Royal Round Up: Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander visit USA

Royal Round Up: Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander visit USA

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima made an official visit to the US from June 1-3, though they arrived in the US on May 31. They had a busy three days in Washington, D.C., Michigan, and Chicago.

Day 0 – Sunday, May 31

Maxima and Willem-Alexander arrive in US

Willem-Alexander and Maxima arrived in the US and went to Ambassador Bekink‘s official residence for a dinner with policy leaders and think tankers where the discussion was about security and economics. Maxima wore a Natan cream shirt and pants, with a giant black spider brooch on her shoulder. I hate spiders. Max wore spider brooches before back in February. I don’t know why she loves spider brooches so much.

Because I know you guys love reading the menu: First course of chilled beets with pickled radish, goat cheese, and orange; second course of polenta cake with roasted red pepper coulis and summer vegetables; third course of Meyer lemon chess pie with toasted meringue and summer berries. Oddly it was an all vegetarian menu.

Day 1 – Monday, June 1

Maxima and Willem-Alexander started their day at the Arlington National Cemetery where they laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier (there are actually a lot of unknown soldier’s graves at Arlington). They then met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office in the White House. The King mentioned the whether conditions in Texas and Oklahoma, the death of Vice President Biden’s son, and thanked the US for their help during WWII (you can read full transcript of the meeting here). The royal couple took part in a roundtable discussion on sustainable development and best practices of the Caribbean ‘small islands’ at World Bank. They then visited the US National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) for a ‘Global City Team Challenge’ event to launch the ‘Global Smart City Coalition’.

Maxima wore a white and black dress with black turban and heels. She wore pearl and diamond earrings and brooch, and a pearl necklace. She looks really beautiful here.

Later in the day, the royal couple also met congressional leaders. Max changed into a yellow and tan outfit.

Maxima and Willem-Alexander at congress

Day 2 – Tuesday, June 2

Maxima and Willem-Alexander plant a tree

On June 2, The King and Queen moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where they planted a sugar maple tree in the volunteer garden of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in honor of volunteers. The King also gave a speech, saying in part (full transcript here): “The history of Dutch emigration to North America spans more than four centuries. Our presence here goes back further than that of most other European nations. Here in Michigan, Dutch settlers only arrived in big numbers after 1840. […] Michigan is the only place on Earth where you can drive between Holland, Zeeland, Friesland and Drenthe in less than an hour. That’s right: even in the Netherlands you can’t do that!”

Maxima and Willem-Alexander at Helen DeVos Childrens Hospital

The royal couple also visited the Helen DeVos Childrens Hospital and the Van Andel Research Institute before departing for Chicago. They visited the Chicago Cultural Center for a business dinner reception where the King gave a speech, saying in part (full transcript here): “Our relationship goes far beyond agriculture, of course. Around 850 Dutch companies from many sectors are active in the United States. And twice as many American companies have branches in the Netherlands, making the US our largest foreign investor. I see that as a sign of your confidence in the Netherlands, not only as a natural gateway to Europe but also as an inspiring place to do business.”

The King and Queen ended the day by a visit to the School of House music because apparently they are huge fans of EDM.

In Michigan, Max wore an orange peplum top and tan skirt. She changed into a Jan Taminiau green dress with a giant bow from the Image Tranquille collection for Chicago.

Maxima and Willem-Alexander at Chicago Cultural Center

Jan Taminiau Image Tranquille collection

Day 3 – Wednesday, June 3

Maxima and Willem-Alexander at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Willem-Alexander and Maxima visited the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where they spoke with patients who can move again with the help of advanced technologies and prostheses. The couple also toured the Gotham Greens Rooftop Greenhouse. Maxima wore a cream outfit with what looks like snake skin heels. She looks really nice here, too.

Maxima and Willem-Alexander at Gotham Greens Rooftop Greenhouse

Photos: Getty / Netherlands US Embassy Facebook / Koninklijk Huis Twitter

35 thoughts on “Royal Round Up: Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander visit USA

  1. I’m sure there was far more to do and see in Washington, Chicago and wherever.
    Maxima, as always, looked great. She is one woman who is always on top of her game.
    The photo in the White House did not seem very warm and fuzzy.

    1. I think they were listening to one of the press people say something in that moment since they are all looking over at the press pack. Maybe that’s why they don’t look warm and fuzzy?

      1. Could be. Those photo sessions seem so awkward most of the time.
        Horrible situation for everyone to be in.

  2. Oh, that wallpaper at the White House. I mentioned it once before. It is just horrible!

    Maxima is, indeed, a winner. She always seems so calm, cool, collected and confident, without appearing to be conceited in any way.

