary said one of her mates in Sydney has promised to send her copies of Kath & Kim to keep her in touch with Aussie humour.
"I've also asked for The Comedy Company and those older comedy series. I can't wait to show Frederik some of those things," she said.

Nine months after her big day, she's still floating.

"We enjoy what we're doing, we have fun. When we are at official engagements like the opening of the new Opera House (in Copenhagen), I mean that was a wonderful thing to be a part of and we enjoyed it as a couple together. So when you are out on official duty you are not just there to sit and act officially, you actually enjoy it: You're out on a date."

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