Thursday 18 July 2019

Caitlin McBride: 'How Dutch Queen Máxima raised the bar for every incoming royal state visit'

Queen Máxima wrapped a three day visit to Ireland
Queen Máxima wrapped a three day visit to Ireland
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands on June 13, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland
Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands at Government Buildings Dublin. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands visit the Long Room Library in the Trinity College where they get information about the Irish independence proclamation from 1916 in Dublin during day two of a three-day State visit to Ireland by the Dutch royals on June 13, 2019 in Dublin,Ireland. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)
Queen Maxima of The Netherlands during an official state banquet offered by President Michael Higgins of Ireland and his wife Sabrina Higgins at the Presidential Palace during day one of a three-day State visit to Ireland by the Dutch royals on June 12, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands during an official state banquet offered by President Michael Higgins of Ireland and his wife Sabrina Higgins at the Presidential Palace during day one of a three-day State visit to Ireland by the Dutch royals on June 12, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)
Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands arrive for a wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin during the royal couple's visit to Ireland
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands greeted by Cork County Mayor Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan(C) at Cobh Pier, Cork during their State visit to Ireland. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands arrive following a wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin during the royal couple's visit to Ireland
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands (centre) with Sabina Coyne at Aras an Uachtarain in Dublin during a visit to Ireland
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands during an official state banquet offered by President Michael Higgins of Ireland and his wife Sabrina Higgins at the Presidential Palace during day one of a three-day State visit to Ireland by the Dutch royals on June 12, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)
The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander (CR) and Queen Maxima (R) pose with Ireland's President Michael D Higgins (CL) and his wife Sabina on their arrival at the Presidential mansion in Pheonix Park in Dublin on June 12, 2019, on the first day of their three-day State Visit to Ireland. (Photo by Paul Faith / AFP)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Now that we're halfway through 2019, we're officially at peak royal state visits.

Over the last months, Ireland has hosted Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Sweden's Queen Silvia and King Gustaf, echoing the immense interest when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made the trip here just weeks after their wedding last year. But it was down to Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, joined by her husband King Willem-Alexander, who upped the ante with a flawless parade of ensembles over the course of three days.

Amid the anticipation of the aftermath of Brexit on the rest of Europe, Ireland has become a new area of focus by incoming dignitaries, and I'd put my money on at least one more visit before the year is out. Not to mention that hosting guests and showcasing Ireland's finest characteristics is one of President Michael D. Higgins' undeniable strengths.

Máxima, a 48-year-old former finance director with educational and professional credentials as long as your arm, made her first official visit with her husband here during their six year reign. On her arrival at Áras an Uachtaráin, she set the tone in an experimental Claes Iversen ensemble, inspired by African tribalwear. Iversen is a favourite with European royalty, in particular Máxima and Denmark's Crown Princess Mary.

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands on June 13, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands on June 13, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland

For a state dinner, she paid homage in an all green ensemble, championing Dutch designer Jan Taminiau and a dazzling emerald tiara, with diamond and emerald earrings and necklace, both dating back more than 100 years.

Day two's agenda was the perfect backdrop to two noteworthy outfit changes: for an afternoon visiting the Botanical Gardens and a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Máxima opted for her signature oversized headwear in the form of a wide brim Fabienne Delvigne hat and an understated burnt orange boat neck top, tweed skirt and black patent heels.

It made her quick change for an evening at the Bord Gáis Energy theatre, a red fit and flare dress by Red Natan she first wore in 2016, all the more striking. Versatility is key for any style icon and Máxima proved her credentials in spades.

For their last engagement in three days, she returned to the muted palette in which she arrived, wrapping up in a tan trenchcoat, a pair of nude heels and the same turban-style hat by Jos van Dijc she has in a number of different colours.

These high profile visits are an opportunity to showcase the best of both countries and for most female royals, this means either a commitment to wearing your respective country's finest designers or embracing a local designer. To my great frustration, Máxima missed a trick in her decision not to wear anything Irish and it's an easy tactic to further boost relations; but unlike Meghan Markle's commitment to couture, each ensemble was put together so carefully and showcasing a wealth of fashion talent in The Netherlands, her sins are forgiven.

She treated the trip as seriously as any other and while it was filled with typical photo opportunities and schmoozing, the positive publicity and face time with our leaders is an essential step in moving in a more cohesive direction.

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands during an official state banquet offered by President Michael Higgins of Ireland and his wife Sabrina Higgins at the Presidential Palace during day one of a three-day State visit to Ireland by the Dutch royals on June 12, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands during an official state banquet offered by President Michael Higgins of Ireland and his wife Sabrina Higgins at the Presidential Palace during day one of a three-day State visit to Ireland by the Dutch royals on June 12, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)

I should have known a woman with such an extensive hat collection was going to bring her A-game.

The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander (CR) and Queen Maxima (R) pose with Ireland's President Michael D Higgins (CL) and his wife Sabina on their arrival at the Presidential mansion in Pheonix Park in Dublin on June 12, 2019, on the first day of their three-day State Visit to Ireland. (Photo by Paul Faith / AFP)
The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander (CR) and Queen Maxima (R) pose with Ireland's President Michael D Higgins (CL) and his wife Sabina on their arrival at the Presidential mansion in Pheonix Park in Dublin on June 12, 2019, on the first day of their three-day State Visit to Ireland. (Photo by Paul Faith / AFP)

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