What a year for Argentina!
On 28th January, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced that she would abdicate on 30th April, to be succeeded by her son Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, the beautiful and vivacious Argentine Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti.
On 11th February, Pope Benedict announced his abdication, taking effect on 28th February. His successor has just been elected: Argentine Jorge-Mario Bergoglio.
Well played, Argentina.
Well played, Argentina. In a single year, you have got the world’s first Latin American pope and will have Europe’s first Latin American queen. Well played indeed.
Both Argentines were born in Buenos Aires, the pope on 17th December 1936 and the princess on 17th May 1971. Both are Catholics. (Say what? The pope is Catholic!?). Both are already well-loved and by their people and are committed to helping the poor. Pope Francis’ concern for the “least of these” is already well-known but Princess Maxima has worked extensively with the UN on micro-finance in developing countries.
And both are coming to “power” in 2013 after shock abdications from German (or kinda German) heads of state, Pope Benedict and Queen Beatrix. (Although Dutch, Queen Beatrix’s ancestry is pretty much all German. Back in the day, royals had to marry royals and Germany had a ton of royals to go around. Pretty much every European royal family is actually German.)
There are also some differences, though.
While Pope Francis is quite shy, humble, and even a little austere (so much so that the slander against him was that he never smiled), Princess Maxima is the definition of vivacious. She smiles all the time. Seriously, my face hurts from me smiling at all the pictures of her smiling. (You have no idea of the pain I go through to bring the prettiest pictures.)
And while Pope Francis seems to eschew the trappings of his office, Princess Maxima has a tendency to be fab-u-lous, and load on those crown jewels like Sothebys is about to auction them off.
But most importantly, both seem to determine to remain themselves always, not to conform to anyone’s expectation of what a dour Dutch princess or pompous Roman pontiff should be.
That is the real source of their charm and their tremendous popularity. That and looking fantastic in white…
Well done, Argentina. And thank you.
You definitely won round 2013.