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Queen Máxima of the Netherlands

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Official portrait, 2015
Queen consort of the Netherlands
Tenure30 April 2013 – present
BornMáxima Zorreguieta
(1971-05-17) 17 May 1971 (age 53)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
(m. 2002)
HouseOrange-Nassau (by marriage)
FatherJorge Zorreguieta
MotherMaría del Carmen Cerruti
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Máxima (born Máxima Zorreguieta;[1][2][3][4][a] 17 May 1971) is Queen of the Netherlands as the wife of King Willem-Alexander.

Argentine by birth, she worked in finance when she met Willem-Alexander, eldest son and heir apparent of Queen Beatrix, in 1999. They married in 2002, and became king and queen on the abdication of her mother-in-law on 30 April 2013. Máxima has promoted social integration of immigrants, LGBT rights, and financial inclusion. She and Willem-Alexander have three daughters, Princesses Catharina-Amalia, Alexia, and Ariane, who are first, second, and third, respectively, in the line of succession.

Early life and education[edit]

Máxima at age 6 in 1977

Máxima Zorreguieta[1][2][4] was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 17 May 1971. She is the daughter of Jorge Zorreguieta (1928–2017), who served as Secretary of Agriculture under General Jorge Rafael Videla during Argentina's last civil-military dictatorship (1976–1983), and his second wife, María del Carmen Cerruti (born 1944).[2] She has two brothers, a sister (deceased), and three half-sisters by her father's first wife, Marta López Gil.[5][user-generated source] She is named after her paternal great-grandmother Máxima Bonorino González (1874–1965), of Italian and Spanish descent. Originally from the Basque country, her ancestor carrying the Zorreguieta surname, José Antonio Sorreguieta y Oyarzábal Gamboa y Sagastume, migrated to Argentina around the year 1790.[6] Maxima's father was a scion of the Zorreguieta family who had been landed gentry, professionals, regional politicians, and statesmen for generations. Her maternal great-grandfather was also from the landed gentry; Domingo Carricart Etchart (1885–1953) was a landowner, politician, Director of the Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, first mayor of González Chaves, and mayor of Tres Arroyos.[citation needed] She also has Portuguese ancestry through her father's side, and is a descendant of King Afonso III of Portugal.[7]

She grew up in the Recoleta neighbourhood of Buenos Aires and studied at Northlands School, a bilingual school of the city of Olivos. She graduated with a degree in economics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) in 1995. This private university is governed by a directory of local bishops, including the current Pope Francis, then Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Grand Chancellor of UCA. During her student years, Francis presided over the traditional Mass at the beginning of classes. She later completed her studies with a master's degree in the United States.[8]

From 1989 to 1990, while still in college, she worked for Mercado Abierto Electrónico S.A. From 1992 to 1995, she worked in the sales department of Boston Securities SA in Buenos Aires, where she conducted research on software for financial markets. From July 1996 to February 1998, she worked for HSBC James Capel Inc. in New York City, where she became vice president of institutional sales for Latin America. From then until July 1999, she was vice president of the emerging markets division of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson in New York. From May 2000 to March 2001, she worked for Deutsche Bank in Brussels.[9] She also worked as a teacher of English to children and adults, and of mathematics for high school students and freshmen.[citation needed]

Relationship with Willem-Alexander[edit]

Máxima and Willem-Alexander, 2001
The royal wedding, February 2002
Willem-Alexander, Máxima and their daughters on the balcony of the Royal Palace, after the abdication of Queen Beatrix in 2013
Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander in Saba in 2013
Máxima in 2015 with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico

Máxima met Willem-Alexander in April 1999 in Seville, Spain, during the Seville Spring Fair. In an interview, they stated that he introduced himself only as "Alexander", so that she did not know he was a prince. She thought he was joking when he later told her that he was the Prince of Orange and heir apparent to the Dutch throne. According to the unauthorised biography "Máxima. La construcción de una reina", she was invited to Seville by a friend living in New York who openly said she would introduce her to two European princes. They agreed to meet again two weeks later in New York, where Máxima was working for Dresdner Kleinwort Benson. Their relationship apparently began in New York.[citation needed]

