She was Kate Middleton before Kate Middleton was even out of college.

Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti became queen of the Netherlands this morning upon the coronation of her husband King Willem-Alexander of Orange in Amsterdam, but when she wed the then-prince and heir to the Dutch throne in 2002, she was the original cool commoner princess.

The Argentinian businesswoman and daughter of former Argentinian politician Jorge Zorreguieta met the prince in April 1999 in Seville while Máxima was working for the British investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort as vice president for emerging markets.

Queen Maxima close up
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Maxima, leave Nieuwe Kerk church after the religious crowning ceremony in Amsterdam this morning. Reuters/Dylan Martinez
King Willem and Queen Maxima
Dutch King Willem-Alexander with his wife Queen Maxima at his coronation in Amsterdam today, which in Netherlands is Queen's Day, marking the abdication of Willem-Alexander's mother Queen Beatrix and the investiture of her eldest son. Reuters/Peter Dejong/Pool

Like a plot point in an opera, Willem reportedly did not tell her he was a prince at first, and she didn't believe him when he later did. Their relationship went on for two years before Willem proposed. After her engagement to Willem was announced in 2001, Máxima was granted dual Dutch-Argentinian citizenship.

Queen Maxima in 2003
Maxima in January 2003, before a state banquet in the palace Noordeinde, The Hague, The Netherlands. Reuters/Paul Vreeker
Queen Maxima in a carriage
Princess Maxima arrives at Palace Noordeinde in a horse-drawn carriage after Queen Beatrix (unseen) officially opened the new parliamentary year with a speech outlining the caretaker government's plan and budget policies for 2013, at The Hague September 18, 2012. Reuters/Paul Vreeker/United Photos

If Máxima, 41, carries herself with a regal air, it might be because she is distantly descended from King Afonso III of Portugal, who reigned from 1248 to 1279, and various other Portuguese royalty through her father, who served in the Argentinian government under General Jorge Videla, the currently imprisoned former dictator of Argentina.

Princess Maxima wedding dress
Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander (in uniform) poses with Princess Maxima Zorreguieta for their official wedding portrait in Amsterdam, February 2, 2002. Some 1,750 guests attended the wedding of the eldest son of the Netherlands Queen Beatrix. Reuters
Queen Maxima with her daughters
Princess Amalia (left) of the Netherlands kisses her mother while her sisters Ariane (second from right) and Alexia pose for the annual summer photocall in Wassenaar July 7, 2012. Reuters/Michael Kooren

Máxima’s lateral affiliation with Videla was a point of some contention when her relationship with Willem was first publicized. When her engagement to the then-crown prince was announced in 2001, the Dutch Parliament ordered an investigation into her father’s political dealings. Research later confirmed that Zorreguieta, while aware of the Dirty War against the left-wing political groups during his tenure as agriculture minister, was not involved with the deaths of political opponents during that period. Even so, Máxima’s parents did not attend her February 2002 wedding.

Dutch royal family at the Olympics
Prince Willem-Alexander (r.) of the Netherlands, his wife Princess Maxima (l.) and daughter Princess Amalia cheer on the Dutch team after they beat India in their men's Group B hockey match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Riverbank Arena on the Olympic Park in London July 30, 2012. Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
Queen Maxima at a showcase
Maxima speaks to a student during her visit to the Shell Technology Center in Amsterdam October 4, 2012. Reuters/Koen van Weel/Pool

Máxima’s official full title now is Her Majesty Queen Máxima, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Mrs. Van Amsberg. Her oldest daughter, 9-year-old Princess Catharina-Amalia of Orange, is now the heir apparent to the Dutch throne.

Prince Willem, Queen Beatrix, Princess Maxima of the Netherlands
Princess Beatrix of Netherlands (center), her son, Dutch King Willem-Alexander, and his wife, Queen Maxima, wave to the crowd from the balcony of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam April 30, 2013. Reuters/Paul Vreeker
Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima
She wouldn't be royal without a silly hat! Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima arrive for the religious wedding service of Luxembourg's Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Stephanie de Lannoy at the Cathedral Notre Dame in Luxembourg October 20, 2012. Reuters/Francois Lenoir
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in red
Maxima leaves the Royal Palace in Amsterdam April 29, 2013, the evening before her husband's crowning ceremony. Reuters/Laurent Dubrule
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands skiing
Maxima skis with her daughter Princess Ariane in the Austrian alpine ski resort of Lech am Arlberg February 18, 2013. Reuters/Miro Kuzmanovic
Queen Maxima making a funny face
Maxima makes funny faces at her daughters in the gardens of de Horsten in Wassenaar July 5, 2010. Reuters/Robin van Lonkhuijsen/United Photos

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