Europe has new Queen Consorts, both young, vibrant, highly cultured and glamorous, whose sudden ascent to fame as Their Majesties is attributed to the abdication of their respective parent-in-law.
Queen Maxima is the wife of the current Dutch monarch, King Wilhelm-Alexander. She is an Argentinian by birth and had worked as an investment banker at Deutsche Bank in New York before she met the then Prince of Orange. Maxima is known for his gorgeous fashion style and taste. Her choice of wardrobe consistently put her on top of the list of the most glamorous female royals in Europe.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
Queen Maxima with husband, King Wilhelm-Alexander of the Netherlands
Her journey from the corporate world to the Dutch royal court was not an easy one. Her relationship with the future King was met with protest and disapproval from the parliament due to the rumoured involvement of her father, Jorge Zorreguieta, to the atrocities that happened in Argentina during the regime of President Jorge Videla. Maxima's father worked as a cabinet secretary of agriculture during the regime. Through series of investigation, it was revealed however that Zorreguieta was innocent with the accusation.
The future King and Queen tied the knot on February 2, 2002 in Amsterdam without Maxima's father. The couple have three daughters, Catharina-Amalia, Hereditary Princess of Orange, Princess Alexia and Princess Arriane. Upon her husband ascension to the throne in April 2013, Maxima became the first Dutch Queen Consort in more than 100 years since Queen Emma in 1890.
Queen Maxima currently serves as Secretary General on Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development in the United Nations. Despite being married to a protestant King, Maxima remained a Roman Catholic. Through her father, Maxima has five line of descent from King Alfonso XIII of Portugal.
Queen Mathilde is the only current Queen Consort in Europe that has a noble ancestry. She descended from the long list of Lords, Barons and Counts and her father is a titled Count. She has a Princess as a grandmother on her mother's side.
The 41-year-old Queen Consort is known with her very professional approach to the media, with finesse and proper etiquette, she never generated controversy and her attitude towards the public has been touted as always formal and warm.
Queen Mathilde and King Philippe of Belgium
Queen Mathilde has a master's degree in psychology and before her marriage to Prince Philippe in 1999, she worked as a speech therapist. Their Majesties have four children together: Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant and the heir-apparent, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eleonore.
With the abdication of King Juan Carlos last June 2, 2014, Europe loses the only Queen Consort in modern times who was royal by birth. Queen Sophia is the last true-blooded Princess to marry into the present-day European royal court, she is a former Greek princess, eldest daughter of King Paul of Greece and niece of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (husband of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain).
The reigning Spanish King, Felipe VI, only son of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia, married a commoner with no aristocratic background, Letezia Ortiz Rocasolano, a former TV news anchor. Just like in the Netherlands, Felipe's relationship to Letezia also generated controversies. Before she met the future Spanish King, Letezia was already divorced from her first husband, a situation found by many as slightly uneventful and inappropriate for a wife of a future King. Nonetheless, King Juan Carlos gave his permission and the marriage proceeded without opposition on May 22, 2004.
King Felipe VI and Queen Letezia of Spain
Queen Letezia is the first Queen Consort of Spain who is a commoner. But through out the years that she assumed the title of Princess of Asturias, she projected an image and reputation of a highly dignified woman with a strong sense of character, duty and refinement, thus earning respect and admiration from the public. She and King Felipe have two daughters: Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia.