Princess Marie: 'I Had a Great Life – I Didn't Need to Be Rescued by Some Prince From Denmark'
Princess Marie of Denmark didn’t exactly jump at the chance to become a princess.
In fact, before she said yes to Prince Joachim’s proposal in 2008, Marie wasn’t sure she really wanted to be part of the royal family of Denmark.
Although she was born into privilege in Paris as the daughter of a French advertising maven and an heiress, her parents’ divorce when she was 11 years old tore her world apart.
Everything went to pieces when they divorced,” Princess Marie, who turns 40 on Feb. 6, told the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
Uprooted to Geneva in Switzerland where her stepfather worked in finance, Marie found herself with two younger half-brothers in Paris and two older ones in Geneva.
“Because of the divorce, my family was no longer the safe haven that I once knew,” she said.
“My father was very sad, and my mother had a new man I’d never met before. It’s no secret that I was not fond of my mother’s decision. I was actually very angry with her.
“Although my mother has always been great to me, I’ve always loved my father very much, and I began to fantasize about getting away,” the princess continued.
“When I was 13 years old, we found an international boarding school in Switzerland,” she said. “It was my own choice [to go there] – and it proved to be exactly what I needed.”
After attending colleges in the U.S. and Europe, the multi-lingual Marie focused on developing her career in marketing.
In 2006, after she met the recently-divorced Prince Joachim at a private party organized by mutual friends, Danes began to show an interest in the dark-haired woman whose brown eyes and infectious smile had captivated “the prince with the white castle.”
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At the time, she saw himself as an independent, freedom-loving career woman – working in Geneva, where she lived in a small apartment with her dog.
“I’d been fending for myself for years, and it felt overwhelming that suddenly everyone apparently had an opinion about me,” she revealed. “I had a great life – I didn’t need to be rescued by some prince from Denmark.”
“There was no doubt in my heart that I loved him, but I had my life. I was happy, and I had my pride. I simply was not ready to get married and take on the responsibility it would be to become part of the royal family,” she said.
And she admits that she has found the increased scrutiny that comes with a royal title to be difficult.
“I was not prepared that attention could be so negative,” she said. “There were some stupid articles. I did wonder whether it was worth it.”
But the couple’s love has given her that stable base she’s craved.
“Prince Joachim has been so understanding and patient in helping me appreciate where we are. I’ve come to understand his position, and how important the royal family is for the Danes,” she said.
The couple was married in a romantic ceremony at M gelt nder Church in May 2008.
The following year, she gave birth to the couple’s first child, Prince Henrik, and in 2011, the couple welcomed daughter, Princess Athena.
The upheaval she’d experienced when she was a child has helped Marie appreciate the need for stability when it comes to raising a family.
“I want to create a home for my children where they feel safe and develop their confidence,” she said. “Today I have a great relationship with my parents, I love my father and I love my mother, and we can even sit down together sometimes, but it’s been difficult.”
She added, “It’s turned out well for me in the end, but for a long time, I found it difficult to trust others.”