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FeaturesThe Netherlands

Maxima at 50: How she developed a royal style of her own


Stephen Lock/i-Images

On 17 May 2021, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands will be turning 50 years old. In honour of her milestone birthday, Royal Central is looking back at some of her notable fashion moments. 

Since her wedding to the then-Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander, Máxima has always been a favourite for royal fashion watchers. She has never been afraid to take a risk, and you can always expect a strong look from her. Her style evolved from a new Princess to a dedicated queen in her twenty years in the Dutch Royal Family. Throughout the years, she has developed a few style hallmarks that you can typically count on. 

In her first few years as Princess of the Netherlands, Máxima focused on simpler styles. Her 2002 wedding gown, by Italian courier Valentino, was a princess silhouette, with a cowl neck, three-quarter sleeves, and a stunning five-metre train. In January 2003, she wore a simple but striking red gown at a photo session during the Mexican President’s visit to the Netherlands, cementing her role as a fashion icon. 

Máxima has notably embraced pantsuits for many royal engagements. While the Countess of Wessex made fashion waves for wearing a pantsuit to Royal Ascot in 2018, Máxima has been wearing jumpsuits for several years. In 2015 she wore a red Valentino jumpsuit to the opening of the new season Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. At the photocall for her husband’s 53rd birthday in April 2020, she wore a floral printed jumpsuit from London brand Seren London. 

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
Photo: Moniek Bloks/Royal Central

Máxima tends to embrace bright colours and patterns, and it is one of the things that makes her clothing choices stand out. Bold pinks and reds feature in her wardrobe frequently. It also isn’t a surprise that we often see her in orange, the national colour of the Netherlands. 

While day-to-day life for most of us lacks hats, or really any headwear, Máxima’s style incorporates millinery on a grand scale. She often chooses larger, wide-brimmed hats, or close-fitting turban style pieces. Máxima isn’t afraid to wear a bold hat (to pair with her often structural garments). 

In 2011, then-Princess Máxima wore a gorgeous blush lace sheath dress and a matching turban to Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s April 29th wedding. And in 2014 for D-Day commemorations where she was photographed laughing with US President Barack Obama, she chose a sunshine yellow turban and aviator sunglasses. 

In November 2016 during a trip to Auckland, Máxima donned a wide-brimmed navy hat for a visit to the Auckland Art Gallery. For the 200th anniversary of the kingdom of The Netherlands in Maastricht, she chose a peach coloured straw hat with an upturned brim, a patriotic choice. 

While Máxima does have access to countless designer pieces, she does turn to the high street, as well. In May of 2020, she wore a £40 beige dress from H&M for a visit to a hospital to learn about pandemic guidelines and updates. And in 2017, she wore a tweed dress from Zara when opening a nursing convention in Rotterdam. 

As a Princess and now Queen of the Netherlands, Máxima makes bold choices with her clothing and her accessories. She is never afraid to take a fashion risk, and royal watchers will continue to follow her fashion with enthusiasm. 

About author

Historian and blogger at AnHistorianAboutTown.com