September in Europe means that various countries' parliaments are back in session, and yesterday was the glamorous (and rainy) opening day of the Dutch parliament, known in the Netherlands as "Prinsjesdag."
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima traveled to and from parliament in the royal family's grand golden coach. These carriages were meant to differentiate royals from mere mortals in the days when everyone traveled by carriage; in a modern world of cars, trains, and buses, they stand out even more.
Queen Maxima stepped out of the carriage to reveal a gorgeous new Jan Taminiau gown. The detailed floral embroidery on the dress was inspired by the Japanese room at the Huis ten Bosch Palace.
Taminiau also designed Maxima's striking blue inauguration gown.
Maxima accessorized with gloves and a matching clutch bag.
The dress code for Prinsjesdag calls for ladies to wear long gowns with hats (because it's a formal event held in the morning) rather than tiaras. Maxima often wears a large hat for the occasion, but yesterday she chose a floral hair ornament that coordinated with her gown.
Maxima wore the star and sash of her highest Dutch order, the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
As for jewelry, she kept things fairly simple (for Maxima, that is), wearing her bejeweled tassel earrings, a pair that she wore earlier this summer in the Philippines.
Maxima may have been the star of the sartorial show, but King Willem-Alexander was the center of the day's government activities. He made his annual speech before parliament on a grand upholstered throne.
By grand, I mean really grand.
The other royals at Prinsjesdag were Willem-Alexander's brother and sister-in-law, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien.
Laurentien wore a long, dramatic pair of statement earrings. She also secured the sash of her highest Dutch order, the Order of the House of Orange, with a jeweled brooch.
Her green gown (which looks to me a bit like a Missoni knit) featured incredible long, medieval-style sleeves.
What did you think of this year's Prinsjesdag gowns and jewels?