Princess Mary

Princess Mary

Denmark's Princess Mary has opened up about the death of her mother and how it has made her "stronger".

The 44-year-old princess - who has children Prince Christian, 10, Princess Isabella, nine, and five-year-old twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent with husband Crown Prince Frederik - was devastated when Henrietta Donaldson died from a heart condition in 1997.

Speaking to 15-year-old Mads Knudsen Topp, who lost her father three years ago, and has been helped by the Children, Youth and Mourning service, she said: "I was 26. It happened too early. 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. And the loss offers something that you wouldn't have otherwise. It makes a strong person."

The princess has previously spoken of how lonely she was when her mother passed away when she was just 26.

She said: "I felt alone in my pain.

"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."

And Mary regrets not spending more time with her mother while she was still alive.

She added: "I would have liked to have spent more time with her."

The future queen's Mary Foundation helps those who feel socially isolated or excluded to feel they belong and can contribute and thinks it is important to "reach out" to people before their problems become more serious.

She said: "When you feel alone, you feel as if you don't belong anywhere, like you're alone in the world. It's a real and big problem that's gone unnoticed, so I'm glad that it's drawing some attention now. There's still a lot of taboo around it, it's an issue we have to talk about.

"We have to be able to recognise people who are lonely and reach out to them.

"Loneliness in the short term is perfectly normal, but in the long term, it can destroy social and interpersonal skills."