Royals have always had the ability to inspire fashion trends, but it's only in recent years that their wardrobes - made instantly shoppable by style bloggers identifying labels as they're worn, and often featuring a high-low approach that sees princesses wearing Zara and Marks & Spencer alongside custom-made designer pieces - can be recreated with previously unthinkable precision.

But while Repli-Kates and Meghan obsessives take fashion tips from British duchesses, it seems that the royals are doing a little replicating of their own. This inspiration? Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark and Countess of Monpezat, who this week also seemingly influenced the sartorial stylings of Brigitte Macron.

Australia-born Mary has been a member of the Danish royal family since her marriage to Frederik, its Crown Prince, in 2004. The pair hosted the French president and his wife in Copenhagen recently - a meeting that looked set to be the perfect storm of clashing styles. While Mary, 46, has honed a personal aesthetic so elegant that it is copied the world over, Macron's signature look - Louis Vuitton miniskirt suits and shoulder-padded power blazers that offer a very different take on French style to that effortless narrative that the world is so familiar with - could not, it was assumed, compete.

Yet, it seemed that the French first lady was taking style cues from her Danish host. First, she appeared in a coat and dress (Vuitton again, natch) in the same bright red shade as the Princess's Raquel Diniz dress - a colour that neatly referenced the Danish flag, surely a mark of respect to her hosts.


Yes, the signature bouffant blow-dry remained somewhat at odds with the Princess's own loose, low bun, but by that evening's state banquet, Mme Macron had not only dropped her usual above-the-knee style for a full-length gown, to match Mary's floor-skimming hem, but was wearing her blonde hair in - what else? - a loose, low bun.

That elegant style (which, not-so-coincidentally, has become a go-to for Meghan Markle ever since her engagement to Prince Harry) has long been a favourite of Princess Mary's, and one she alternates with the bouncy blow-dries that are the double of the Duchess of Cambridge's. In fact, the resemblance between Mary and Kate, heightened by their similar wardrobes, is so striking that fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld once dubbed the pair "royal sisters". With just 10 years between them, it's easy to imagine that Kate looks to Mary for a steer on fashion appropriate for a future queen.

Denmark's Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik. Photo / AP
Denmark's Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik. Photo / AP

Many of Kate's style signatures - like wearing shades of bright blue or red for evening events, smart, pastel dress coats for day and a love of lace and classic nude court shoes - were first signatures of Mary's. Some of the similarities are particularly striking, such as the pale silver beaded evening gowns the pair wore in January (Mary) and May (Kate) 2017. On the occasion of Prince Louis's christening in July, the Duchess of Cambridge's unusual cream floral headband seemed a style departure - she usually opts for hats or fascinators. However, viewed side by side with the cream floral headband that Mary wore to christen her eldest son in 2006, and again to christen her twin son and daughter in 2011, the Denmark royal's influence is clear.

Just like the Duchess of Cambridge, Crown Princess Mary's story is something of a fairy tale. Born Mary Elizabeth Donaldson to Scottish parents in Hobart in 1972, she graduated from the University of Tasmania with a degree in commerce and law before going on to work in advertising in Melbourne and Sydney. It was in the latter, at a pub called the Slip Inn, that she first met Prince Frederik, now heir apparent to the throne. He was in Sydney for the 2000 summer Olympics, and introduced himself as Fred - it wasn't until later in the evening that a friend revealed his identity to her. A long-distance courtship and discreet visits followed, and in December 2001 Mary moved to Copenhagen. The pair were engaged in 2003, and married the following year.

When it comes to making her fashion mark, Mary has form: She is patron of the Danish fashion industry and Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the world's largest event on sustainability in fashion, while also ranking among the industry's elite, having twice appeared on the cover of Vogue in her native Australia, and once in Germany. In 2010, she was named on Vanity Fair's international best dressed list; she's also the subject of numerous style blogs and Instagram fan accounts, just as British duchesses are.

"People do buy what she wears," says Henriette Schmidt, who has blogged about her royal style for eight years at Mary regularly appears in Danish magazines and papers in the course of royal duties. While Jackie Onassis Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana are often said to be the style inspiration behind the wardrobes of duchesses and first ladies around the world, there is no little that Mary's status as a royal fashion icon has now made its mark.