Following the death of Queen Maxima’s father, Jorge Zorreguieta, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands arrived in Buenos Aires this morning to join his wife and attend his father in law’s funeral today.
The Queen’s father passed away at 89 years old following a battle with cancer on August 8 at the Fundaleu Clinic in Recoleta. His daughter Maxima, who was born in Argentina, arrived in the country on Saturday to be by her side.
Jorge Zorreguieta and the Dutch crown weren’t in the best of terms and had somewhat of a turbulent relationship despite his daughter’s marriage to the king due to his past as a Cabinet member of the de facto dictatorship, in which he served as minister of Agriculture between 1979 and 1981.
Such a role placed him at odds not just with the Dutch government but with the Dutch press and parliament. The Netherlands prides itself as being a liberal multicultural country, with its ascended to the throne in 2013 in a secular ceremony, a reflection of the mood and position of the modern Dutch State. It was also a ceremony that Jorge Zorreguieta was not invited to.
Maxima first met Willem in Seville in 1999 and the two became engaged in 2001. The love affair, however, was not without controversy. Prior to the Royal Wedding in 2002, Dutch PM Wim Kok approved a parliamentary investigation into Zorreguieta’s role in the military junta that saw tens of thousands of Argentines disappear. Zorreguieta himself has always claimed his innocence stating that he had no knowledge of the vast array of crimes committed by the military dictatorship. However, the Dutch Parliament begged to differ with the verdict concluding that it was ‘unthinkable’ that Zorreguieta could have been kept in the dark.
As a result he was barred from attending the Royal Wedding in 2002. This gifted Maxima an opportunity as she was able to turn to her father’s absence into a public relations masterpiece. The Royal Couple danced to the famous tango piece ‘Adios Nonino’, a tribute to her absent father.
Though Zorreguieta was allowed to enter the Netherlands to attend the baptism of one of his’ granddaughters Princess Cathalina Amalia in 2007, he remained a semi Persona Non Grata in the Netherlands.
Zorreguieta’s maintained his innocence up until his death.