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Queen Máxima of the Netherlands (née Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti;[1] born 17 May 1971) is the wife of King Willem-Alexander. On 30 April 2013, she became the first Dutch queen consort since 1890.

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 [hide*1 Early life and education

Early life and education[edit]Edit

Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti was born in Buenos AiresArgentina, on 17 May 1971. Queen Máxima is the daughter of Jorge Zorreguieta (born 1928), secretary of agriculture under President Jorge Rafael Videla during the National Reorganization Process dictatorship, and his second wife, María del Carmen Cerruti Carricart (born 1944). She has two brothers, a sister and three half-sisters by her father's first wife, Marta López Gil.[2][3] She is named after her paternal great-grandmother Máxima Bonorino Gonzalez (1874–1965), whose mother Máxima González y de Islas belonged to the family of Justo José de Urquiza († 1870), the first Constitutional President of Argentina.[4]

She studied at Northlands School in Argentina and worked as an investment banker before graduating with a degree in Economics from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina in 1995. She subsequently worked for large international finance companies in ArgentinaNew York, and Brussels.[5]

Through her father, she is a descendant of King Afonso III of Portugal, and other noble families of the Iberian Peninsula.[2][6][7]

Relationship with Willem-Alexander[edit]Edit

[1][2]Princess Máxima during her second pregnancy.

Máxima met Willem-Alexander in April 1999 in SevilleSpain, 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 the heir apparent to the Dutch throne. She thought he was joking when he later told her that he was thePrince 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.[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. 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. Zorreguieta claimed that, as a civilian, he was unaware of the Dirty War while he was a cabinet minister. However, Baud concluded that it would have been unlikely for a cabinet minister to have been unaware of the numerous atrocities that took place during that period. Baud's research nevertheless determined that Máxima's father had not been directly involved in any atrocities.[8] Even so, his possible presence at the royal wedding was debated for several months.[9]

Marriage and family[edit]Edit

[3][4]Willem-Alexander, Maxima and their daughters; on the balcony of the Royal Palace, after the abdication of Queen Beatrix in 2013.

The couple announced their engagement on 30 March 2001; Máxima addressed the nation in fluent Dutch during the live televised broadcast.[10] Máxima was granted Dutch citizenship by Royal Decree on 17 May 2001 and now has dual citizenship: Argentine and Dutch.[11] The engagement was formally approved by the States-General later that year—a necessary step for Willem-Alexander to remain heir to the throne.[12]

Máxima and Willem-Alexander were married on 2 February 2002 in a civil ceremony in the Beurs van BerlageAmsterdam, which was then followed by a religious ceremony at Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk ("New Church").[13][14] She remained a Roman Catholic after her marriage.[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 has three daughters:

Royal duties[edit]Edit

[5][6]Willem-Alexander and Maxima meeting with the Prime Minister Mark Rutte in 2010.[7][8]Royal Standard of Máxima

Queen Máxima focuses on the issue of 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 actually the Queen's third language; she is also fluent in Spanish (her native language) and English. She speaks French to a conversational level.

The Queen participates in conferences around the world representing the Netherlands. She was granted a seat in the Dutch Council of State on 20 October 2004,[18] the highest advisory body and court of administration. She became a member of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Women’s Participation;[when?] has a seat on the board of governors of the Chair on the Management of Diversity and Integration at the Free University of 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 theInternational Institute of Social Studies [19] and the University of Utrecht.[citation needed]

Máxima is one of the few royals in the world to be an open supporter of gay rights, and was the first royal to attend an LGBT rights conference on 5 March 2008.[20][21]

International appointments[edit]Edit

Queen Máxima currently serves as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon designated her to this role in September 2009 in order to raise awareness on the importance of inclusive financial systems for achieving economic and development goals such as poverty alleviationfood security and education. In her work as UNSGSA, the Queen focuses on how formal financial services such as savings, insurance, 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.[22]

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 [23] and until 2009, was a member of UN Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors.

Titles, honours and arms[edit]Edit

By Royal Decree nr. 41 of 25 January 2002, upon the solemnization of marriage, Máxima Zorreguieta was taken up into the Dutch nobility and the titles Princess of the Netherlands and Princess of Orange-Nassau, and the predicate Royal Highness, were formally conferred upon her.[24]

By Royal Decree nr. 42 of 25 January 2002, the Princess was granted her own personal coat of arms and a personal standard.[25]

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.[26] On 28 January 2013, it was announced that Queen Beatrix would abdicate on 30 April in favour of Willem-Alexander.[27] Máxima is the Kingdom's first queen consort since Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the second wife of William III. She is the first Dutch queen consort to have been born as a commoner, and the first to have been born outside Europe.

Titles and styles[edit]Edit

  • 17 May 1971 - 2 February 2002: Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti
  • 2 February 2002 – 30 April 2013: Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Mevrouw van Amsberg
  • 30 April 2013 – present: Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau [28]

Honours[edit]Edit

See also List of honours of the Dutch Royal Family by country

Arms[edit]Edit

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