The Dutch royal court has released fabulous new gala portraits of the King and Queen of the Netherlands, timed to coincide with a year of significant anniversary celebrations.
To mark the tenth anniversary of his accession to the throne, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands posed for a new set of state portraits at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. The pictures were taken in September by Anton Corbijn in the palace’s Gallery Room.
It’s tough to believe that ten years have elapsed since Princess Beatrix’s abdication and King Willem-Alexander’s inauguration, but the official tenth anniversary took place back in April 2023. Above, a glance at the gala attire worn by Willem-Alexander and Maxima for the ceremony. The new Queen of the Netherlands chose sapphires and diamonds for the occasion, including Queen Emma’s Sapphire Tiara.
Just as he did on the day of his inauguration, King Willem-Alexander wore white tie for the portraits, though he left off the ermine-trimmed robes. Like nearly every other monarch in Europe—with the exception of the King of the United Kingdom—the King of the Netherlands does not wear a crown, though the country does have one. The Crown of the Netherlands was made in 1840 and is rarely displayed in public. It’s only been displayed six times (four inaugurations, a museum exhibition, and Queen Emma’s funeral) since 1898.
However, just as he did on his inauguration day, King Willem-Alexander did wear numerous decorations for these state portraits. He wears the sash and star of the Military Order of William, plus the star of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. He’s also wearing the miniature ribbons and badges of several orders. From left to right: the Order of the Netherlands Lion, the Order of Orange-Nassau, the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, the Order for Loyalty and Merit, the Officer Long Service Cross, Queen Beatrix’s Inauguration Medal, the Order of Saint John in the Netherlands, and the Eleven Cities Cross.
The last decoration is a particularly interesting one. Back in 1986, when he was still Prince of Orange, 18-year-old Willem-Alexander participated in the Elfstedentoch, or the Eleven Cities Tour, a long-distance skating event (almost 200 kilometers) on natural ice in Friesland. The prince signed up for the tour under a pseudonym, though spectators began to realize who he was as the tour progressed. His parents, Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus, were waiting for him as he crossed the finish line. Current Dutch royal family members don’t have many opportunities to try to repeat his achievement. The Elfstedentoch can only be held when the ice along the course reaches a thickness of at least 15 centimeters. When it happens, participants have approximately 48 hours to prepare for the tour. The changing climate means less cold and less ice, and the event has only been able to be held once (in 1997) since 1986.
But anyway—back to the state portraits! Queen Maxima glitters in the new set of images, wearing a grand evening pink evening gown with an embroidered bodice and a ruffled skirt, accessorized with major antique diamonds. She’s also wearing the sash and star of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, as well as the star of the Order of the House of Orange.
For the portrait, Queen Maxima wears some of the grandest diamond pieces from the Dutch royal vault. She wears one of the smaller settings of the Stuart Tiara, which does not include the actual Stuart Diamond. (Another diamond cluster is positioned in its place.) She also wears the diamond necklace from the Stuart Parure, plus Queen Wilhelmina’s Diamond Earrings. All of these pieces date to the 1880s and 1890s. She also wore the Diamond Trellis Bracelet, made for Queen Wilhelmina around 1900, on her left wrist and the smaller of the Dutch East Indies Bracelets, which date to 1937, on her right.
If Maxima’s gala ensemble looks familiar, there’s a very good reason! She wore the same gown and jewels for a state banquet at Laeken in Belgium back in June 2023. The only differences in the ensembles are Maxima’s hairstyle, her Belgian order sash and star, and the fact that the bracelets were worn on opposite wrists.
Along with the official state portraits, the royal court also released another more casual gala portrait, taken during the same session. Very dramatic!