'I am so happy that you swept me off my feet' - Crown Princess Mary leads Denmark's stylish royals at husband's 50th birthday
Denmark's Crown Princess Mary paid emotional tribute to her husband Prince Frederik during a parade of weekend celebrations to mark his 50th birthday.
The former marketing consultant from Australia met her husband at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and within two years, she had moved to Copenhagen to be with him and they married in 2004. After 18 years together, their relationship has moved from strength to strength, as she acknowledged the early days of her relationship, including that initial leap in moving halfway around the world to be part of a royal famiyl.
The Danish royals threw a number of celebrations in honour of Frederik, who is next in line to the throne, including a loved-up appearance on the balcony of their residence, the Amalienborg Palace. But it was Mary's moving speech a gala banquet (a champagne tiered lace gown by Danish designer Lasse Spangenberg) that proved to be the most emotional moment.
"It takes courage to dare, but without daring we lose what could have been. I am so happy that you swept me off my feet and that we dared to fall for each other, not for a moment, but for life," she said.
"I got to know you in shorts and T-shirt, and I remember very clearly the first time you changed from casual to gala.
"It was during my first visit to Denmark where we had celebrated our first New Year’s together. I was sitting in the couch in your living room when you said that you should get ready for dinner, a dinner that is always held on 1st of January. At that time, I really didn’t know so much about that part of your world. So, I didn’t give it much thought.
"You left the room, as the man I knew, and came back in full gala uniform. It was suddenly a very different image of you that was new to me. Deeply impressive and daunting at the same time. But your eyes and your smile were the same. Gala or not."
The couple have four children together - twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine (six), Prince Christian (12) Princess Isabella (10) - and she applauded him for support as a partner and devotion as a father.
"For me, it is in our family moments that I feel most grateful, most united, most in love,” she said. "Sometimes we hit the target without even aiming. That is how I think of our first meeting. A stroke of good luck that became a choice.
"We have become so close by giving each other space. And you in particular have supported me in finding a foothold and my way in the world that was yours and is now ours. Although I’m at home here, I belong here, I was not born here.
"My own explanation is that our roots continue to grow throughout our lives. We can always find our home."