The news of the couple's relationship and eventual marriage plans caused controversy in the Netherlands, due to the involvement of Máxima's father Jorge Zorreguieta as a cabinet minister during the National Reorganization Process, the most recent Argentine dictatorship. Her father's 1979-1981 tenure as a minister took place during the later stages of the Dirty War (1974–82), a period of repression that saw about 30,000 people killed or disappeared during the seven-year military regime. At the request of the States General, Michiel Baud, a Dutch professor in Latin American studies, carried out an inquiry into the involvement of Zorreguieta in the Dirty War. Zorreguieta claimed that, as a civilian, he was unaware of the Dirty War while he was a cabinet minister. Baud determined that Máxima's father had not been directly involved in any of the numerous atrocities that took place during that period. However, Baud also concluded that Zorreguieta was almost certainly aware of them; in Baud's view, it was highly unlikely that a cabinet minister would not have known about them.[10]

A television series Máxima Zorreguieta: Motherland will begin airing on Videoland in the Netherlands in April 2024. The series is set to focus on her early life in Argentina and meeting King Willem-Alexander.[11]

Marriage and family[edit]

The couple announced their engagement on 30 March 2001; Máxima addressed the nation in Dutch (which at the time she only spoke at a basic conversational level) during the live televised broadcast.[12] Máxima was granted Dutch citizenship by a royal decree on 17 May 2001 and now has dual citizenship: Argentine and Dutch.[13] The engagement was formally approved by the States General later that year—a necessary step for Willem-Alexander to remain in line to the throne.

Máxima and Willem-Alexander were married on 2 February 2002 in a civil ceremony in the Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, which was then followed by a religious ceremony at Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church").[14][15] Máxima's parents were not present at the wedding; her father was told he could not attend due to his role as a cabinet minister during the National Reorganization Process, and her mother chose not to attend without her husband.[16][17]

The couple are the parents of three daughters:

Name Date of birth Age
Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (2003-12-07)7 December 2003 20
Princess Alexia of the Netherlands (2005-06-26)26 June 2005 18
Princess Ariane of the Netherlands (2007-04-10)10 April 2007 17


Queen Máxima has a particular concern for the integration of immigrants into Dutch culture. She was a member of a special parliamentary commission which sought to recommend ways to increase the participation of female immigrants in the workforce. Máxima stresses the importance for immigrants of learning the Dutch language (as she did) in order to fully participate in Dutch society. Dutch is the Queen's third language; she is also fluent in Spanish (her native language) and English. She speaks French at a conversational level.

In 2007, Máxima inadvertently caused a wave of massive criticism[citation needed] when in a speech to the Scientific Council for Government Policy she said that in the seven years that she had been in the Netherlands, she had been unable to find the Dutch identity.[18] Maxima is quoted as having said the following:

... but 'the' Dutch identity? No, I have not found it. The Netherlands is: large windows without curtains so everyone can look in; but also adherence to privacy and coziness. The Netherlands is: one biscuit at tea; but also great hospitality and warmth. The Netherlands is: sobriety, control and pragmatism; but also the experience of intense emotions together. The Netherlands is far too diverse to summarize in one cliché. 'The' Dutchman does not exist. As a consolation I can tell you that 'the' Argentine also does not exist. I therefore find it very interesting that the title of the report of the Scientific Council for Government Policy is not 'the Dutch identity'. But: Identification with the Netherlands. That leaves room for development and diversity.[b]

She participates in conferences around the world representing the Netherlands. She was granted a seat in the Dutch Council of State on 20 October 2004,[19] the highest advisory body and court of administration. She was a member of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Women's Participation from July 2003 until 2005. She has a seat on the board of governors of the Chair on the Management of Diversity and Integration at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; she (along with her husband) is a patron of the Orange Fund (established to promote social welfare and cohesion in the Netherlands); and she also chairs the Board of Trustees of the Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity of the International Institute of Social Studies[20] and the University of Utrecht.[citation needed]

Máxima is one of the few members of royal families anywhere in the world to be an open supporter of gay rights, and was the first member of a royal family to attend an LGBT rights conference, having attended a conference concerned with LGBT rights on 5 March 2008.[21][22]

Queen Máxima has been honorary chair of the Money Wise Platform since 2010. In this capacity, the Queen focuses attention on the importance of financial education and managing money sensibly, especially where children and young people are concerned. The Queen acts as special advisor to the Platform and consults with interested parties on ways of increasing people's financial awareness and resilience.[23]

