There’s nothing quite like a meddling mother-in-law – and it appears even a Queen isn’t above trying to interfere with her son and daughter-in-law’s relationship if it arguably means it will save the future of her country’s monarchy.
Or at least, that’s how Queen Margrethe II’s abdication in favour of her scandal-hit son Frederik, now King of Denmark, may seem to some onlookers.
For royal reporter Kenth G. Madsen, the former monarch’s decision to step back from her role on January 14, when her eldest became ruler following his accession to the throne, and her daughter-in-law Mary, became Queen, was ‘damage control’.
Margrethe’s shock abdication was announced in her New Year’s Eve speech – and came after the monarchy was rocked by pictures of the King enjoying a night out with Genoveva Casanova in Madrid in November.
The Mexican socialite, 47, was forced to deny ‘malicious’ rumours about her friendship with the then Crown Prince – and Queen Mary has remained tight-lipped.
But Mr Madsen suggested that to secure the monarchy amid the ‘affair’ rumours, Margrethe was left with ‘no other choice’ but to abdicate to ‘remove the focus’ from the speculation and ‘at the same time give Mary the status of Queen’ to perhaps avoid ‘a royal divorce scandal’.
King Frederik X of Denmark and Queen Mary of Denmark (R) kiss on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark on January 14, 2024
Speaking to FEMAIL, the royal reporter claimed: ‘It can be difficult to forgive alleged infidelity in a relationship unless the price for turning a blind eye is suitably high.
‘Against the background of the disclosure of Frederik’s visit to Madrid and the documentation of the meeting with Genoveva Casanova, it is reasonable to believe that Queen Margrethe found the time to throw out a lifeline, before the relationship between the Crown Prince couple completely cracked due to the scandal.
‘The Queen actually had no other choice: in a strategic move, the monarch succeeded in removing the focus from the affair rumours, and at the same time giving Mary the hyper rare status of queen.
‘A royal divorce scandal of that magnitude could break the strongest royal house forever.
‘The risk that the popularity and reputation the Queen has built up during her 52 years as monarch could be destroyed forever if she had not done damage control on the matter.’
Potential tensions possibly still in Frederik and Mary’s marriage were revealed after they shared an awkward public kiss on the balcony of Christiansborg Palace after becoming King and Queen on January 14.
Body language expert Adrianne Carter told FEMAIL: ‘When Mary joins Frederik we initially see quite a distance between the two of them as they hold hands, he moves closer which she accepts. A literal distance can often mean a distance in a relationship.
‘When the children join them, they all move in together. Mary encompasses her children showing that’s her important focus.’
Queen Margrethe II gives a New Year’s speech and announces her abdication from Christian IX’s Palace, Amalienborg Castle, in Copenhagen, Sunday 31 December 2023
Margrethe’s shock abdication was announced in her New Year’s Eve speech – and came after the monarchy was rocked by pictures of the King enjoying a night out with Genoveva Casanova (pictured) in Madrid in November
Departing from Queenstown Airport in New Zealand after a four-day trip amid a visit to her native Australia, Mary appeared to wipe away a tear as she said goodbye to friends and prepared to make the journey back to Denmark
However, when the King pulls Mary close as the children leave the balcony – the Queen is ‘the first to pull away’.
Giving her interpretation of the footage, she continued: ‘Frederik pulls her in for a kiss, which he tries to do a few times before it actually happens. This is something he has planned, rather than something spontaneous.’
Adrianne also noted that when Frederik tries to kiss Mary on the side of the forehead, she ‘doesn’t react in any way; she just accepts’.
The body language expert mused whether Frederik is ‘still in the dog house’ after rumours of an alleged affair with Mexican socialite Genoveva.
Adrianne said: ‘We see Frederik pull in Mary and plant a kiss on the side of her forehead. She doesn’t react in any way; she just accepts. Is Frederik still in the dog house I wonder?’
Margrethe shocked the nation and many royal watchers around the world when she used her annual New Year’s Eve speech to announce live on television that she was stepping down as Queen after 52 years.
But timing of her abdication has raised questions, as it comes months after her son Frederik hit the headlines for his night out with Genoveva, who has since denied any suggestion of an ‘affair’ between the two.
In her address the 83-year-old said she had taken stock after undergoing back surgery last year and had decided it was it was time ‘to leave the responsibility to the next generation’ – namely her eldest son.
But speculation has continued to mount that the decision was made to keep Frederik’s wife of 19 years, Mary, who is extremely popular with the public, on side.
Australian-born Mary has won over the Danish public with her dedication to royal duty and her fluency in the language, with a recent poll finding 85 per cent of Danes have a positive opinion of the 51-year-old.
Her husband is also similarly popular, having turned his public image around from being a rebel tearaway and party boy during his youth to becoming a ‘woke’ family man.
The abdication means Mary, who first met Frederik at a pub in Sydney, has now become the world’s first Australian-born queen.
The Danish royal family yesterday appeared in a stunning new family portrait for the first time since their crowning (Pictured left to right: Princess Isabella, 16, Crown Prince Christian, 18, King Frederik, 55, and Queen Mary of Denmark, 51, twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, 13)
Princess Isabella, Crown Prince Christian, King Frederik X of Denmark, Queen Mary of Denmark, Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent wave after their parents became King and Queen of Denmark
She was working as an advertising executive when she first met Frederik in a packed city pub 23 years ago and had no idea the handsome European tourist she had been chatting to for hours was actually the future king of Denmark.
