17 September 2014
Yesterday was the annual state opening of parliament in the Netherlands, an occasion called Prinsjesdag by the Dutch. (My translation tools tell me that Prinsjesdag roughly means "Budget Day," which does make some sense in the context of a parliamentary opening. Dutch readers, please offer any corrections!)
For those of us who aren't Dutch, Prinsjesdag is notable as one of the glittering days on the Dutch royal calendar. The dress code is a bit peculiar: men, including the king, wear morning dress, and women wear long gowns and orders, as they would for an evening white-tie event, but with hats instead of tiaras.
This year, Queen Máxima chose a bright red gown and accessories, including a pair of matching gloves for the king's speech. (She ditched the gloves for the annual balcony appearance.) She's also wearing the star and sash of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
The brooch pinned to Máxima's sash is a serious heirloom piece. The diamond strawberry leaf brooch, which features a round pearl center and a pearl drop, dates to the early nineteenth century. It originally belonged to Queen Sophie, the first wife of King Willem III. She was born a princess of Württemberg, and it's entirely possible that the piece is the work of a German jeweler.
With the diamond and pearl brooch, Máxima wore large earrings with pearl button studs and pear-shaped pearl drops; she also wore a diamond bracelet on her wrist.
Wax 'n Máx were joined on the balcony by two other members of the royal family: his younger brother, Prince Constantijn, and his wife, Princess Laurentien. (Following tradition, Princess Beatrix has not appeared publicly at Prinsjesdag since her abdication, though eagle-eyed royal watchers spotted her this year watching from a window.)
Laurentien can always be counted on to bring out something wacky in her attire for events like this, and this year, it was her Wild Kingdom hat ornament. I sort of love her purple gown, though -- the buttons and collar give it a really interesting and flattering vintage touch. (Although -- is it corduroy???) She's wearing the star and sash of the Order of the House of Orange pinned to her dress.
In the jewelry department, Laurentien went gold. Her delicate leaf-shaped earrings are from the jewelry collection designed by her husband's cousin, Princess Margarita of Bourbon-Parma. (Thanks to Erik Schoonhoven for tweeting this tidbit!) She's also wearing a gold bracelet, but the star (no pun intended) of her accessories is the brooch on her sash. It's the round diamond star-motif brooch made in 1888 by Mellerio; it was a gift from King Willem III to his second wife, Queen Emma.
That's all from this year's state opening! What's the verdict on the sparkling gems on show?