Royal News: Meet Princess Máxima of the Netherlands

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Royal News: Meet Princess Máxima of the Netherlands
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Princess Maxima in September 2011.

With Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicating the throne on April 30, 2013, all eyes are now on Princess Máxima, wife of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, and soon-to-be queen consort of the Dutch people.

Very popular in her home country and throughout Europe, Máxima is known for her beaming smile, involvement with various charities and causes, and her fashion-forward sense of style.

With the Duchess of Cambridge preparing to welcome her first child, this is a perfect time for Kate lovers to embrace a lesser-known royal fashionista - Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. Here are a few things you should know.

1. Máxima Zorreguieta was born on May 17, 1971 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was raised there by her parents, along with her two brothers, one sister, and three half-sisters.

2. With a degree in Economics, Máxima began her career as an investment banker, working for HSBC in both New York City and Deutsche Bank in Brussels.

3. Máxima met her future husband in 1999 at a party in Seville. She had no idea that the man who called himself Alexander was actually Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, and heir to the throne of the Netherlands. While she told her family she was seeing someone, it wasn't until after they'd been dating seriously that she admitted he was a prince.

4. Máxima and Willem-Alexander announced their engagement on March 30, 2001. This caused something of a scandal, because Maxima's father had been Argentina's minister of agriculture during the brutal dictatorship of Jorge Videla. Though the Dutch Parliament allowed the marriage, Máxima's parents were not allowed to attend the wedding.

5. The royal couple tied the knot in Amsterdam on February 2, 2002. Already known for her fashion sense, Máxima walked down the aisle in a Valentino gown made of silk Mikado and boasting a 16-foot train. The designer also created an incredible veil covered in floral embroidery.

6. The couple have three daughters. Princess Catharina-Amalia was born on December 7, 2003, and follows Willem-Alexander in line to the throne. She will also inherit her father's title and become Princess of Orange when he becomes king. The other two daughters are Princes Alexia and Princess Ariane, who were born in 2005 and 2007.

7. Since joining the royal family, Máxima has worked extensively with numerous charities. She's put her education and experience in the financial field to good use, often promoting programs that support entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Netherlands.

8. As queen, Máxima will have access to what is arguably the largest royal jewelry collection in Europe. In her years as a princess, she's made official appearances in a wide array of impressive tiaras, and we can only assume there's more bling in store once she's queen.

9. Like Kate Middleton, Máxima was born a commoner. When her husband takes the throne, she will become queen consort, and her official title will be "Her Majesty Queen Máxima, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau."

10. What's in store for the new king and queen? Within a year of their investiture, they will be expected to make official visits to all Dutch provinces in addition to continuing their royal duties and charity work.

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