    Interesting to note the vegetarian menu. Maybe, that’s her secret to looking so great at all times.

    1. The wallpaper looks like oatmeal was splattered on the wall and it dried there.

        1. Note to the next American President, whomever he/she may be:

          Consider using EXTREME MAKEOVER: WHITE HOUSE EDITION for the Oval Office and Beyond.

    2. It was interesting that the menu was vegetarian. I’ve often wondered about the food on these types of visits, does the host country find out beforehand what their guests like and don’t like, or what foods they don’t eat? Or do they serve what they think their guests will enjoy? I would imagine dining on rich, wonderfully prepared food for days on end would be difficult on one’s digestive system especially with all the traveling, time changes, jet lag, etc… I have a sensitive digestive system so questions and thoughts along this line can keep me up at night 🙂

      1. I don’t know how they decide the menu at these types of things, because I remember when the French pres did a state visit to the US last year the articles all said the menu was food from around the US. Like fish from Washington state, mac and cheese, etc. All very “american” dishes. So I don’t know if they would have run that by the French Pres or not.

        1. I saw in one documentary about the Queen’s visit to the US (or was it Obama’s visit to the UK?) that the preparing committee usually consults with the guests’s assistants or organizers before deciding on the menu. This prevents them from serving something that the guest is allergic to and accidentally killing them. I think it was during the Reagan’s time when the Queen visited US? The First Lady apparently took great care in finalizing the menu herself.

          In reply to Lauri from Ca, they don’t actually eat much during these dinners. They just take little bites and chat. I recall Diana saying that in an interview when she was talking about her eating disorder.

  3. PW, take note: The King knew what to talk about when visiting the American President. The fact that he knew and was concerned about the horrible flooding in Texas, OK, and other states, as well as his sympathy for the VP on the loss of his son, Beau, shows him to be someone who studies up on the countries he visits and the people and their immediate concerns.

    Spare me, but what did William talk about? I know it had something to do with the birth of PG, but wasn’t he just clueless then?

    1. William talked about how the birth of George was so frantic for him that he totally forgot to ask what the sex of the baby was. Because the President was just dying to know that, I’m sure.

      1. Oh, that’s right. Thanks for the reminder. Clueless!!!!

        Maybe, not much was happening in the US when PW was here, so that’s why he had so little to discuss.

  4. Thanks for the great post KMR!! I’ve been watching their Majesties visit on DM, wishing I lived closer so I could have seen them in person. Being of Dutch decent and born and raised in Michigan I so wish I could have made the trip to see them.

    I generally don’t like the turban style head pieces that Max wears, but the black one she wore on day 1 was the best I’ve seen her wear. Wow, that yellow skirt is sure bright!! Imo, most people would look pretty silly wearing such a bright color but Max can certainly pull it off. Being a fairly simple dresser myself I am always amazed and intrigued by women that can really rock that large, chunky jewelry and big, bright colors. In Max’s case I feel that her style of dress is really representative of her expansive and warm personality, she wears these styles they never wear her. In contrast, Mathilde wears similar styles and colors but to me she isn’t as comfortable in them as Max is.

    I watched a little video on DM about their visit to the Chicago rehab facility and it was great to hear her voice. I think it’s impressive that so many European royals speak multiple languages, QE and the DoE also speak French so I wonder why the younger generations don’t speak several languages?

    Now I’m not trying to take away from this excellent post but I found a little video that I wanted to share on DM about QE’s visit to the WI to celebrate their centennial. She was accompanied by Anne and Sophie and their interactions were sweet to watch, it looked like they were really enjoying each other’s company.

    1. I think Max looks great in yellow, but she is one of the few women to really pull of that color – especially as a blonde.

      I’m planning on covering the Sophie with the Queen stuff this weekend. I watched the live feed and saw a video of HM cutting the cake afterward. They were all very cute with each other.

      Why don’t the younger British royals speak any foreign languages? Because they think they don’t need to? A lot of American’s don’t speak any foreign languages because most of the world speaks English, so American’s don’t think they need to learn another language. Maybe the younger royals feel that way as well. I would be surprised, though, if Kate did not have to take at least some foreign language in university. At my university, everyone was required two semesters of foreign language, and the social sciences required two more semesters (so four total). Kate majored in art history, so at my uni she would have had to take at least four semesters of foreign language. I don’t know the requirements at St Andrew’s but I would be surprised if she didn’t have to take any foreign language. Same for William actually with geography – because that counts as a social science.