Since 10 June 2015, Queen Máxima has been the honorary chair of the Ambassadors for Music at School Platform. Queen Máxima has for some years been committed to giving as many children as possible the opportunity to create music.[23]

Queen Máxima is a member of the Committee for Enterprise and Finance, which succeeded the Microfinance Council in 2011. The Queen is committed to extending the reach of various financing opportunities, both through coaching and by providing credit for new and existing small businesses in the Netherlands. She also works to increase the number of women entrepreneurs and the scope they have to expand their businesses.[23]

External videos
Queen's speech at the launch of "MIND Us"
video icon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlygYcFCR3A

Since March 2022 Queen Máxima is a Honorary President of "MIND Us" – a mental health platform created in collaboration with the MIND Foundation.[24][25][26]


Queen Máxima currently serves as the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). In September 2009 then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated her to this role in order to raise awareness on the importance of inclusive financial systems for achieving economic and development goals such as poverty alleviation, food security and education. In her work as UNSGSA, the Queen focuses on how formal financial services such as savings, insurance, and credit can prevent people from falling into poverty due to expenditures on healthcare, and people who are not able to protect themselves against rising food prices and poverty because they do not have access to basic savings accounts. The role of the UNSGSA is to foster action by governments, private sector, financial system standard setters, and others towards a more inclusive financial system that works for the poor.[27] In later years, her focus as a special advocate expanded to advocating digital financial inclusion, financial health, responsible technology for financial inclusion to support Sustainable Development Goals and agricultural finance.[28][29] Máxima is also an advocate for increasing access to financial services, improving consumer protection and enhancing financial literacy.[30] According to the UNSGSA website, she "aims to unlock development opportunities and economic inclusion for all."[28]

Queen Máxima visited several countries on behalf of the United Nations.[31] She also recorded a video for the launch of the Global Findex Database 2021.[32] Queen Máxima is also the honorary patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) since June 2011. In this role she works with governments and partners to advance the G20 Action Plan on Financial Inclusion, and the G20 Financial Inclusion Peer Learning Program. Previously, the Queen was a member of the Advisors Group for the United Nations' International Year of Microcredit 2005[33] and until 2009, was a member of UN Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors. She also work as the Global Agenda Trustee for the World Economic Forum's Global Challenge Initiative on the Future of the Global Financial System.[28] Máxima convened the CEO Partnership for Economic Inclusion.[28]

Titles, honours and arms[edit]

By a decree issued on 25 January 2002, upon the solemnization of marriage, Máxima Zorreguieta was granted the titles Princess of the Netherlands and Princess of Orange-Nassau, and the style Royal Highness was formally conferred upon her. She also became "mevrouw van Amsberg" (Mrs. van Amsberg).[34]

Another decree issued on the same day also granted her own personal coat of arms and a personal standard.[35]

On 13 May 2011, the Dutch parliament confirmed that Máxima would become queen consort of the Netherlands upon her husband's accession, after a debate over her future title and style.[36] On 28 January 2013, it was announced that Queen Beatrix would abdicate on 30 April in favour of Willem-Alexander.[37] Máxima is the kingdom's first queen consort since Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the second wife of William III. She is the first Dutch queen to have been born as a commoner, and the first to have been born outside Europe.

Royal titles and styles[edit]

  • 2 February 2002 – 30 April 2013: Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Mrs. van Amsberg[38]
  • 30 April 2013 – present: Her Majesty The Queen[39] or Her Majesty Queen Máxima[40]

Máxima's full title is: Her Majesty Queen Máxima, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau.[39]


Royal standard of Queen Máxima




Coat of arms of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
This coat of arms is used by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.[65] It was granted by royal decree-law of Queen Beatrix on 25 January 2002.[35]
Quarterly: I and IV azure billety or, a lion with coronet also or armed and langued gules, holding in his dexter paw a sword argent hilted or, and in his sinister seven arrows argent pointed and bound together or, which is of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; II and III or, a horn azure opened and bound gules, which is of the First House of Orange; an inescutcheon or bearing a castle of three towers gules flanked on each side by a poplar tree au naturel, and a river azure flowing from the base, ondoyant to the gate of the castle, which is of the house of Zorreguieta in Argentina.
The first and fourth quarters are the coat of arms of the Netherlands, based on the coat of arms of the House of Nassau.[65]
The second and third quarters are the coat of arms of the Prince of Orange.[65]
In the center is the coat of arms of Queen Máxima's paternal family, the Zorreguieta family.[65]


  1. ^ Pronunciation in Spanish ([ˈmaksima soreˈɣjeta]) and Dutch ([ˈmɑksimaː]).
  2. ^ Translated from the Dutch original.


