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FashionThe Netherlands

Maxima at 50: The Sparkling Consort


© RVD - Erwin Olaf

Today, Queen Máxima is celebrating her 50th birthday. She has been Queen Consort since April of 2013 when her husband became King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. During her tenure as Princess of Orange and now Queen of the Netherlands, she has had access to some incredible jewels. 

The Dutch Royal Family’s jewels aren’t owned by individual members for the most part but rather belong to the family foundation. Queen Juliana created the foundation so that her jewels wouldn’t be passed down to different branches of the family and possibly sold to pay inheritance taxes. (Sweden and Denmark also use the foundation model.) This is why you will often see several different family members wear pieces, unlike in Britain, where one piece largely tends to be worn by the same person for their lifetime. As such, Máxima has access to some incredible pieces of jewellery. 

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The Stuart Tiara

The Stuart Parure is the most impressive in the Dutch jewels, with the Stuart Tiara taking centre place. Although it may seem odd to have the name of Stuart, the Stuart Diamond (that the set is named for) belonged to King William III and Queen Mary II. Upon their deaths and despite Queen Anne suing for its return, the diamond went back to the Netherlands and permanently remained there. 

In the late 19th century, Queen Wilhelmina had a tiara designed around the diamond. Queen Juliana wore the tiara frequently, but Queen/Princess Beatrix has never been seen wearing it. Máxima has worn the full setting of the Stuart Tiara with the diamond and the smaller version without. In either case, it is still an impressive tiara. 

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Queen Sophie’s Strawberry Leaf Brooch

This diamond and pearl brooch in the shape of strawberry leaves dates back to at least Queen Sophie, as she can be seen wearing it in an 1863 Winterhalter portrait. It has been worn by many royals but is particularly associated with Beatrix as she wore it on her wedding dress. She would wear it both with and without the pearl pendant. Interestingly, Beatrix almost always wore the brooch with the leaves facing down. However, when Máxima started wearing the brooch in 2007, she wore it with the leaves facing up. She will wear it both ways and will wear it for daytime and evening events. 

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Dutch Emerald Parure

The Dutch Emerald Parure is a standout set for the Dutch royals and royals in general. Created in 1899 by Queen Emma for her daughter Wilhemina. It can be worn with emeralds or pearls, but the set was originally created with six emeralds. (Two were removed in the 1950s to create a pair of earrings.) 

Queen Juliana would often wear it positioned upside down, but most other royal women have chosen to wear it in the original position. Several modern royals have worn this piece, including Princess Annemarie for her 2010 wedding to Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma with the pearls. However, when Máxima wears the Dutch Emerald Parure, she tends to wear it in its original emerald setting. 

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Queen Emma’s Diamond Stars

These diamond stars are an incredibly versatile set in the Dutch jewellery collection. When Emma married King Wilhelm III in 1879, she was given two sets of five diamond stars. (They can be differentiated by the number of points; one set has ten points, while the other has twelve.) 

When Máxima married Willem-Alexander in 2002, the ten-point stars were combined with the Pearl Button Tiara to create a new tiara. However, she will also wear the Diamond Stars as accessories on their own. At the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Máxima wore the stars on her hat for the ceremony. 

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The Ruby Peacock Tiara

This unique tiara is a part of a set that also includes a brooch and a necklace. It is thought that the rubies belonged to Queen Sophie, but the set was created in 1897 for Queen Wilhemina. She gave it to her granddaughter, Princess Irene, who wore it frequently, but it disappeared from view for quite some time. 

Beatrix and Máxima have both frequently worn it. Máxima first wore it in 2011 for a state banquet in Oman and often wears it diplomatically – such as in Canada, where red jewels are often brought out. She also wears the necklace frequently; though the necklace and the tiara look quite similar, they are two distinct pieces. 

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Emerald Drop Earrings

These emerald drop earrings are actually from Máxima’s personal collection rather than the family foundation. She has paired her own emeralds with different emerald pieces from the royal collection several times. 

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Queen Emma’s Sapphire Tiara 

This tiara holds a notable position for Máxima. Originally this was made for Emma, who left it to Juliana, who then placed it in the foundation, so it has the same family history as many of the other Dutch jewels. However, Máxima chose to wear the smaller setting of this tiara for her husband’s inauguration in 2013.

In the Dutch Royal Family, monarchs do not have a coronation but rather an inauguration. They are not crowned but are instead sworn in and invested at a meeting of both houses of the States General. Máxima wore Queen Emma’s Sapphire Tiara, along with Queen Wilhemina’s Sapphire Bow Brooch and sapphire earrings. 

Because the Dutch family has a family foundation for their jewels, Máxima has been able to wear countless stunning pieces. She likes to be creative with her choices but always makes an appropriate choice. 

About author

Historian and blogger at AnHistorianAboutTown.com