Princess Mary has paid tribute to her late mother in an emotional act after opening a national grief centre in Denmark.
Mary was only 25 when she lost her mother, Henrietta Donaldson, who died suddenly after complications from heart surgery.
Henrietta, or Etta as she was affectionately known, was only 55 when she died.
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On Wednesday, Princess Mary opened the National Grief Centre in the Danish city of Vejle, which serves as a place for children and young people a place to come together and talk, share stories and find support.
After giving an opening speech, Mary placed a tribute to her mother on the centre’s Memorial Tree.
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Pictures of the moment were shared to the Danish royal family’s Instagram on Wednesday.
“Many children and young people feel lonely when parents become seriously ill or die,” the post was captioned.
“Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess today inaugurated The National Grief Centre in Vejle, which gives children, young people and other citizens in the region the opportunity to share their grief with others.
“After giving the opening speech, the Crown Princess placed a greeting for her mother on the centre’s Memorial Tree.
“Here, visitors to the centre can remember and write a greeting to someone who is seriously ill – or someone they have lost.”
Princess Mary pins a tribute to her late mother to a memorial tree in Denmark. Credit: Instagram/@detdanskekongehus
In a 2016 magazine interview with Women’s Weekly, Mary said her mother’s death had happened much too early in life.
“It’s so hard to see when it is so close and so personal, but as you get older, you learn to appreciate the time you had together as a gift,” she said.
“And the loss offers something that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
“It makes a strong person.”
Princess Mary opens a national grief centre in Denmark. Credit: Instagram/@detdanskekongehus
A year earlier, Mary gave an interview to a Danish TV station saying she had “felt alone” in her pain after her mother’s death.
“As if nobody understood what I was going through, and I had come to a standstill while the whole world around me kept moving forwards,” she explained.
“I would have liked to have spent more time with her.
“She is part of me.”
Speaking at the first-ever European Grief Conference in 2022, Mary also shared her personal experience of loss.
“I know from personal experience that losing someone close to you is one of the most difficult and lonely life-changing events to go through,” she said.
Princess Mary greets people at the National Grief Centre in Vejle, Denmark. Credit: Instagram/@detdanskekongehus
“I still miss her, and she is rarely far from my thoughts.
“Grief never goes away but becomes part of who we are as life goes on.”
In her interview with Women’s Weekly, Mary said her mother had taught her some important values.
“Mum definitely taught me to be independent and to trust myself, and believe in myself and do whatever you set your mind to do,” she said.
“If you go after it, you can achieve it.”
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