Royal State visits are a dime a dozen these days. With Britain’s Prince Charles coming through on his promise to visit all 32 counties, and just weeks after Sweden’s Queen Silvia and husband King Gustaf visited, The Netherlands’ Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander are preparing for a visit this week.
It marks the Dutch royal couple’s first time in Ireland during their six-year reign after being invited by President Michael D Higgins in a bid to further bolster relations between the two countries.
And while Willem Alexander might be the ‘real’ royal in the family, ascending the throne after his mother Beatrix abdicated in 2013, the shining star is Máxima, the Argentinian-born former finance director who has ensured royal endurance thanks to her popularity with a new generation.
Like many modern royal marriages, it has taken an outsider to shake up the monarchy. Her professional credentials are second to none and she has utilised her pre-royal skills in carefully orchestrated roles in recent years, but she is best known internationally among royal watchers for her impeccable style.
Experimentation is rarely encouraged in royal wardrobes, and yet Máxima has been quietly building up her best-dressed credentials since her wedding in 2002.
With the interest in royal families the world over growing thanks to Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, Máxima has delivered a flawless display of ensemble after winning ensemble, both home and abroad.
She shines at daywear, often championing Dutch designers like Claes Iversen and Jan Taminiau, sprinkled with pieces from the usual high fashion houses for formal events, which require full length and a historical tiara from the family vault.
Máxima’s style, which is the subject of a number of blogs and Instagram fan accounts, is unashamedly a woman who loves fashion.
She is a master of taking it seriously enough that every ensemble is equally well tailored and received.
She understands the power of a dress code and the best way to make it work for her: while visiting the UK last year, she chose a custom fascinator by Irish designer Philip Treacy, the go-to milliner for the British royal family, and covered up her arms in a more modest grey tulle gown.
In between these stuffy affairs, she brings the same effervescence to her daytime engagements.
With roles across the UN, as Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and as honorary patron of the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, Maxima understands power dressing.
While appearing at the UN headquarters in New York in 2017, she wore a burgundy suit, and earlier this year, in a visit to Jordan, she opted for a sleek combination of pleated wide leg trousers and a beige wrap coat.
All of this means that Irish royal watchers are in for a style spectacle come tomorrow.
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