      1. I agree KMR, American’s seem to feel that the world revolves around us so why bother learning how to communicate with other peoples. I studied French in high school being close to Canada, French was spoken more often as a second language rather than Spanish. However, since moving to California I haven’t spoken it in about 20 years so it’s more than a little rusty :).

        I just think that a future King and Queen should be required to be fluent in at least a couple different languages. Maybe that can be put in the job description lol oh and knowing how to weight a hem 🙂

        1. I took some Spanish in HS, but have forgotten most of it. I took Greek and Latin in university.

          Do you know if Obama speaks other languages? I wonder if the US President has a language requirement.

          1. The US presidency has no language requirement. You only have to be over 35, be a natural born U.S. citizen (born somewhere in US territory, including overseas military bases/embassies) and have resided in the US for the last 14 years. A number of 18th and 19th century Presidents were proficient in Latin and Greek, as a strong classical education was important then. Martin Van Buren was a native Dutch speaker and learned English as a second language b/c he was born in the lower Hudson Valley where the Dutch still had strong influence. Theodore Roosevelt and his cousin F.D.R. spoke French and German (albeit with grammatical imperfections and strong non-rhetoric accents). James Garfield not only taught Latin and Greek but could write one proficiently in one hand and translate it to the other language in the other. Woodrow Wilson had to learn German for his history Ph.D. requirement but never was able to master it. Most post World War II Presidents have not spoken a foreign language. Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush speak fractured, broken Spanish (Bush inserts English words throughout his Spanish–go figure). Bill Clinton claims to be able to speak fluent German but it’s really more broken German than anything. The President has an very basic, rudimentary understanding of Indonesian from his years in Indonesia. But b/c of the two oceans between us and most of the world, the universal understanding of English and the belief of American superiority especially when it comes to language, the rest of the Presidents have had to do with translators. I have a basic Spanish vocabulary, understand a smattering of Italian words and a smattering of Latin phrases.

        2. English is the linga franca of the modern world and I guess the need for speaking other languages doesn’t feel as important when most people can speak english. The French are a bit unique in this matter because they are so fierce proud and protective of their language. Though I have note that the younger generation like to try out their english. i made it a bit difficult for me to try out my French last time I visited Paris because when they found out I was foreign they wanted to speak english.

          When you come from a small language group (like Danish, Swedish and Dutch), it is impertative to learn at least one, preferably two foreign languages. I had English, germ and French in primary school and continued with it in high school. However, Danes, Swedes and Norwegian are fortunate that the 3 languages are so similar that it is fairly easy to communicate.

          1. Europe is so compact compared to the US, it’s very necessary to learn multiple languages. Most people in the US tend to learn Spanish or French, if any language at all. Since less than a third attend university, very few continue language studies beyond basic vocabulary at grade school level. And even descendants (based on my personal family experience) of immigrants tend to have a strong nativist streak “My great-grandparents had to learn English when they came here G–d—-, why can’t “they”?” Of course it’s over 3,300 miles across the continental United States. Most of western Europe is less than a third of that distance. You can be in areas that speak Gaelic, Welsh, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian or German in only two or three hours by plane or train. In the United States you can go for weeks without encountering someone who’s not a native English speaker unless you make the effort.

  5. Lauri, I am sure you are so very proud of Max and her King. And, for them to visit the State where you are originally from, must have extra special meaning.

    Thank you for the link to the Daily Mail story. I loved it! HM is just magnificent. Long may she reign. She obviously has a warm and loving relationship with her daughter and Sophie. They were just great together. And, how proud HM must be of how far women have come in her lifetime and since she became Queen, too.

    I loved the story of the darling little girl, Evie, who was supposed to present flowers to the Royal Ladies and was too in awe to actually do so. Princess Anne handled that situation beautifully.
    As the mother of two little girls, I can just imagine how badly little Evie’s Mum and Grandmother must have felt. How concerned they must have been for the little one, too. That’s why PA’s response to the situation was so perfect.

    A lovely time was apparently had by all! HM was smiling so much. She was in her glory!

  6. This has nothing to do with the Dutch royal visit, though I think “thanking” the USA for helping in Second World War, 70 years ago, is a bit much. Actually it’s been announced that Queen Elizabeth II has knighted Prince Harry a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, which shows a significance to me. The Royal Victorian Order is rewarded for personal service to the monarch and is a mark of who’s “in” and who isn’t. Princess Anne and Sophie received the damehoods far before their spouses did and it took Camilla 7 years of dedicated service for the Queen to bestow it on her. Who doesn’t have it… Willy or Waity. Why?

