GAME OF CLONES How Princess Kate and lookalike Danish royal pal Mary bonded over bitter sister-in-law feuds and shared glam style

SHE is often compared to royal lookalike the Princess of Wales – but Princess Mary of Denmark shares more with pal Kate than her graceful style and glossy brunette locks.

The friends and future Queens have been thrust into bitter ­family spats with rival sisters-in-law who married the “spare” and moved to the US.

Princess Kate and Princess Mary of Denmark share many similarities
Princess Kate and Princess Mary of Denmark share many similarities
The British Royal Family has been rocked by Megxit and dirty laundry aired by Harry and Meghan from their California exile
The British Royal Family has been rocked by Megxit and dirty laundry aired by Harry and Meghan from their California exile
Mary has been through a similar roller-coaster, with brothers Frederik and Joachim locked in an increasingly sour dispute
Mary has been through a similar roller-coaster, with brothers Frederik and Joachim locked in an increasingly sour dispute
It is thought Kate and Mary first met during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Denmark in 2011
It is thought Kate and Mary first met during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Denmark in 2011

And both are so-called “commoners” set to become among the most senior royals in their own countries.

On New Year’s Eve, it was announced that Mary, 51, will this month become Queen of Denmark and her husband, 55, will be King Frederick X after his mother Margrethe II, 83, announced her surprise abdication.

It is a fairytale rise for the Aussie-born law graduate, who married into the Danish royal family after meeting her heir to the throne in a bar during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

And while the British Royal Family has been rocked by Megxit and dirty laundry aired by Harry and Meghan from their California exile, Mary has been through a similar roller-coaster.

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Like Harry and Wills, Danish brothers Frederik and Joachim, 54, have been locked in an increasingly sour dispute since childhood, with the younger royal moaning that the future King got preferential treatment.

Sounds familiar? That’s not the half of it.

Mary had already married Frederik in 2004 — they shared a kiss on a royal palace balcony and she showed off her newborns on the steps of a hospital — four years before Joachim wed Frenchwoman Marie Cavallier, now 47.

‘Change can be difficult and really hurt’

It was hoped the two glamorous sisters-in-law would become close friends, but eyebrows were raised as the rival houses held engagements that clashed — and the two princesses wore near-identical clothing.

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It was claimed that there was a “serious war” within the family as Marie grew “jealous” of mum-of-four Mary’s guarantee of becoming Queen.

Royal insiders claimed that Princess Marie had reportedly complained about being made to play second fiddle, and there were rumours behind palace walls of jealousy towards her sister-in-law.

It did not take long for Princess Marie to begin publically griping, after she and Prince Joachim — who, like Harry, is a former army officer — moved to Paris in 2019, where he trained at the Ecole Militaire.

Just as Meghan used televised interviews to air her grievances with the royal family, Marie told a glossy Danish magazine that the couple’s decision to stay in France was not entirely theirs.

She said in July 2020: “It’s not always us who decide. I think that’s important to know.”

The comments were widely compared to Meghan when she complained during her South Africa tour that no one in the royal family had asked if she was coping.

It was the same month that Joachim suffered a life-threatening health scare when doctors found a blood clot on his brain.

While Frederik visited his brother, Mary did not — sparking more accusations of a family fall-out.

And tensions became increasingly strained when, in 2022, it was suggested Queen Margrethe II had “punished” Joachim and Marie by stripping their children of their titles.

Although the royal couple keep theirs, in a shock move Joachim’s children from a previous marriage, Prince Nikolai, 24, and Prince Felix, 21, were downgraded to lowly Counts.

Prince Joachim and Princess Marie’s two children, Henrick, 14, and Athena, 11, were stripped of their prince and princess titles and made Count and Countess.

Queen Margrethe II, who apparently once had a 60-a-day cigarette habit, said she made the move to “future-proof” the Danish monarchy.

