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Máxima Zorreguieta

The Princess of Orange (Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti) (born May 17, 1971 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) is the wife of Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, heir to the Dutch throne. They married on February 2, 2002 in Amsterdam. A former investment banker, she is a daughter of Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta Stefanini and his second wife, Maria del Carmen Cerruti Carricart.

The news of the couple's relationship and eventual marriage plans caused a great deal of controversy in the Netherlands. Máxima father's was the former (civilian) minister of agriculture in the Videla regime, a brutal military dictatorship which ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1981 and which was responsible for many atrocities against civilians. (An estimated 10,000-30,000 people disappeared during this and subsequent military regimes before democracy was restored to Argentina in 1976). The significance of his potential connection to the Dutch royal family, and his possible presence at a royal wedding was hotly debated for several months.

Prime Minister Wim Kok gained much respect for his negotiation of the situation. In the end, approval for the marriage was granted by the Dutch parliament (necessary by law for Willem-Alexander to remain heir to the throne) but Máxima's father was not allowed to be present at the wedding.

Maxima was granted Dutch nationality on May 17, 2001. This provoked complaints from the left, since such a grant before marriage is not customary in the Netherlands (but required by Dutch law for a royal bride). Under normal circumstances, it is only possible after the marriage and usually takes several years to obtain.

On June 18, 2003, the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (National Bureau for Government Information) announced that Princess Maxima is pregnant. The first child of the couple was born December 7, 2003, at 17.01 h in The Hague. The baby girl, Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria, is second in line to the Dutch throne.