On the occasion of crown prince Frederik's 40th birthday, Danish court and journalists Gitte Redder and Karin Palshøj collaborated on the book "Frederik. Crown prince of Denmark". The authors had previously written a book on Mary.
"I really felt that she was a soulmate. I was drawn to Mary on all fronts. It was fantastic. The introduction was a little mysterious, but very beautiful. If you had to visualise it, it was like a summer landscape in moonlight. Still water in a pond - evocative - there is a surface, but also depth. Harmony and tranquility and lots of kindness and beauty. That's how I remember her from our first meeting, and it would get better and better, and more and more beautiful,"
About that same night:
"I was jetlaged and I was really exhausted from having done a demanding pilot course." But the prince also wanted to go out to dinner with his Greek cousins, and their Spanish cousins and some locals. Aferwards they would look for a party. Mary was one of the locals they met. Already the next day after far too few hours sleep, Frederik felt that he had to contact Mary again. "I wanted to see whether it had just been a fun evening on the town or if it was more than that. I called first. There was something special about this girl, I felt, and she wasn't unreceptive when I called. Then we met several times during the Olympic Games and got to know each other better and better."
The romance was temporarily interrupted by a planned journey around Australia with the prince's close friend Jeppe Handwerk. But during the trip he constantly rang Mary. Today Frederik is glad that more than a year went by before the press got wind of the situation.
"It was extremely fortunate that the press didn't discover anything and that our love could evolve, which had enough hindrances as it was, not least distance. But the year that passed was just ours, before we decided that something radical had to happen. This was exciting and a really good test of whether we wanted to be with each other. There were several months between each time we met. It was hard. It really was hard to live with that longing", he says looking back on meeting each other in turns in Australia or France. "Our happiness, pleasure and love got bigger each time. And then we had to separate. It was awful to travel away from each other again. We realized soon enough that it was not just a casual romance that started at the Olympics and would wear off again."
About the rest of his time in Australia and the death of queen Ingrid:
"Frederik and his friend, Jeppe Handwerk took a Toyota Landcruiser to drive through the rainforest down towards Cooktown. Frederik turned on his mobile several times a day and hoped for a connection. Finally after many hours of difficult driving he got to tell Mary about the sight of the sea turtles, the sharks, the crocodiles and he says he misses her. A Frederik in love promises that the two of them will see each other again in a couple of days and then he'll stay for about a week in Sydney before going home to Denmark. But Frederik has hardly finished the conversation before his mobile rings. It's queen Margrethe.
“My mother called and told me grandmother (mormor) had become weaker and that I should think about coming home as quickly as possible. Mormor's life had come to an end. We drove for 24 hours to Sydney in one go and only stopped to fill up with gas. Mary and I had talked about how we should see each other as much as possible in the last days before I was to fly home. I phoned Mary and told her my grandmother was dying, and that I had to go home earlier than expected. Mary was of course disappointed but she immediately understood the seriousness of the situation and did all she could to support me”.
Frederik and Jeppe drove the more than 2.000 kilometres back in a cloud of dust and with the crown prince’s two tired bodyguards following behind. Frederik and Jeppe took turns at the wheel while the other one slept.
The last evening in the city Frederik and Mary went out for dinner. Just the two of them. Frederik talked about his experiences up north. About the dives at Great Barrier Reef, where the diving instructor’s jaws drop when Jeppe and Frederik told they both have more than 300 dives under their belts. The instructors thought the Danes were pulling their leg, because they were clumsy with the civilian diving equipment and put their air tanks and tubes together wrongly. Frederik told Mary about the snakes on the camping sites where Jeppe and he spent the night and about the rainforest at Cape York. And about his close relationship to his mormor, Queen Ingrid.
“Then I promised Mary that I would return. She probably thought I told this to every girl. But I knew deep inside that I would return. The next day I flew back five days before schedule in the hope of getting home to my mormor”.
No matter whether the flight from Sydney to Copenhagen goes via Singapore or Bangkok, it’s 24 hours of exhausting travel across continents and oceans. There's plenty of time to let your thoughts run freely. Frederik saw Mary and mormor in front of him. A big love for Mary had grown within him and at the same time he was losing his beloved grandmother. The crown prince badly wished to see his grandmother again and to say goodbye to the the one who had always been his support. When he gets home, Frederik drives directly from Copenhagen airport to Fredensborg Slot in order to be with Queen Ingrid at Kancellihuset. They have a quiet morning together, on their own. Frederik visits his mormor again in the afternoon and also later in the evening. The next day the ninety year old queen dies. On Tuesday the 7th of November 2000 a chapter in Denmark’s history ends. And one of the most important people in Frederik’s life is gone.
“I didn’t tell mormor about Mary. But I knew it didn’t matter. Because many years ago she told me – very calmly and sweet – that she knew she wouldn’t meet my chosen one. But she also knew that I would find the right one. So I wasn’t annoyed about it. Even though I had it in the back of my mind, I didn’t say it – but I think she knew”.
After the burial of Queen Ingrid in Roskilde Cathedral on the 14th of November 2000, Frederik spent the dark winter nights phoning or mailing Mary in Australia - 18.000 kilometres away. With every phonecall, every email and every letter he falls more in love."
About the time Mary moved to Denmark:
Mary secretly moved to Denmark in the spring of 2002. What do you do, when your girlfriend doesn't exist officially? How should the employees of court address a woman who officially isn't acknowledged? And the press was smelling big news too. So Mary moved in at Frederik's friends' place: in Mary's case at Ulla and Michael Brockenhuus-Schack's Giesegaard manor. And here she remained until the summer of 2002 where she got her own apartment.
About his proposal in 2003:
The crown prince had organized a trip to Rome. "I decided that I'd propose to Mary in Rome and I had bought the engagement ring. I made sure that I would be alone with her. It worked out perfectly. I went down on one knee because it's the right way to do it. And then I said, 'You cannot say no, you must not say no, you have to say yes.' And then she said 'yes' and it was beautiful. We were happy and it was just the two of us," Frederik proposed in in English.
Mary herself was als interviewed. She gives her view on how they want to be perceived as future regents:
"We must give the Danes a better understanding of the fact that our day to day lives also consist of work. It's a misonception among many perhaps, that when we are not out on official business, we are doing nothing. That it's only when they see pictures of us that we are working. If you compare the workload of the crown prince to how many pictures get into the weekly magazines there is no connection. It's important that this misconception is corrected."