Exuberant and joyful: why Queen Maxima of the Netherlands is the world’s most glamorous royal

一本道理不卡一二三区 The fashion formula which makes Queen Maxima a modern royal style icon

Queen Maxima in September 2019 wearing some of her favourite pieces; a jaunty hat, leather gloves, jewels and a cape
Queen Maxima in September 2019 wearing some of her style signatures; a jaunty hat, leather gloves, jewels and a cape Credit: Wireimage

Happy Birthday to Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who is celebrating her 49th birthday today! Or as I prefer to call her, Maxima the Maximalista. For royals, being glamorous is practically a prerequisite and there’s an exclusive elite who excel at it. But no one does all-out glitz and gorgeousness quite like the Netherlands’ Argentine-born Queen Consort. 

一本道理不卡一二三区Long before she became Queen, Maxima honed a reputation for her love of bright colours and striking adornments but ever since her husband Willem-Alexander ascended the throne in 2013 following the abdication of his mother, Queen Beatrix, Maxima has run with her natural magpie-like predilections, wearing some of the boldest royal looks of the past decade. 

Where many royal women are concerned about sleek silhouettes and what’s ‘appropriate’, Maxima has embraced all the possibilities of being a Queen, peacocking in ostentatious millinery and exuberant shapes. Though Amsterdam might be known as a capital of minimalist cool, Queen Maxima embodies regal decadence, but makes it work by dressing with cheer and a lightness of touch. Scrolling through her looks cannot fail to make you smile, whether it’s full matchy-matchy brown polka dots a la Pretty Woman or a jewelled gala gown. 

Queen Maxima wearing polka dots in Indonesia, March 2020 Credit: Getty

一本道理不卡一二三区For a lesson in expert colour mix-and-matching, there is no one better to look to for inspiration; Maxima has dabbled in styling red coats with hot pink dresses, ochre tailoring with grey knitwear and forest green dresses with merlot hats. Like our own Queen, Maxima understands that royalty must be seen to be believed but she exudes joy in taking it to the extreme, incorporating sequins, sumptuous brocades, feather trims and full-on flounces into her colourful arsenal. 

Wearing hot pink Oscar de la Renta with the Countess of Wessex in the UK in 2018 Credit: Getty

一本道理不卡一二三区Maxima exhibits prowess in power dressing of a different variety, too, occasionally offering up a palette-cleansing minimal outfit to counteract her rainbow wardrobe. She’s a master of the ‘stick of butter’ look (the practice of wearing camel head-to-toe) although in Maxima’s world, it’s probably better described as champagne dressing, as her bouncy blonde blowdry gives even the most simple ensemble a sense of glossy elegance. One of her most gorgeous coats is a slouchy, mannish tweed design by Oscar de la Renta and she’s as comfortable in a trouser suit as she is a shift dress. 

Queen Maxima in her favoured bright colours, 2018 Credit: Getty

一本道理不卡一二三区Just as the Duchess of Cambridge has Alexander McQueen, so Queen Maxima has Dutch couturier Jan Taminiau who has designed some of her most important looks, including the cobalt beaded gown and matching cape (these are one of her favoured ways to add dramatic edge to a traditional dress) which she wore for her husband’s inauguration. Like any self-respecting modern royal, Queen Maxima has recycled the dress, wearing it again at a banquet in Denmark in 2015.

Queen Maxima wearing Stella McCartney in April 2019 Credit: Getty

Besides Taminiau, Maxima wears an eclectic selection of labels, from established couture houses which deliver exquisite formal looks, like Valentino, to modern, versatile names who bring the pizzazz she is best known for - some of Maxima’s most memorable outfits include a diaphanous striped maxi dress by Mary Katrantzou, a sophisticated white one-shouldered gown by Stella McCartney and a trumpet-sleeved dress by Roksanda. 

At King Willem-Alexander's inauguration in April 2013 Credit: Getty

Maxima has also perfected the fine art of diplomatic dressing; in Denmark she wore pieces by Dutch-Danish designer Claes Iversen, in Ireland, she opted for a spectacular emerald lace dress with coordinating jewels and in India she has dressed in saris and zesty-hued Indian textiles. 

一本道理不卡一二三区During the Covid-19 crisis, Maxima has taken upon herself to dress in cheering florals for video calls, conscious that morale-boosting is an essential element of her role. Indeed, any down moment would be markedly improved by a browse through Maxima the Maximalista’s glorious fashion back catalogue. She’ll turn 50 next year - I can’t wait to see that party look.

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