Top critical review
10 people found this helpful
Predictable Spin but a Good Beach Read
on January 3, 2008
This book is a decent entry into that genre of entertainment called "READ GOGGLE-EYED HOW ONE GIRL IN A MILLION GOT LUCKY!" It's decently written, wholly positive, not to say nearly hagiographic, and has nice photos. The outlines of the story of how the erstwhile Australian real estate/marketing executive met the Crown Prince of Denmark in a Sydney bar during the 2000 Olympics, and actually made it to the altar with him and is on her way to becoming Queen Consort of Denmark, IS remarkable. Unfortunately, it's the ONLY remarkable aspect of the book, because the two people involved couldn't be more ordinary. The only thing extraordinary about Prince Frederik is the circumstance of his birth, and the only thing extraordinary about Mary Donaldson is the circumstance of her marriage, as mind-bogglingly successful a grab at the matrimonial brass ring as ever was.
Unlike the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Mary Donaldson (as well as the handful of other commoners who wed European Crown Princes in the last few years) had some maturity and world experience before catching HER prince, and thus seems to have been able to make the most of her tremendous opportunity without paying for it later with misery and disappointment.
Catty as that sounds, they look like a well-matched couple and Miss Mary, who seems to have quite a bit of backbone, has gone on to adapt to a new country, new religion, new language, new public role, while giving the Danes the next generation's male heir AND the first little princess born to the Danish royal family since 1946, all within the first two years of marriage. Except for a few bumps, most notably some difficulty mastering Danish (she has continued to improve here, and it IS a notoriously difficult language to learn as an adult), she has adapted well and is increasingly popular among the Danes - in 2009 the royal tabloid Billed-Bladet took a poll in which Mary emerged as the most popular member of the Danish royal family.
The book gives lots of detail about how the couple kept the relationship going while separated by continents between summer 2000 and October 2003, when Frederik's mother, Queen Margrethe, finally gave her consent to the marriage. If you enjoy those sorts of details, and those describing Mary's adjustment leading up to the couple's sumptuous and, I must admit, quite gorgeous wedding in May 2004 (it is frankly the loveliest royal wedding I've ever seen, and three different DVDs exist on which you can see it), you'll enjoy this.
This book is now greatly outdated. Frederik and Mary are approaching their tenth wedding anniversary, are now also the parents of four adorable children (two of whom are twins, a boy and a girl, born in January 2011), have myriad foreign tours under their belts, while Mary's hairdos and wardrobe have undergone noticeable shifts. The usual rumors about cracks in their marriage occasionally pop up, particularly in certain circles, but true or not, Mary continues to carry herself with a certain admirable dignity. I'm sure other books will follow to catch everyone up on the doings of one of Europe's Golden Royal Couples. Or, you can try getting the hang of tabloid Danish and tracking the couple's lives through Billed-Bladet, Seg og Her, and Her og Nu online. If you don't mind this book being so far out of date, tuck it into your purse as you ride the bus, or into your tote as you head for the beach - that's about its level of insight.