Queen Máxima of the Netherlands: how an Argentinian became a Dutch royal

Queen Máxima is each the primary non-European and the primary “commoner” to affix the Dutch Royal Household.

However who’s Queen Maxima? And the way did she find yourself turning into a beloved Dutch royal? Right here’s a story of journey, journey, acceptance, and a touch of scandal.

Queen Máxima: the primary Argentinian on the Dutch throne

Queen Máxima was born in 1971 in Buenos Aires, Argentina as Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti. Whereas she wouldn’t turn into well-known till her engagement to King Willem-Alexander and is technically a “commoner”, Máxima had fairly an fascinating starting and is of notable heritage. 

A photograph of the longer term Queen of the Netherlands taken in 1977. Picture: koninklijkhuis.nl/Wikimedia Commons/CC1.0.

Her father, Jorge Zorreguieta, was a part of the Zorreguieta household. A robust household in Buenos Aires, the Zorreguietas had been descended from landed gentry and consisted of many politicians and statesmen all through the generations — assume Downton Abbey however set in Argentina.

Máxima accomplished her research in Argentina and in 1995, she graduated from the Pontifical Catholic College of Argentina with a level in economics. From there, she jetted off to New York the place she turned a profitable working lady — no prince wanted. 

The long run Dutch queen labored as an funding banker for a number of banks and have become vice chairman of her division when, at some point, she stumbled throughout King Willem-Alexander. 

How King Willem-Alexander met Queen Máxima

The king and queen of the Netherlands met beneath surprisingly regular circumstances — at a good. The honest in query was the 1999 Seville Honest in Spain — image brightly colored tents, an amusement park, traditional honest video games and naturally, drinks!

That is the setting during which Máxima met the longer term king of the Netherlands, though he didn’t make that identified to her within the second. When first introducing himself, Willem-Alexander, who at this level was nonetheless solely the Prince of Orange, launched himself merely as Alexander. 

When Alexander later instructed Máxima he was really the subsequent in line to the Dutch throne, she initially thought he was joking. Following their assembly in Seville, the couple organized to see one another once more two weeks later again in New York. 

The pair dated for 2 years and in 2001, they introduced their engagement over a televised broadcast. Throughout the broadcast, Máxima addressed the nation in Dutch. Whereas she solely spoke the language to a conversational stage at this level, her willingness to be taught the language charmed many watchers.

See the speech right here:

Household ties and controversy

Nevertheless, the introduction of Máxima to the royal household was not all clean crusing. Máxima’s household turned a degree of controversy, particularly her father’s ties to the Argentinian dictator, Jorge Rafael Videla.

Jorge Zorreguieta, very similar to his ancestors, loved a place of energy in Argentina. He acted as Secretary of Agriculture beneath the dictator Jorge Rafael Videla throughout the starting of what turned often known as the “Soiled Conflict” (1974-83). Throughout this warfare, Rafael Videla’s civil-military dictatorship was liable for the “disappearance” and homicide of between 13,000 and 30,000 folks in Argentina. 

Following the restoration of democracy in Argentina, Rafael Videla was prosecuted for crimes towards humanity and large-scale human rights abuses. As you possibly can think about, Máxima’s father turned a controversial determine in her life. The query of his personal involvement in such a violent dictatorship needed to be answered. 


Not solely did the folks of the Netherlands discover this side of Máxima’s life to be regarding — the federal government did too. Consequently, the States Normal requested Professor Michiel Baud, a professor in Latin American research, to analyze whether or not Máxima’s father might have been concerned in any of the atrocities carried out beneath the dictatorship.

Following his investigation, Baud decided that Máxima’s father was in a roundabout way concerned in any of the atrocities. Nevertheless, whereas Zorreguieta claims he knew nothing of the horrific offenses carried out throughout his time within the cupboard, Baud believes it’s unlikely {that a} minister wouldn’t have identified. 

Maxima later spoke on the difficulty and condemned the dictatorship that her father had labored beneath, saying “I’ve lengthy rejected the Videla dictatorship, the disappearances, the torture, the murders and all of the horrible info of that point. That has definitely left main scars on our society.” 

She defended her father, saying she believed his appointment beneath the dictatorship was a problem of timing and nothing extra. “Relating to my father’s participation in that authorities on the time, I wish to say in all honesty that I remorse that he did his greatest for agriculture beneath the flawed regime. He had the most effective of intentions and I consider in him.” 

No invitation to the royal wedding ceremony

One of many fundamental questions that adopted the announcement of the royal wedding ceremony, was whether or not or not Máxima’s father can be current. Some folks within the Netherlands referred to as for his arrest ought to he enter the nation, whereas others questioned whether or not Máxima was even an acceptable addition to the royal household. 

Nevertheless, Queen Beatrix confirmed her approval of Máxima. Her resolution to pose with Willem-Alexander and his fiance on her 63rd birthday acted as an off-the-cuff stamp of approval for the match. 

The matter was lastly put to relaxation when Máxima’s mother and father determined to not attend the royal wedding ceremony in 2002. Her father’s presence would solely convey controversy and her mom determined she would solely attend together with her husband. 

Regardless of the preliminary hiccup, Máxima and King Willem-Alexander had been efficiently married and now have three daughters: The Princess of Orange, Amalia, Princess Alexia, and Princess Ariane. 

The Queen of the Netherlands is understood for her outfit selections. Picture: ANP/Sander Koning/Wikimedia Commons/CC1.0.

The Dutch identification based on Queen Máxima

Surprisingly sufficient, Máxima would come beneath hearth as soon as once more in 2007. When talking in regards to the topic throughout a speech for the Scientific Council for Authorities Coverage in 2007, she claimed that there isn’t a singular strategy to outline the Dutch identification: 

“The Dutch identification? No, I’ve not discovered it.

The Netherlands is: giant home windows with out curtains so everybody can look in; but additionally adherence to privateness and coziness. The Netherlands is: one biscuit at tea; but additionally nice hospitality and heat. The Netherlands is: sobriety, management and pragmatism; but additionally the expertise of intense feelings collectively.

The Netherlands is way too numerous to summarize in a single cliché.”

– Queen Máxima, 2007

Maybe essentially the most controversial side of her assertion was her declare that “The Dutchman doesn’t exist. As a comfort I can let you know that ‘the’ Argentinian additionally doesn’t exist.” 

While I’m certain the Dutch would have seemingly been much more aggravated by one sweeping stereotype — this definition didn’t sit properly with them both. Many Dutch folks had been outraged at Máxima’s assertion, deciphering it as a criticism of the Netherlands.

Is there a concrete Dutch identification?

However Máxima was baffled by the Dutch response, claiming that she solely needed to reward the nation’s multicultural inclusiveness. To make issues extra complicated, when requested whether or not or not they felt there was a Dutch identification, solely 41% of individuals answered sure, a survey carried out by The Low International locations discovered. 

An additional 42% of these surveyed discovered that it exists in some respect — however what precisely meaning, who is aware of! Of these surveyed, 6% stated they completely reject the thought of any concrete Dutch identification. So was Máxima proper in saying there’s no concrete Dutch identification? Some would argue sure.

A queen for integration and inclusion

While Máxima has definitely had some hiccups, evidently she has built-in properly into Dutch society — and that is one thing she desires for all who come to the Netherlands. She has been concerned in a number of initiatives that purpose to assist combine foreigners, significantly feminine immigrants. 

She took half in a particular parliamentary fee that sought methods to enhance the mixing of feminine immigrants into the Dutch workforce, and from 2003 to 2005 she was a member of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Girls’s Participation. 

At the moment, Máxima is part of the Chair on the Administration of Variety and Integration on the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and a patron of the Orange Fund — a fund that promotes social welfare and cohesion. 

Simply in case her involvement in these points doesn’t have you ever satisfied, Máxima can also be the primary member of ANY royal household to attend an LGBTQ+ rights convention, having attended a convention in 2008. Ethical of the story, she’s no absent queen. 

The folks’s queen

Certainly, Máxima is definitely a largely common member of the royal household. In truth, for a variety of years, she has been much more common than the King himself! 

In accordance with a survey carried out by Ipsos on Koningsdag in April of 2020, when requested to price their satisfaction with the royal members of the family out of 10, most individuals gave Máxima a score of above 8. In accordance with the survey makers, her reputation has been regular and excessive ever since her addition to the household. 

In distinction, King Willem-Alexander acquired a score of seven.7 this yr, the best score he has ever acquired throughout his time as king! (Though, it’s honest to say these scores have since dropped since that controversial vacation to Greece throughout a pandemic.)

Queen Máxima’s journey to the throne has not been with out the occasional bump within the street however regardless of this, she has confirmed herself to the vast majority of Dutch folks — be it via her charity work, her unique roots, and even merely the truth that she was not born into royalty herself.

What’s your opinion of Queen Máxima? Inform us your ideas within the feedback under! 

Function Picture: Picture: Erwin Olaf/Koninglijk Huis/Wikimedia Commons/CC1.0
Editor’s Word: This text was initially printed in January 2021 and was totally up to date in April 2021 to your studying pleasure.

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