Now, married for 19 years and proud parents to four children, Mary has won her adopted country over by her dedication to royal duty and her fluency in the language.
And despite speculation about the state of the royal couple’s marriage over the years, there is nothing concrete to suggest they are anything but happily married.
The pair was most recently rocked by rumours after photographs emerged of Frederik, 55, apparently enjoying a night out with Mexican socialite Genoveva Casanova in Madrid in October.
But despite allegations of an ‘affair’, Frederik and Mary have continued to put on a show of unity at various recent events.
The abdication may not come as a total shock to all: according to one source from 2021, stepping down has been on Margrethe’s mind for quite some time now.
Speaking to Woman’s Day, the insider explained that the royal had been slowly but surely guiding her daughter-in-law for the duties over the years.
And for several reasons, the timing for stepping down seemed appropriate.
For example, in February, Margrethe underwent a successful back surgery. ‘The surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future – whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation,’ she said in her speech.
In addition, the timing of the move has raised questions, as it comes just weeks after Frederik hit the headlines when he was pictured on a night out in Madrid with a Mexican socialite, sparking rumours of an alleged ‘affair’.
Speculation is mounting that the decision was made to keep Frederik’s wife of 19 years Princess Mary, who is extremely popular with the public, on side.
Princess Mary, who is set to become the nation’s first Australian-born queen in a number of weeks, has won over the Danish public with her dedication to royal duty and her fluency in the language.
The King and Queen at the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen earlier this month
Her husband is also similarly popular, having turned his public image around from being a rebel tearaway and party boy during his youth to becoming a family man.
However, their relationship came under scrutiny last year when Frederik was spotted on a night out with Mexican reality star Genoveva Casanova in October.
While the Royal Household refused to comment on photos of the pair together, Genoveva issued a public statement denying any kind of romantic relationship and called the rumours ‘malicious’.
Thanks to Mary’s reported closeness to her mother-in-law, and her taking on advice and guidance, according to royal reporter Kenth G. Madsen, Mary will ‘play a very prominent role’ and ‘will not be an invisible queen’.
However, he also explained she may, to avoiding straying into political territory, need to be careful with initiatives around women’s and children’s rights abroad.
She and Frederik may also need to encompass causes Margrethe was passionate about, to expand their repertoire – ‘so that it is not just the more modern topics’.
One of the trickier aspects Mary may find about being Queen is living so far from her native Australia.
While she has spent more than two decades in Denmark, her new responsibilities may mean she has less opportunity to visit home.
It is possible that Mary’s new duties will affect how often she is able to visit her home in Australia.
And the royal appeared very emotional as she wrapped up her pre-Christmas break Down Under earlier this month.
Departing from Queenstown Airport in New Zealand after a four-day trip amid a visit to her native Australia, Mary appeared to wipe away a tear as she said goodbye to friends and prepared to make the journey back to Denmark.
She also shared a post about loneliness and the need for positive human connection during the festive period.
In the letter posted on the Mary Foundation website, the future queen reflected on the past year – and said she felt it was shorter than previous years.
‘And at the same time, so much has happened that it is impossible to put it all into words,’ she continued.
An excerpt shared on the official Instagram account for the Danish Royal House had some speculating the princess was using her foundation to hint at the affair rumours.
Meanwhile, body language expert Judi James told FEMAIL that Mary looked ‘disengaged’ when joining the Spanish King and Queen in Copenhagen in November. Her husband, meanwhile, appeared ‘hesitant’ towards his wife (pictured)
Last November, then Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik looked frosty in a photo shared by the Danish Palace, body language expert Judi James claimed
‘We need each other if we are to succeed. And that’s not only true in the working world and for those of us who are working to combat social isolation,’ it read. ‘This is true for all of us. Humans need humans.’
The touching words were shared alongside a stunning picture of the royal in the snow. She wore a purple jacket beneath a warm wool wrap and gave a soft smile towards the camera.
‘The Danish royal family are lucky to have you. I hope your husband realises he has embarrassed you and his children immeasurably. You will make a fine queen,’ one fan commented.
Another wrote: ‘I think this is a sad year for Mary, her husband’s (alleged) betrayal and it’s public. What a brave woman, she can handle anything. I just adore her.’
The Danish King and his wife first met in her native Australia during the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
After an encounter at the Slip Inn, then 32-year-old Fred asked Mary, then 28, 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 came up to me and said, “Do you know who these people are”?’ Mary revealed in an interview about meeting the heir to the Danish throne.
They maintained a long-distance relationship for a year, with Frederik making secret trips Down Under before Mary moved to Denmark to study Danish language at Copenhagen’s Studieskolen in 2001.
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.
However, at least for now it looks like they are planning to continue living in their current residence.
Currently, Mary and her family reside in Frederik VIII’s Palace at Amalienborg.
She and Frederik took over the property from the State in 2010 – when a full refurbishment and restoration was completed after six years.
Today, it is their private residence with administrative and ceremonial functions.
They also reside at the Chancellery House at Fredensborg Palace. According to royal reporter Kenth G. Madsen, the couple will live in their current accommodation and have no plans to relocate.