Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The colourful queen

Maxima of the Netherlands at the start of the exhibition 'The Colourful Queen'

Who else would you expect to see at an exhibition called 'The Colourful Queen'? But while Maxima of the Netherlands is a vibrant figure on the royal scene, the title of the show she attended today didn't refer to her. The queen consort of the Netherlands was opening an event all about a woman who held the same role two centuries ago and left a mark all of her own.

 Queen Maxima travelled to Het Loo Palace in Appledorn to inaugurate an exhibition all about Anna Pavlovna, the Russian royal who married the heir to the throne of the Netherlands in 1816.  Anna was a feisty character who made a big impression on the Dutch court when she arrived there as a young bride and even more of one when her husband became King William II in 1840.  She deserves the title colourful.

Maxima was given a sneak preview of the exhibition, which opens to the public on October 6th 2016, and which includes portraits of the woman who was queen consort of the Netherlands for just under nine years until her husband did something rather rare in recent Dutch royal history - he died before he could abdicate the throne. Anna's son became King William III but the queen remained just as colourful as a dowager as she had been as a consort and was said to be planning a return to Russia before she herself died in 1865.

As well as the portraits, Maxima was shown some personal belongings of Queen Anna which have never been displayed before as well as getting an overview of her predecessor's story which began at the Russian Imperial Court and ended at the Dutch Royal Court. A meeting of two colourful queens who lived 200 years apart but who have both made their mark on their country's royal house.

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