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An Argentine Queen

¨Argentina’s First Queen,” and “A Throne for Princess Máxima,” newspaper headlines enthused about profiles of the couple and tributes to the royal consort as a “queen of hearts” and a monarch of “style and glamour.”

In January of this year, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands (mother of Willem-Alexander) announced that she was stepping down because she believed ‘the responsibility should now lie in the hands of a new generation’. Queen Beatrix’s abdication has resulted in her first son’s accession to the throne as King Willem-Alexander. She has been an adored queen throughout her 33-year reign.

Today, Princess Maxima Zorreguieta became the first Argentinian to be a queen. She is now the queen consort to her husband, King Willem-Alexander of Orange and her official title is “Her Majesty Queen Máxima, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau.”

The daughter of a wealthy landowner, Maxima was born on May 17, 1971, to Jorge Zorreguieta and Maria del Carmen Cerruti in Buenos Aires.  Educated at the English-style Northlands School in the city, she received a bilingual baccalaureat in 1988, going on to study economics at the Universidad Catolica de Argentina. After University, she worked as an investment banker for HSBC in both New York City and Deutsche Bank in Brussels.

Máxima met her future husband, Alexander, Prince of Orange at age 28 at a party in Seville in 1999. Willem-Alexander and Maxima announced their engagement on March 30, 2001 and she addressed the nation in fluent Dutch during the directly televised broadcast. Despite their scandalous relationship (due to her father being accused of wrong-doing during Argentina’s dictatorship), they married in Amsterdam on February 2, 2002.  Since then, she and her husband have had three daughters, the eldest Catherina-Amalia who is now Princess of Orange.

Very popular in her home country and throughout Europe, Máxima is known for her beaming smile, her fashion-forward sense of style and involvement with various charities and causes. She is a member of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Women’s Participation, has a seat on the board of governors of the Chair on the Management of Diversity and Integration at the Free University of Amsterdam, she (along with her husband) is a patron of the Orange Fund, established to promote social welfare and cohesion in the Netherlands. She is also one of the few royals in the world to be an open supporter of gay rights.

This year´s Queen’s Day and the coronation have coincided. Queen’s Day is essentially a massive outdoor street party where you’ll see locals dressed in Dutch orange lining the canals or manning boats on the water.  Because the last few weeks have been filled with such excitement of the dual celebrations- the main streets of Holland have been filled with merchants selling scarves, mugs, pillows and even dishes with the new king and queen’s faces printed on them.

 

The high level program for April 30 was as follows:

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – The official abdication of HM Queen Beatrix in the Royal Palace. The Queen signed the Act of Abdication which was then read by the Director of the Queen. Members of the royal family were present.

10:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. – HM King Willem-Alexander, HM Queen Maxima and HRH Princess Beatrix appeared on the palace balcony. They waved to the crowds and the King and former Queen each delivered speeches. HRH The Princess of Orange, Princess Alexia, and Princess Ariane were present at the historic occasion.

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – HM King Willem-Alexander was sworn in during a session of the States-General of the Netherlands. The President of the Senate, Fred de Graaf gave a speech. Members of the States-General and delegates of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten took an oath.

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – A reception was held for the members of the States-General at the Royal Palace.

6:00 p.m. -7:15 p.m. – The day’s celebrations culminated in a water pageant, with the king and queen sailing down Amsterdam’s River IJ, greeting the thousands of people lining the banks.

Becoming the Crown Princess of the Netherlands did not mean that Maxima, who has dual Argentine and Dutch citizenship, planned to lose her identity. She maintains: “I am Latin and I will continue being Latin in respect to some aspects of my culture. I dance, I sing – and I will keep on dancing and singing.”