Argentina! The Pope and the Princess

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.


Princess Maxima, Prince Willem-Alexander and Queen Beatrix on the balcony of Noordeinde Palace, 2012

On 11th February, Pope Benedict announced his abdication, taking effect on 28th February. His successor has just been elected: Argentine Jorge-Mario Bergoglio.

Pope Francis on the balcony of St Peter's, 2013

Pope Francis on the balcony of St Peter’s, 2013

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.)

Princess Maxima in Franeker, Netherlandsm in 2008.

Princess Maxima in Franeker, Netherlandsm in 2008.

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.

Princess Máxima in Luxembourg

Princess Máxima in Luxembourg in 2012

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…

Pope Francis, 2013

Pope Francis, 2013

Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander, 2002

Princess Maxima and Prince Willem-Alexander, 2002

Well done, Argentina. And thank you.

You definitely won round 2013.


6 responses to “Argentina! The Pope and the Princess

  1. Just a little correction. Maxima had to publicly renounce to her Catholic faith in order to marry the prince of Holland. There are still laws in the country against having a Catholic queen.

    • Hey Silvina, Maxima didn’t renounce her Catholic faith. She may have agreed to raise her children in the Dutch national church but that’s as far as it went I think. Or do you have any sources to the contrary? Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Laura

  2. Hi Silvina, The Europe’s first Latin American queen was Maria II of Portugal, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and was queen of Portugal in 1834 until 1853.

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