Princess Mary wore an identical blue dress to Kate, above in 2019
Princess Mary wore an identical blue dress to Kate, above in 2019
Princess Kate during a visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn in 2020
Princess Kate during a visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn in 2020
William and Kate with their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis for the family’s 2023 Christmas card
William and Kate with their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis for the family’s 2023 Christmas card
Frederik and Mary with their children in matching white shirts and blue jeans
Frederik and Mary with their children in matching white shirts and blue jeans

But the decision isolated Joachim and Marie’s family, and elevated Danish royal power into Mary and Frederik’s line of succession.

The Queen said of her decision: “I could mention some things, but you shouldn’t have to tell everything.

“But it is still a little bit too private to talk about.”

Prince Joachim and Princess Marie’s response was to hit back in the media and spark a royal war of words, alleging they were “blindsided” by the move.

They even said that Athena, then ten, was bullied at school as a result of the decision — with comments that were taken to be a veiled attack on Mary, who had spent a decade advocating anti-bullying campaigns.

In an interview, Marie said: “They would come and say [to Athena], ‘Is it you who is no longer a princess?’.

“The children were publicly exhibited. At very short notice. This means that we, as parents, have not had time to prepare them for the change and people’s reactions.”

Many believed it had similarities to Meghan, who moaned in her Oprah Winfrey TV interview that the royal family went against protocol when they decided not to give Archie the title of prince — something constitutional experts dispute.

Archie and Lilibet were eventually named prince and princess last year.

Furious Prince Joachim also hit out at the move involving his children, saying it had “punished” them.

He claimed he was only told the news five days before it was made public, despite the Danish royal household insisting the decision had “been a long time coming”.

But Princess Mary backed the Queen’s decision, saying: “Change can be extremely difficult and can really hurt.

“I think most people have tried it. But this does not mean the decision is not the right one.”

In a move similar to Megxit, in September the Danish royal family announced Prince Joachim was to start a new job in Washington D.C as a defence attache, moving there with Princess Marie and their children.

While the situation is not quite as extreme as Harry and Meghan’s, the US-based Danish royals have complained that none of the royal family are now speaking to them.

Similarly, William and Harry have barely talked for the past four years, while Kate and Meghan have not been “in direct communication” for the same period of time.

As the wars of words rage on, Kate and Mary may find solace in their friendship.

It is thought the pair first met during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Denmark in 2011.

‘Hard work, loyalty and style’

The princesses wore similarly elegant styles for a joint Unicef engagement and — thanks to sharing a common language — spoke about their children and the challenges of being royal mothers.

At their next public meeting, during Royal Ascot in 2016, they chatted at length and stole the show when it came to fashion.

They both wore almost identical floral headwear and midi-dresses.

Before Kate’s wedding to William in 2011, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld remarked: “Kate is like a younger sister to Mary.”

And it is a relationship that has endured.

In February 2022, Kate chose Copenhagen as the site of her first solo overseas trip in five years, while she undertook a ‘fact-finding’ mission for her Early Years project.

Media were told she and Mary were “good friends” and the two women undertook a series of joint engagements, where they swapped tips and ideas.

Princess Mary set up The Mary Foundation in 2007, which has a huge interest in the welfare of children.

The Princess of Wales has also made early years projects her “life’s work” and launched the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

While they share future goals, the two women also have similar pasts — having both married into the royal family as “commoners”.

Kate famously met her prince at St Andrews University, Scotland, famously catching William’s eye when she modelled underwear on a student catwalk.

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Mary, who was born in Australia to Scottish parents, did not even know the identity of her admirer, who called himself “Fred” and asked for her number when they met.

But perhaps the most striking similarity between the future Queens is how they have managed to win over their respective public through hard work, loyalty and style.

Kate at Wimbledon's Centre Court in 2021
Kate at Wimbledon’s Centre Court in 2021
Mary at the Willem-Alexander Children's Hospital at the Leiden University Medical Center in 2022
Mary at the Willem-Alexander Children’s Hospital at the Leiden University Medical Center in 2022
The pair stole the show when it came to fashion during Royal Ascot in 2016
The pair stole the show when it came to fashion during Royal Ascot in 2016

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