Modern Monarchs: Meet the Glamorous Dutch Royals

The couple met at a party in Seville, Spain, and the prince had introduced himself only as Alexander. Maxima, who did not know him, reportedly just laughed when he later told her that he was a prince.

Maxima, a trained economist, worked for Deutsche Bank in New York before tying the knot.

She is an active member of the United Nations Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors, a group whose goal is to halve world poverty by 2015.

Some royal watchers believe the queen is now getting ready to let her son take over.

"Last time I saw her, she looked a little tired, maybe she'd like to enjoy life and have more time for her grandchildren," van der Linden said.

"Everything is being prepared for her to retire. The Royal Palace in Amsterdam, where abdications are signed, is being renovated and Drakensteyn Castle, where the Queen will live when she's retired, is also being tidied up," he said.

The monarchy is very popular in Holland. Each year hundreds of thousands of people flock to the streets on Prinsjesdag to see the queen travel by golden carriage drawn by eight horses from Noordeinde Palace in The Hague to the House of Parliament, where she delivers her annual speech from the throne.

And on April 30 each year the entire country celebrates Koninginnedag (Queen's Day), which is her official birthday, as a national holiday.

Willem-Alexander and Maxima usually accompany the queen on those occasions.

The queen's second son, Prince Friso, gave up his rights to the throne upon marrying Mabel Wisse Smit, a commoner, in 2004. The couple have two children.

Friso's decision to marry Mabel was met with harsh criticism when the Dutch media found out about Mabel's previous relationship with a man who was reportedly involved in drug dealing and contract killings. So when Friso said "I do" he gave up his status as third in line to the throne, behind his older brother, Willem-Alexander, and Willem-Alexander's daughter Catharina-Amalia.

Dutch Royal Assets

Her third son, Prince Constantijn, is married to Princess Laurentien. They have three children. Prince Constantijn rarely attends public events in his capacity as a member of the Dutch Royal House.

For many years, Queen Beatrix used to lead American business magazine Forbes' list of the richest people.

But the magazine has taken her off that list ever since her late father, Prince Bernhard, complained to the editors that the Dutch royal family's assets and wealth were totally overrated.

Prince Bernhard managed to get Forbes to lower the figure to $250 million – a figure now widely believed to be true.

The queen, Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima receive annual allowances from the Dutch government that cover their expenses. The monarch gets about $1.5 million per year, her son and his wife together about $500,000 per year.

The state, however, owns the three royal palaces which the queen is using. It costs about $114 million to keep up those palaces, pay for the staff and provide security for the royal family.

"Queen Beatrix is a full-time Queen," says van der Linden. "She's working seven days a week, 365 days a year and she's the captain of the ship. She likes to have everything under control. Wherever she goes, you see her taking notes in her little black notebook."

Van der Linden points out, "The Dutch Queen and her family are a good example for a modern monarchy. They could be trend-setters for how traditional monarchy is combined with modern day challenges. "

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