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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Danish prince to wed Australian
Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Elizabeth Donaldson
Love blossomed at Sydney Olympics
The crown prince of Denmark is to marry an Australian former estate agent, the royal palace in Copenhagen has announced.

Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, a 31-year-old law graduate, will become Australia's first European princess - and its first Australian queen on the death or abdication of Queen Margrethe.

The couple met when Crown Prince Frederik, 35, attended the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The crown prince has made a good choice
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Danish Prime Minister
"I can't give a firm date for the marriage yet, but it will take place next year," the prince's private secratary Per Thornit told Reuters news agency.

Queen Margrethe is due to formally approve the marriage on 8 October when the couple publicly announce their engagement.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the news.

"The crown prince has made a good choice," he told reporters.

Ms Donaldson comes from the island of Tasmania. Her father is a maths professor and her stepmother is British author Susan Moody. Her natural mother died in 1997.

Foreign partners

Crown Prince Frederik is following what is becoming a family tradition by choosing a foreign spouse.

His younger brother Joachim is already married to a Hong-Kong born Briton.

Queen Margrethe herself married a Frenchman - diplomat Count Henri la Laborde de Monpezat, who later became Prince Henrik.

Many Danish people remain strong supporters of the monarchy, and Crown Prince Frederik has wide popularity.

'Perfect princess'

The couple's relationship became public in 2001 in a magazine report. Other Danish media have since given Ms Donaldson a favourable reception - calling her the "perfect princess" and praising her dress sense and her university education.

Ms Donaldson, who has lived in Denmark since early 2002, works as a consultant with the Danish subsidiary of Microsoft.

Other Australian women wishing to snap up a European prince of their own may have taken note of the latest royal arrival.

The UK's Prince Harry is currently spending three months of his gap year working on an Australian ranch, rounding up cattle and sheep.

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