Birthday, Catharina-Amalia, Catharina-Amalia of Orange, Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, Jorge Zorreguieta, Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, Princess of Orange, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Queen of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander of the netherlands
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands (born Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti; May 17, 1971) is the spouse of King Willem-Alexander. On April 30, 2013, she became the first queen consort of the Netherlands since Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont (queen consort from 1879 to 1890) and the first Argentine-born queen consort in the history of the Netherlands.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 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 Carricart (born 1944). She has two brothers, a sister (deceased), and three half-sisters by her father’s first wife, Marta López Gil. She is named after her paternal great-grandmother Máxima Bonorino González (1874–1965).
Her 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 Provincial de Buenos Aires, first mayor of González Chaves, and mayor of Tres Arroyos.
Máxima and Willem-Alexander
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 not only a prince, but the Prince of Orange and heir apparent to the Dutch throne. 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, but she did not meet his parents, Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus, for some time.
Willem-Alexander and Máxima.
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 Argentinian dictatorship. Her father’s tenure as a minister took place during the beginning stages of the Dirty War, a period of repression that saw 10,000–30,000 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 (roughly, 1974–83).
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.
The couple announced their engagement on March 30, 2001; Máxima addressed the nation in Dutch (which at the time she only spoke to basic conversational extent) during the live televised broadcast. Máxima was granted Dutch citizenship by a royal decree on May 17, 2001 and now has dual citizenship: Argentine and Dutch. 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 February 2, 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”). She remained a Roman Catholic after her marriage.
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.
The King and Queen have three daughters:
* Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, born December 7, 2003 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague.
* Princess Alexia, born June 26, 2005 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague.
* Princess Ariane, born April 10, 2007 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague.
Máxima is also godmother of:
* Countess Sophie Philippa Máxima Walburga Marie of Waldburg-Zeil, born June 29, 2000.
* Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway, born December 3, 2005.
* Countess Leonore Marie Irene Enrica of Orange-Nassau, born June 3, 2006.