This week’s Wedding Tiara Wednesday article focuses on one of the most famous February royal brides: Queen Máxima of the Netherlands!
Twenty-one years ago tomorrow, the Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, married his Argentine fiancée, Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, in a pair of glittering ceremonies in Amsterdam. The couple wed first in a civil ceremony at the Beurs van Berlage, followed by a religious ceremony at the Nieuwe Kerk. Máxima wore the same ivory silk Valentino gown for both ceremonies. (Last year, to celebrate the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary, we did extensive coverage of their wedding festivities: the concerts, the pre-wedding dinner, and both wedding ceremonies.)
Máxima accessorized with diamonds: diamond drop earrings, a diamond bracelet, and a new diamond setting for a tiara from the Dutch royal vaults. The sparkling tiara combined the diamond festoon base of the Pearl Button Tiara with a set of diamond stars from the family collection.
The Pearl Button Tiara has been in use since the 1960s, though the base of the piece is reportedly much older than that. Princess Margriet wore the jewel as her wedding tiara in January 1967.
The tiara also made a spotlight appearance in April 1980, when Queen Beatrix chose to wear it for her inauguration ceremony in Amsterdam.
For Máxima’s royal wedding ensemble, a new setting for the tiara was created, combining the festoon base with five diamond stars. The Dutch royal vaults contain several sets of diamond star ornaments, which were especially popular during the nineteenth century. The stars can be worn in various ways, including as brooches and hair ornaments. Above, Queen Juliana wears a whole collection of the stars in her hair during the Luxembourgish state visit in 1956. (She’s also wearing the Dutch Diamond Festoon Necklace, Queen Emma’s Diamond Stomacher, and pieces from her aquamarine parure.)
At least three separate sets of diamond stars exist, some reportedly from the wedding gift haul presented to Queen Emma in 1879. The first, a set of five stars, features four ten-pointed stars and one twelve-pointed star. The second is a set that contains several twelve-pointed stars. The third set features five twelve-pointed stars in graduated sizes. That’s the set that was used to create Máxima’s wedding tiara.
Máxima has also worn the stars as separate ornaments. Here, she wears the five stars from her wedding tiara as brooches pinned to her hat at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in London in April 2011.
The use of the stars effectively created a second setting for the Pearl Button Tiara, as the star ornaments were affixed to the tiara just as the pearl buttons are. The ornaments can be swapped out, and the base can now be worn with either set of toppers.
Here’s one more view of Máxima wearing the new starry setting of the tiara on her wedding day, as she rode through the streets of Amsterdam following the religious wedding ceremony.
Over the two decades that have elapsed since the wedding, the festoon base has been worn numerous times with both the pearl buttons and the diamond stars. Máxima has continued to be the primary wearer of the star setting, wearing it often for other royal weddings. Here, she wears the tiara at Princess Märtha Louise of Norway’s royal wedding, held just a few months after Máxima’s own wedding day. She also wore the Dutch Diamond Trellis Necklace, and she used another diamond star to secure her order sash.
Willem-Alexander and Máxima became the King and Queen of the Netherlands in April 2013 when Princess Beatrix decided to abdicate. Just a few months after the inauguration, Máxima wore the star setting of the tiara for a state dinner in honor of the President of Israel in The Hague. She also wore some of the smaller diamond stars from the vaults as brooches pinned to her waist.
Several other members of the family have also been pictured in the star setting of the tiara since Máxima’s wedding. Princess Beatrix wore the tiara for a diplomatic reception in Amsterdam in June 2015. Her sister, Princess Margriet, has worn the tiara in public as well.
And, touchingly, when Willem-Alexander and Máxima’s eldest daughter, Princess Amalia, made her first public tiara appearance in June 2022, she decided to wear her mother’s wedding tiara. The star setting of the tiara sparkled on the princess in Oslo during a birthday gala for Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway. Amalia also used additional stars to secure her order sash on that occasion.