Dutch inauguration: What will Princess Maxima wear to usher in her husband's reign?
25 APRIL 2013
It's a challenge that anyone in her place would find both daunting and thrilling. Princess Maxima of the Netherlands has to pick out the perfect outfit for her husband Willem-Alexander's inauguration as King.
Whatever the new Queen wears when the eyes of the world trained are on her tiny adopted country will become an instant icon. Dignified and majestic, it must also convey hope and renewal as the baton passes between the generations.
Argentine-born Maxima has a great sense of occasion but as a "Latin who loves to sing and dance" she's also endowed with a healthy dose of fun too.
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She'll want to inject some of her vivacious personality into the proceedings. Who can forget her topping her glittering champagne-coloured gown with a fedora on Prince's Day, the equivalent of Britain's State Opening of Parliament?
Anything between two and four pieces is required for next week's festivities.
On Monday 29 April, the eve of the investiture, the Dutch royals are holding a gala dinner at the Rijksmuseum, which houses works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. The soiree is for foreign royals and other VIPS and a long evening gown, possibly with tiara and sash, will be needed.
Maxima isn't afraid of colour or texture and Monday's evening gala is probably the time for either. Remember her recent red and chocolate taffeta affair worn at a concert in Amsterdam?
The following day the programme includes Queen Beatrix's abdication ceremony in Amsterdam's Royal Palace, her son's investiture at the 15th-century Nieuwe Kerk followed by a water pageant on the River Ij.
Our guess is that Maxima will don a formal day dress and hat for the abdication, before changing into another floor-sweeper to see her husband sworn in.
The investiture is the main event and the royal is likely to go for white – it reflects that quality which Princess Diana's couturier Catherine Walker liked to call 'the dignified showstopper'.
What about designers? Early on in her public life, the princess often turned to Valentino. Her haute couture wedding dress of ivory Mikado silk, for example, was by the Italian fashion house.
As time has gone on, she's patronised designers closer to home. Belgian label Natan by Edouard Vermeulen provides a lot of her businesswear. A favourite of the Belgian and Luxembourg royals too, he may well be entrusted with an outfit for the day.
For a patriotic choice on such a key occasion she may choose Jan Taminiau. The 37-year-old has been dressing Maxima since June 2009 when he created a suit incorporating the Dutch flag and fashioned from recycled postbags.
Postal references will probably be left to one side on Tuesday. Instead Jan, who operates out of an atelier in the heart of Amsterdam, is likely to focus on his trademark "romantic and nostalgic themes", which were seen in a rose pink gown the Princess selected for another Prince's Day in 2009.
Maxima wouldn't be drawn on her choices in an interview ahead of the investiture. But make no mistake we can expect something breathtakingly regal and feminine perhaps with a little bit of quirk thrown in.