Queen Máxima: from Argentina to The Netherlands
A girl from wealthy Buenos Aires
Banking in New York
Microfinancing
Special ambassador for the UN
Teaming up with King Willem Alexander
How she met the Prince
Photographer at a party
A prince for an Argentinian princess
Seville in their hearts
Engagement
Wedding day
The famous tears in church
Her father could not be there
Jorge Zorreguieta, Máxima's father
Zorreguieta in the Argentinian military government
Not invited to the wedding
Watched it on a hotel TV
A happy marriage
Máxima and Kate Middleton
In Japan
Three daughters
Catharina Amalia, the first daughter of Máxima and Willem Alexander
Alexia: Máxima and Willem's second daughter
Ariane: Máxima and Willem's third daughter
The day Willem and Máxima became king and queen of the Netherlands
A different queen
A fashionable monarch
The hats of Máxima
An exuberant queen
Cheering on Dutch athletes
Good causes
Difficult times
The death of her father
Inés Zorreguita
Covid-19 and loss in the family
Far from her home country
50th birthday during the pandemic
Another year with big changes
Tango and tulips
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Queen Máxima: from Argentina to The Netherlands

While to many Dutch citizens, Queen Máxima seems more Netherlandic than a bitterbal, the modern, cheerful and kind monarch still has a lot of her native Argentina inside of her. Let's have a look at Máxima's life story.

(Photo: RVD)

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A girl from wealthy Buenos Aires

Maxima Zorreguieta was born in 1971 in Buenos Aires and lived in the upper-class Recoleta neighbourhood. She studied at Northland School, a very elitist bilingual school, and she went skiing regularly.

(Photo: RVD)

 

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Banking in New York

After graduating in Economics from the Catholic University of Argentina, Máxima went to New York to get work experience with several financial institutions.

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Microfinancing

Her experience in banking, especially with the principle of small loans to grassroots' startups (microcredits), would later inspire the queen to travel around the world and support local businesses in countries like Indonesia and India.

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Special ambassador for the UN

Much of Máxima's time is devoted to humanitarian work. She has been very active for the United Nations, advocating women's economic advancement and inclusive finance in developing areas.

(Photo: RVD)

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Teaming up with King Willem Alexander

How did this Argentine banking expert meet the Prince of Holland? And what lies behind Máxima's exuberant laughs and smiles, wherever she goes?

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How she met the Prince

It's been more than 22 years since the up-and-coming investment expert ran into a Dutch prince at a party of common friends. Máxima was working in the U.S. but attended a party in the Spanish city of Seville.

 

 

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Photographer at a party

Máxima had been asked to take photos of the party, and when she took one of a tall blond man - whom she didn't know - he reacted very nervously. He, as the Crown Prince of The Netherlands, thought she might be a journalist. This is how the couple got to talking.

(Photo: RVD)

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A prince for an Argentinian princess

Some reports say that the prince invited Máxima for a glass of champagne and asked her two questions: first, if she knew football legend Diego Maradona and second, if she spoke Dutch. To both of them, the woman replied that she did not. Either way, they started dancing and during that night they fell in love.

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Seville in their hearts

All this took place in Seville during its yearly April Fair. Men and women traditionally dress in flamenco costumes and dance to guitar music and castañetes. After their marriage, Máxima and Willem Alexander often returned to Seville to celebrate the day they met. (This photo was taken in 2019, at their twentieth anniversary as a couple.)

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Engagement

In March 2001, having known each other for about two years, the couple announced their engagement. The wedding day was set for February 2, 2002.

(Photo: RVD)

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Wedding day

The couple had a spectacular wedding on a remarkably sunny day in February. Yet, there was something off with the party as well.

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The famous tears in church

Máxima Zorreguieta could not contain her tears during the church ceremony. To many spectators, it was endearing and seemed like a happy moment.

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Her father could not be there

However, more than anything, they were tears of sadness and nostalgia. In the midst of her wedding ceremony, while the orchestra played a song of her childhood, 'Adios Nonino', Máxima thought about her father and how he was unable to attend the wedding.

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Jorge Zorreguieta, Máxima's father

Jorge Zorreguieta, Máxima's father, had been a businessman and politician in Argentina during much of the twentieth century. He was controversial because he had served in the regime of the dictator Videla between 1976 and 1983.

 

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Zorreguieta in the Argentinian military government

Even though Zorreguieta only represented the ministry of agriculture in that government, historians tend to agree that he must have known about the many thousands of political detainees the regime made 'disappear' in those years.

