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 a modern monarchy. Her professional credentials are second to none and she has admirably 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, which are expected to send a message of the same consistency of the throne, and yet Máxima has been quietly building up her best dressed credentials since her wedding in 2002.
With the ever-increasing interest in royal families the world over thanks to the growing obsession around Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, Máxima has delivered a flawless display of winning ensemble after ensemble both home and abroad since wearing her first tiara.
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 and takes joy in the impact it can have. She is a master of taking it seriously enough that every ensemble is equally well tailored and received, but her penchant for bold colours and headwear translates into a refreshing lighteardtedness.
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.
On home turf however, while hosting the President of Singapore Halimah Yacob and her husband Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee for an official state banquet at Royal Palace Amsterdam, she opted for an asymmetric fuschia gown.
In between these stuffy affairs, which require months of planning and can only be executed flawlessly as a combination of experience and anticipation, she brings the same effervescence to her daytime engagements.
With roles across the United Nations, as Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and honorary patron of the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, to say Maxima understands power dressing is an understatement.
While appearing at the UN headquarters in New York in 2017, she wore a burgundy suit with matching blouse, 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 that radiated regal elegance.