  1. ^ a b "Queen Máxima". Holland.com. Archived from the original on 25 August 2023. Retrieved 25 August 2023. Máxima Zorreguieta was born in Argentina on 17 May 1971.
  2. ^ a b c "Queen Máxima — Youth". Het Koninklijk Huis. Archived from the original on 25 August 2023. Retrieved 25 August 2023. Queen Máxima was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 17 May 1971 as Máxima Zorreguieta.
  3. ^ "H.M. koningin Máxima, prinses der Nederlanden, prinses van Oranje-Nassau". Parlement. Archived from the original on 8 May 2024. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Máxima Zorreguieta". Paleis Het Loo. Archived from the original on 25 August 2023. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  5. ^ Andrea Borella Annuario della Nobiltà Italiana, Edition XXXI Teglio (SO) 2010 S.A.G.I. Casa Editrice, vol. 1 and Ascendencia de Da. Máxima Zorreguieta, Princesa de la Corona de los Paises Bajos Archived 3 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "La sangre guipuzcoana de Máxima Zorreguieta". 31 January 2013.
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  8. ^ "From Commoner to Queen - The Story of Máxima Zorreguieta". Euro Channel - The Best of Europe. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015. After moving to the United States to complete a master's degree
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  10. ^ Human rights: Zorreguieta vs.humanrights Archived 19 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine, March 2001.
  11. ^ https://www.royal-news.org/european-royals/drama-series-about-queen-maxima-set-to-air-in-april/
  12. ^ Engagement period Archived 22 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Royal Wedding 2002.
  13. ^ Ook Beatrix heeft dubbele nationaliteit Archived 21 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, (Queen Beatrix also has dual citizenship), Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 6 March 2007.
  14. ^ Amsterdam Museum toont trouwtafel van Prins Willem-Alexander en Prinses Maxima Archived 15 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Royal Wedding 2002.
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  25. ^ van Ginneken, Door Philippine (31 March 2022). "'Haar dood maakte heel veel gevoelens los,' aldus Maxima over de dood van haar zus Inés". Jan (in Dutch). Retrieved 30 May 2022.
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  29. ^ "UNSGSA Queen Máxima to Visit Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal to Advance Financial and Digital Inclusion". United Nations Development Programme. 10 June 2021. Archived from the original on 17 August 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  30. ^ "Inclusive finance for development". Dutch Royal House. 15 January 2015. Archived from the original on 17 August 2022.
  31. ^ "Country Visits". United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. 10 November 2020. Archived from the original on 11 August 2022. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  32. ^ "UNSGSA Queen Máxima Remarks for the Launch of the Global Findex Database". United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. The Hague. 29 June 2022. Archived from the original on 11 August 2022. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  33. ^ "International Year of Microcredit 2005". Year of Microcredit. Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  34. ^ Decree of 25 January 2002 laying down the titles and styles of Máxima Zorreguieta and titles, names, and styles of the children who might be born from the marriage of His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, Prince of Orange, Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg with Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Mrs van Amsberg Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Official Gazette of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. No. 41. Published: 31 January 2002
  35. ^ a b Decree of 25 January 2002, regarding the coat of arms and personal flag of Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima Archived 13 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Official Gazette of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. No. 42. Published: 31 January 2002
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  38. ^ "Besluit van 25 januari 2002 tot vaststelling van de titels en het predikaat van Máxima Zorreguieta en van de titels, namen en het predikaat van de kinderen die geboren mochten worden uit het huwelijk van Zijne Koninklijke Hoogheid Prins Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, Prins van Oranje, Prins der Nederlanden, Prins van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg met Hare Koninklijke Hoogheid Prinses Máxima der Nederlanden, Prinses van Oranje-Nassau, mevrouw van Amsberg". 31 January 2002.
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External links[edit]

Dutch royalty
Title last held by
Claus von Amsberg
as Prince consort
Queen consort of the Netherlands