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Maxima, queen of Holland and the scandal at court

This article is published in issue 21 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until 21 May 2024.

It's not just the English royals who have a fictional life: after the success of The Crownthe arrival on Rai 1 is expected next summer series Maximainspired by the life of Máxima Zorreguieta, became queen of Holland after her marriage to Willem-Alexander of Orange. Born in Buenos Aires, educated in Economics and Finance in Argentina and the United States, Zorreguieta met the then prince in 1999 during a trip to Seville and, before learning of her role, she fell madly in love with him her. The couple married in 2002 after many difficulties due to issues of descent and the past of her father, who was involved with the Argentine dictatorial regime in previous years. The couple has three daughters: Catherine Amalia, 20, heir to the throne of the Netherlands, and princesses Alexia, 18, and Ariane, 17.

Based on the book Máxima Zorreguieta: Moederland by Dutch journalist Marcia Luyten, the series was presented last April at Canneseries, is breaking every audience record in Holland, where the sixth and final episode will be broadcast on May 18, and has already been distributed in 25 countries. We talk about it with Delfina Chavesthe Argentine actress who plays the role of Máxima.

When did you start acting?
«I was born in Buenos Aires and raised in Lobos, a small town where my mother is from. She is a very good comedian but she couldn't have a career because my parents divorced when I was little, and she had no one to rely on. So I started taking acting classes with her at nine years old, for fun. Until, for my fifteenth birthday, my father gave me a trip with workshops to Los Angeles, and then I acted in theater and in some television series. At first it seemed easy, but things change. I hated it so
many times this profession only to then fall in love with it again, as happens in a toxic relationship. It's been a journey full of ups and downs, and I definitely never thought I'd be able to act in a series like that Maxima. If I were asked to give advice to those who want to take this path, I would say to inform yourself well and prepare to accept all the rejections that will inevitably arrive. Fame is often romanticized, but it also has a dark side.”

397579 03: (FILE PHOTO) Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander (L), and Argentine fiancee Maxima Zorreguieta (R) pose for an undated portrait. The couple will marry February 2, 2002 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Photo by RVD/Getty Images)Getty Images

What brought you to the casting for Maxima?
«I had known for some time that they were looking for the right actress to play Máxima, and I had the first audition at the end of 2022. I was skeptical, because I don't look much like her, I'm not blonde and I have blue eyes. At that time I was also dealing with some personal problems, and I only had a week to learn a long and complex monologue, partially in Dutch. For the second audition I wore brown contact lenses, and after the third they told me I got the role. I was incredulous. There are many other good actresses in Argentina, and there are many factors that come into play in the final choice. I think knowing English has benefited me.”

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable aspects of playing Máxima?
«It was great to work in so many countries and with people from all over the world. The most difficult thing was acting in two foreign languages, English and Dutch. It was a great challenge, but I enjoyed it. And it's hard being so far from home. Coming back after a day of filming and finding dinner prepared by your family is different from eating eggs and tomato alone, but it also helps you grow on a human level.”

What do you think of Máxima's choice? Being queen is a privilege but it can also become an enormous burden.
«I have never met her and I prefer to avoid expressing personal opinions, because I believe it is not up to me. I can say that she had to sacrifice a lot, learn a language quickly and answer dozens of journalists who also bombarded her with difficult questions about her family, and she did it with great politeness. I admire her very much for this. A woman who had the courage to go to New York alone in the 1990s, work like crazy and have a career on Wall Street deserves respect. I don't know anything about her on a personal level, but I just need to look at her to realize how much she knows how to shine, love her daughters and be full of life.”

The series talks about the involvement of Máxima's father, Jorge Zorreguieta, as minister and secretary of Agriculture (1979-1981) serving General Jorge Rafael Videla during the last civil-military dictatorship in Argentina, in the period in which around 30 thousand people were killed or disappeared. For the same reason, the father was not allowed to attend Máxima and Willem-Alexander's wedding. Were you aware of the events before playing the role and, as an Argentinian citizen, what do you think of how the topic is addressed today?
«To be honest, before I got the role of Máxima I only knew that she was the Queen of Holland. I am lucky enough to come from a family where dictatorship has always been talked about. For my father it was fundamental that we knew what had happened, realizing how well it had gone for us because we were not affected like many other families who lost their children. It is important that everyone in Argentina and around the world knows what happened and that we continue to talk about it, to prevent these events from happening again. I have infinite respect for Máxima's story and I don't know what she felt when she had to face her father and her past, but I imagine it was very difficult.”

Maxima Queen of Holland and the scandal at court

Do you think monarchies belong to the past or still have value in today's society? The Dutch one is more informal than the English one, but according to recent statistics it seems to be losing favor with the population.
«I respect the Dutch a lot and I wanted to listen to both bells to get to the bottom of the matter. Those in favor say that the monarchy is necessary to guarantee a certain balance and avoid polarization between the right and the left, while those against think it is a condition of privilege that is not suited to our times. I didn't grow up in a country with a monarchy, and it seems like a concept that's really far from my reality.”

What would you do if she happened to meet a prince and fall in love with him? Would she be willing to leave everything to follow him and become queen?
«It is difficult to answer without having lived the same experience and felt such a profound feeling firsthand. At the moment, I really don't think I would. I love my profession and my freedom too much, including that of speech.”

You and Martijn Lakemeier, the actor who plays Willem-Alexander, fell in love on set. How did it happen? Do you think a long-distance relationship could work?
«We got along well right from the start of filming, which lasted a long time. Martijn is a fantastic actor and scene partner, but we were too busy with work. After we finished shooting, we really got to know each other and it all happened naturally. We fell in love at the same time. He is funny, sensitive and not afraid to show it. We are happy and I'm not scared of being away from him. I had a relationship with someone who lived in the same city as me and it didn't work out. Distance is not always decisive.”

What plans do you have for the future?
«Filming the second season of Maxima they will begin in the fall. In Latin America they recently started broadcasting another series in which I am the protagonist on HBO Max, Six Is Not a Crowd, which should also air soon in Europe. This year I will be busy mainly with the promotion of Maxima around the world. Afterwards, I would like to continue playing interesting female characters, as we women are often offered decidedly mediocre scripts. For example, I love Sandra Hüller. I am obsessed with the way she acts and I have re-watched her scenes many times to discover the tricks of the trade.”

Maxima queen of Holland and the scandal at court
Martijn van Gelder

photo: Jasper Suyk

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Source: Vanity Fair

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