How King Willem-Alexander Of The Netherlands Tricked His Future Queen When They First Met

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his wife, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, were among many European royals who made their way to London to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II (via NL Times). His mother, Beatrix of the Netherlands, who abdicated in 2013 (via, also joined them.

In a statement issued following her death on September 8, 2022, the Netherlands' royal family described the former British monarch as "steadfast and wise" and that they "feel a strong bond with the United Kingdom and its royal family, and we share sorrow at this time." During a visit to Texas (via the Houston Chronicle), Máxima said she would continue the example that the queen set during her 70-year reign. "With tireless energy and dedication, she has served her people ... and I can think of no better way than to follow her example, and continue to do our work, also for our people."

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Máxima didn't know much about the Dutch royal family before joining it, especially not her future husband, who was the Prince of Orange at the time.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima met at a Spanish fair

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands met in 1999 under relatively normal circumstances at the Seville Spring Fair in Spain (via Nine Honey). Willem-Alexander introduced himself to Máxima simply as Alexander and didn't make her aware of his status as a royal, let alone the heir apparent to the Dutch throne through his mother, the former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Having been born and raised in Argentina, Máxima wasn't as aware or clued in on the Dutch royal family as those in Europe or the Netherlands (via Hello! Magazine). So when they started dating, he spilled the beans, and she reportedly didn't believe him (via Dutch Review).

While their meet cute at a Spanish fair seemed spontaneous, Euro Channel noted that some reports at the time suggested that Máxima's father, Jorge Zorreguieta, and Willem-Alexander's grandfather, Prince Bernhard, had actually arranged the meeting in secret. Whether this did or did not happen seems to have been unbeknownst to Máxima, who didn't tell her parents that she was dating a prince. "I would tell them something different (about Willem) every time," she told Hello! magazine, "but at some point there was nothing for it than to say: 'He's the Prince of the Netherlands.'"

Their relationship didn't go so smoothly with the government at the beginning

Despite falling in love reasonably quickly, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima's relationship didn't come without controversy (via Hello! magazine). It soon became known that Máxima's father, Jorge Zorreguieta, had served as agriculture minister in Argentina during the seventies — a period when the country was under a military dictatorship (via Dutch Review).

As the news broke, an investigation was carried out by the Dutch government to see whether Zorreguieta was directly involved in the regime. It eventually found he wasn't, and Máxima subsequently issued a statement. "I have long rejected the Videla dictatorship, the disappearances, the torture, the murders, and all the terrible facts of that time," she said. "Regarding my father's participation in that government at the time, I would like to say in all honesty that I regret that he did his best for agriculture under the wrong regime. He had the best of intentions and I believe in him." That being said, Máxiam's parents did not attend her wedding to Willem-Alexander in 2002 to avoid controversy, despite Zorreguieta having been cleared of involvement.

Despite the controversy surrounding their relationship's beginning, Willem-Alexander and Máxima are still happily married and have three daughters — The Princess of Orange, Amalia, Princess Alexia, and Princess Ariane.