    1. I was wondering if he would receive one from HM or if she’d leave it so Charles could. I’ve read on numerous occasions of Harry being nervous over her approval, after tours and most recently the Chelsea Garden show. Harry’s done more for the monarchy than any of the other young royals and has he’s been purposeful in finding his own role and contribution in recent years. He could have just had a military career, like others, and moved on but he found ways to help and advocate for servicemen and women. I think his tour in 2012 really was a wake up call – interview with Seth Doane

      Harry seems to respect and care for HM as a granny but also as Queen. It comes across in his interviews, recently the Q&A with the children in NZ. The interview with Katie Couric also comes to mind .

      William usually comes across as bowing his head to HM because it’s protocol and nothing else, we’ve seen Kate walk in front of HM, not curtsy or do so late because she had forgotten. If William cared Kate would at the very least try to appear so. Harry also appears to have a genuine warmth with HM –

    2. William belongs to the Order of the Garter (Harry Potter outfits)and the Order of the Thistle. I believe both rank higher than the Royal Victorian, which has just been bestowed upon Harry.

      1. He does but they are different awards. The Royal Victorian Order may rank lower in precedence but it carries more cache in royal circles as it is for personal service to the monarch, whereas the Orders of the Garter and Thistle are seen as slightly more political. Charles has never received the Royal Victorian Order. His other three siblings, who are closer and more affectionate with the Queen, are Grand Cross, the highest award; the Princess Royal received hers in 1974 and has been the Grand Master since 2007. In royalty circles, there is no higher esteem.

  7. Grand Rapids is my town, and they were just minutes away from my house. Of course, I would have to be out of town this week. Alas! Thanks for the post, though, KMR–I’ve been really looking forward to this coverage.

    It’s great to see one of my two favorite royal couples making such a good impression and hitting all the right notes. I’m glad they had a chance to highlight the partnerships between the Netherlands and the United States, as well as the Dutch heritage. It’s often overlooked outside the region, but it’s very strong here, and it influences our character: hardworking, straightforward, and, well, cautious with our money!

    On another note, the Van Andel Research Institute is making great strides in its efforts, and the DeVos Hospital is known for excellent care. And if anyone is in the area, definitely check out the Meijer Gardens! There’s so much there to see that I know Willem-Alexander and Maxima were only able to catch the highlights.

  8. Maxima!!!
    The Dutch struck the payload with her. By far my favorite consort/married in; even if she wears the most bizarre things, her charm, warmth and intelligence shines through.

  9. Thanks for this great post. Maxima just radiates and looks great, especially at the White House. Is it just me or did this Royal pair knock out more appearances in 3 days than Willy and Waity do in 6 months?

  10. Thank you KMR. I like seeing Maxima’s enthusiasm for the people and activities that she partakes in. Maxima is elegantly dressed as always.
    Clarence House once said I believe that William obtained a Grade A in GCSE Spanish which might explain why he went to Chile for his gap year.
    Could I ask please as is The Hague the capital of Holland or is it Amsterdam?

    1. Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, while The Hague is the seat of government of the Netherlands.

  11. Thank you KMR. From various sources I became confused so having an expert opinion has helped. I forgot to add the one thing I know about Diana was that she spoke French well as she wasn’t that academic. That and her love of swimming and tennis.

    1. Happy to help, Laura. Diana also loved dancing. Wasn’t she trained as a dancer at one point?

  12. I believe so. I had to look it up. Belonging to William and Harry’s generation it is interesting finding out about their mother. Maybe that would explain the reasons behind choosing those particular patronages. I heard William wants to restore Diana’s HRH when he becomes King. Though giving his daughter her name is an honour and I am pleased it was accepted by HM.

  13. Hi, Folks! I am curious: would you say the dutch King and Queen were crotch clutching a bit during this visit? Based on the photos in this post?


    1. There is a fine line between normal “I’m clasping my hands together in front of my body” and “crotch clutching”. It’s perfectly normal to clasp one’s hands together in front of the body. It’s not normal to keep one hand on the abdomen/crotch when moving the other hand (the none moving hand usually just falls to the side); it is also not normal to walk with one’s hands pressed to the abdomen/crotch the way Kate does. Considering Max and W-A were standing with their hands clasped, and they did not do it in every photo, I would say what they did was normal “I’m clasping my hands in front of my body to rest them here while I’m standing still” and not “crotch clutching”. Kate not only clasps her hands when she is standing, she clasps them when she is walking, and randomly leaves one hand pressed against her crotch while moving the other hand to put her hair behind her ears. When hand clasping becomes excessive the way Kate has made it, then it crosses the line to crotch clutching.

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