Queen's funeral: Apology issued over Princess Mary invitation mistake

Foreign office offers its ‘profound apologies’ after Princess Mary of Denmark was invited to the Queen’s funeral by MISTAKE – then told she couldn’t come after ‘regrettable error’

  • The Foreign Office said it has offered ‘profound apologies’ to Danish Royal family
  • Apology was made through the Danish Embassy following Queen’s funeral 
  • Queen Margrethe II and her son Prince Frederik were at Westminster Abbey 
  • Princess Mary not present despite previous statement saying she would attend
  • Her invite was rescinded after ‘regrettable error’ made on original invitation
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

The Foreign Office has offered its ‘profound apologies’ to the Danish Royal family after Princess Mary was invited to Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral by mistake.

The FCDO sent an apology to the Danish Royal Household via the Danish Embassy, a spokesperson told MailOnline on Tuesday.

They said: ‘The FCDO has passed on their profound apologies to the Danish Royal Household through the Danish Embassy.’

Danish media has reported that a mistake in the invitation to Queen Margrethe II is what led to the confusion, after it made it appear as if the Queen’s guest, her son Crown Prince Frederik, could also bring a plus one.

However according to protocol, official invites were sent to current head of states who could bring one guest to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, held yesterday at Westminster Abbey. 

The last time she was seen: Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at Christiansborg palace for the gala diner during the 50 years anniversary of Her Queen Margrethe II of Denmark accession to the throne on September 10

Queen Magrethe II and her son, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark pictured at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday 

It has been claimed the ‘regrettable error’ was made due to the Foreign Office having to send out many invitations within a short space of time. 

Yesterday saw Westminster Abbey fill up with 2,000 people including world leaders, foreign royals and several hundred ordinary Britons chosen by the Queen for her funeral.

But the Australian-born royal, 50, was noticeably missing from the service, while her husband Prince Frederik and mother-in-law Queen Margrethe, where in attendance.

The Danish royal family originally confirmed Princess Mary’s attendance on September 13, with a statement to say that ‘HM The Queen and the Crown Prince Couple [will be] present at the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on 19 September 2022 at Westminster Abbey in London, Great Britain’.

However, in a statement released just six days later, they confirmed that only ‘Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness The Crown Prince’ would ‘participate from Denmark’ – making no mention of Princess Mary’s absence. 

It was reported that Princess Mary’s original invitation was made by a ‘regrettable error’ by British officials.

The Royal house told the Danish tabloid BT: ‘There has been a regrettable error in the invitation from the British Foreign Office’s protocol.

‘It is thus only the Queen and the Crown Prince who, from the Danish side, will participate in Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Monday.’

Eagle-eyed royal commentators have noted the distinct absence of Australian-born Princess Mary of Denmark at the Queen’s funeral

The Danish royal family were said to be attending in full force when they made an official announcement on September 13 but six days later the 50-year-old mother-of-four was nowhere to be seen

Photos and video footage shot at the funeral showed Prince Frederik and Queen Margrethe – now the only reigning Queen left in the world – sitting opposite King Charles III and his family on Monday

BT’s royal correspondent Jacob Heinel Jensen said the Danish royal house would have been ‘upset’ by the eleventh hour change.

‘It’s really clumsy and unfortunate… It has meant that the Royal House must now say that a mistake had been made, and that is embarrassing,’ he said.

‘I think the Royal House easily understands that a mistake has been made. I wondered myself when I was in London and the British media wrote that there were only two invitees per country. 

‘After all, you got the feeling that there really must be extra close ties between Denmark and Britain’s royal house if we got three invitations.’

Hundreds of emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other foreign dignitaries, as well as several hundred ordinary Britons chosen by Her Majesty, were in London for the state funeral at Westminster Abbey. 

Representatives of more than 20 Royal Families were present, including the reigning monarchs of the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. 

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, who rarely makes overseas visits, was among the guests along with King Jigme & Queen Jetsun of Bhutan and the Sultan of Brunei. 

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain, and King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, were among the first monarchs to view the monarch lying-in-state at Westminster Hall.

Queen Margrethe held a close relationship with Queen Elizabeth II and was among the first international monarch to pay tribute to Her Majesty.

She was also spotted shedding a tear in front of the Queen’s coffin before the funeral on Monday. 

Both Queens are great-great granddaughters of Queen Victoria – making them third cousins – with Margrethe often looking up to Elizabeth like a big sister.   

In May, Margrethe told the UK’s ITV news that Elizabeth, 14 years her senior, was a ‘huge inspiration’ to her as the only other living Queen.

With the death of Elizabeth II, Margrethe II of Denmark has become the only living Queen in the world

‘[Queen Elizabeth] was 26 when she became Queen. When I was growing up, I hoped I wouldn’t be as young as that when my father died. It made an enormous impression on me. The fact that she was dedicating her life. I understood what that meant. This is for life. That is the whole point of my life. And I know she sees that too,’ she said. 

‘When I was growing up, my mother and father said to me, “look at what they do in England” and I could see that it could be done and it was worthwhile and you could live a very full life with it, even with a heavy schedule and demanding job.’

The mother-of-two added that both Queens see their roles as ‘dedication’ and ‘a job’ and the way that Elizabeth ‘faced her duties’ ‘inspired her’.

‘The way she has faced her duties, the way she has dedicated her life, and she does it with a smile. She has been through many things,’ she added. 

‘When you get to my age, you don’t have the emptiness, what am I going to do tomorrow? I know jolly well what I am going to do tomorrow, and the next day, and the following year.’

Queen Margrethe of Denmark has lead the foreign royals paying tributes to Queen Elizabeth II, who died aged 96. They are pictured in 2000 at London’s Natural History Museum

The pair, also had sweet nicknames for one another. Margrethe called Elizabeth by her childhood nickname ‘Lilibet’ while Elizabeth called Margrethe ‘Daisy’.

The Danish monarch is known as ‘Aunt Daisy’ to many in her family as she was named after her grandmother, Princess Margareta of Sweden, and her name is similar to the Nordic word for the daisy flower.

‘We are definitely affectionate, but I don’t want to splash it all over the place,’ she told ITV of Elizabeth II.

The pair also have a love of dogs in common. While Elizabeth will forever be associated with corgis, Margrethe is known in Denmark for her love of dogs.

While Elizabeth got her first corgi as a child, it was Margrethe’s late husband Prince Henrik who introduced her to dachshunds. 

The Danish royal family, including Hobart-born Mary, shared a close connection with Elizabeth. Pictured in 2016

Margrethe was also among the first royals to pay tribute to the Queen upon her death last week. 

In a statement she wished the new King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla her ‘deepest thoughts and prayers’ after Elizabeth II passed away peacefully at Balmoral.

Speaking on behalf of the Danish family she was ‘deeply moved’ by the sad news of her ‘beloved mother’s death’.

‘I send you and Camilla my warmest thoughts and prayers,’ she said.

‘She was a towering figure among the European monarchs and a great inspiration to us all. We shall miss her terribly.

‘Her 70 years of reign and service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth are an unprecedented and remarkable achievement.

In February, Margrethe and Mary, met with Kate Middleton, who and officially welcomed her to Copenhagen

‘She was a towering figure among the European monarchs and a great inspiration to us all. We shall miss her terribly,’ she wrote

‘We shall always remember her important contributions to their development and prosperity.’

The Danish royal family, including Hobart-born Princess Mary, shared a close connection with Queen Elizabeth.

In February, Margrethe and Mary met with Kate Middleton, and officially welcomed her to Copenhagen. 

Mary has also previously attended Royal Ascot horse race with the Queen and Prince Edward.

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