Why Crown Princess Mary of Denmark is the royal teaching Kate Middleton how to master modern regal style
You could be forgiven for assuming that our own Duchess of Cambridge came up with the idea of making royal style seem more accessible by peppering affordable high street pieces into her wardrobe.
Or that it was she who recognised the power of royalty wearing clothes which would make plausible additions to the average working woman’s wardrobe and duly made coat dresses and skirt suits the cornerstone of her look.
In fact, there was another royal style pioneer rewriting the rulebook and bringing a more modern yet polished mood to roles which had long been steeped in tradition almost a decade before Kate officially came along.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, the Australian-British former advertising executive who married Crown Prince Frederik in 2004, was once dubbed Kate’s royal ‘big sister’ by Karl Lagerfeld, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Thanks to a close collaboration with designer and stylist Anja Camilla Alajdi, Mary has honed a way of dressing which is as mindful of being relatable as it is regal.
So when Kate was working out how to approach dressing for royal life when she married Prince William, Mary will surely have been a source of inspiration. The pair have met in public twice, first touring a UNICEF supply centre in 2011 and at Royal Ascot in 2016, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they had swapped notes and shared advice in private over the years.
Barely a week goes by that Princess Mary, who is one rung further up the royal ladder than Kate as her husband is first in line to the throne, isn’t at some engagement or another championing a new trend or spotlighting a Danish fashion label; recently, she has channelled Jackie Kennedy at the opening of parliament and made colour-blocking look easy in Prada for a WHO conference.
This week, though, will see an especial focus on the Crown Princess’s style as she spends four days on tour in Japan, celebrating 150 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Upon arrival in Tokyo, she flew the flag for Danish design- having attended Copenhagen Fashion Week in the past, Mary is more overtly engaged with the fashion industry than Kate- in a multicoloured coat by YDE Copenhagen and a pussy-bow blouse by Danish designer Britt Sisseck.
And while 2017 may not seem like a time for it to be remarkable that a woman is wearing trousers, Mary’s sleek black pair are an unusually practical and modern choice for a royal woman with most tending to remain in a skirt/ dress comfort zone, even now- aside from casual skinny jeans, the Duchess of Cambridge is rarely seen in trousers.
Patriotic and workwear inspiration boxes ticked, Mary moved on to ‘regal sport’ later in the day with Ralph Lauren tracksuit bottoms and matching pristine cream trainers for a Walkathon event.
Today, Mary looked to British designer Alice Temperley (one of Kate’s favourites) for a chic white laser-cut lace dress with a tie neckline as she visited Kenrokuen Garden and posed for a portrait with her husband in front of an idyllic traditional lake (see top image). A white orchid in her hair was a deft finishing touch which showed that the outfit was strategised to create a picture-perfect moment of sartorial diplomacy.
The outfit has already been compared to some of the Duchess’s favourites, with its demure midi-length skirt and frisson of fashion-forwardness. But have no doubt about it, Princess Mary has been excelling at the royal dressing game nearly twice as long as Kate. And if murmurings amongst royal experts that Mary’s mother-in-law Queen Margrethe may be preparing to abdicate are true, there will soon be an entirely new sartorial challenge for her to step up to.