For Princess Mary, a royal romance was in the cards.
Before she met Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the then 28-year-old Australian advertising executive named Mary Donaldson found herself exploring a local flea market.
When she came across a tarot card reader, she decided to give it a try. The fortune teller carefully placed the cards, whose origins date back to mid-15th century Europe, in the traditional pattern on her table, and began turning them over.
The soothsayer told Donaldson that she would leave the workplace where she’d recently been employed to meet a man from abroad. She’d become famous, the clairvoyant said, and move to Europe.
“So I left there and thought, ‘Well yes, that was a lot of fun, but nothing more,’ ” Crown Princess Mary, 45, told Jens Andersen, author of Under the Bar, a new authorized biography of her husband, according to a report in the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad.
“But I’ve always been interested in the spiritual,” Crown Princess Mary said. “In mystery and fate.”
Soon after, Denmark’s heir apparent met his bride to be at Sydney’s Slip Inn, a restaurant and bar in the city center.
They talked all night but Mary did not realize that Frederik — who’d introduced himself simply as “Fred” — was royalty until later.
“The first time we met, we shook hands,” she said of their introduction. “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?’ ”
The couple’s relationship blossomed, with the duo jetting back and forth between Australia and Denmark to visit one another before their May 2004 nuptials.
Like his wife, Crown Prince Frederik, who has been heir apparent for 46 years, is something of a fatalist, although he apparently has little time for tarot card readers.
“I believe in fate,” he said. “When I look back on all the exciting things that have happened to me, it’s not random. But I don’t try to look ahead and say, ‘Can I predict my destiny for the next two years?’
“I don’t want to talk to anyone who claims they can. No one should read anything about me and my future.”
Denmark is one of the oldest monarchies in the world, dating back to the rule of Gorm the Old, who died in 958.