In the image: Argentine Dictator Jorge Videla

 

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Not invited to the wedding

His unequivocal collaboration with the Argentine dictatorship made it very difficult for the Dutch to invite him as a 'guest of honour' at their future King's wedding.

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Watched it on a hotel TV

The Dutch government decided to prohibit Zorreguieta from attending Máxima's formal, televised wedding to Willem Alexander. That day, he and his wife watched his daughter's wedding on a hotel television set in London. The whole 'Zorreguieta affair' was an uncomfortable chapter in the Dutch royal family matters.

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A happy marriage

As far as royal reporters know, the Dutch royal couple have had no marital problems in the nearly two decades that they have been married.

(Photo: RVD)

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Máxima and Kate Middleton

They get along very well with other royal families, such as the Spanish, Nordic, and British monarchs.

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In Japan

The Dutch royal family, including Máxima, is also close with the Japanese Emperor and his court. This photo shows Willem-Alexander and Máxima visiting the Emperor on the eve of his coronation. Máxima was wearing a spectacular design by Dutch fashion designer Jan Taminiau.

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Three daughters

The couple have three daughters of which the eldest, the Princess of Orange, is nearly 18 years old. They are, from left to right: Ariane, Alexia, and Amalia.

(Photo: RVD)

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Catharina Amalia, the first daughter of Máxima and Willem Alexander

On December 7, 2003, Máxima and Willem's first daughter was born. She was baptized as Catharina Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria. Her common name is Amalia.

(Photo: RVD)

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Alexia: Máxima and Willem's second daughter

Alexia Juliana Marcela Lorenza of Orange-Nassau was born on June 20, 2005.

(Photo: RVD)

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Ariane: Máxima and Willem's third daughter

Ariane Wilhelmina Máxima Inés is her official name, but all this can be summed up in Princess Ariane. She was born on April 10, 2007.

(Photo: RVD)

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The day Willem and Máxima became king and queen of the Netherlands

From 2002 to 2013, Willem Alexander and Máxima had fulfilled the duties of Crown Prince and Princess while raising their little children. In 2013, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands abdicated and the Prince became King Willem VI.

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A different queen

Queen Maxima embodies the recent revival of European Royal Houses. She's an inspiring, modern and confident woman, comparable to other European royals who came from outside the aristocracy. Examples are Queen Letizia in Spain - a former journalist - and Sofia Hellqvist in Sweden - a former model and reality star.

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A fashionable monarch

Máxima has a very outspoken and colourful style, which adds to her popularity among younger Dutch people.

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The hats of Máxima

Máxima is a fashion icon and her big hats attest to that reputation.

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An exuberant queen

Máxima has always been a very open and expressive person, in good times as well as bad times. Photographers love to capture the authentic emotion on her face during the numerous public events she attends.

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Cheering on Dutch athletes

When Máxima visits soccer games or Olympic tournaments with her family, she cheers on the athletes as if she's always been on the Dutch team.

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Good causes

Máxima didn't mind taking a dive into the questionable waters of the Amsterdam canals when she was invited for the City Swim. This charity event promotes the awareness of ALS and funding for the research of its treatment and cure.

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Difficult times

Behind the smiles and jokes there's also a more serious side of Queen Máxima. She hasn't had the easiest time in the past years.

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The death of her father

Queen Máxima suffered a hard blow when her father and her younger sister died shortly after each other. In 2017, her father Jorge Zorreguieta passed away. Máxima went to Buenos Aires for his funeral.

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Inés Zorreguita

A second and probably harder shock came to the Zorreguieta family when they learned that Máxima's younger sister, Inés, had taken her own life. It happened in 2018. Ines had long suffered from depression and anorexia. The family was devastated, especially the Queen's daughters who were fond of their aunt Inés.

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Covid-19 and loss in the family

In 2021, Máxima's uncle - the brother of her mother who's pictured here - died from Covid-19 while also suffering from cancer. She had been close to her uncle and often visited him on the Argentine countryside.

 

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Far from her home country

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, she was not only prevented from seeing him on his death bed or attending his funeral, but she could not be there for her mother either. Flying to and from Argentina simply wasn't an option.

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50th birthday during the pandemic

The Queen celebrated her fiftieth birthday amidst Covid-19 restrictions in The Netherlands and apart from her family in Argentina. Still, she was surrounded by her daughters and husband.

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Another year with big changes

In late 2021, two of her daughters left the home: Amalia to take a leap year after graduating high school, and Alexia (photo) to finish her baccalaureate in the prestigious Atlantic College in Wales.

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Tango and tulips

While her family life is changing, Queen Máxima is picking up the routine of royal duties and public appearances after the pandemic. And of course, a visit to the Dutch tulip fields is part of that!

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