Princess Laurentien is married to Prince Constantijn. The couple have three children, Eloise, Claus-Casimir and Leonore.
Petra Laurentien Brinkhorst was born in Leiden on 25 May 1966 to Laurens Jan Brinkhorst and Jantien Brinkhorst-Heringa.
Princess Laurentien received her secondary education in The Hague and later at the Lycée français in Tokyo, Japan, where she passed the Baccalauréat A examinations.
The Princess studied history at Groningen University, completing her foundation year in 1986. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science at Queen Mary College, London University, in 1989. In July 1991 she obtained her Master of Journalism degree at the University of California at Berkeley.
Marriage and family
Princess Laurentien married Prince Constantijn in The Hague on 17 May 2001. The marriage was blessed on 19 May 2001 in the Grote of St Jacobskerk in The Hague.
Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn have three children. Their first daughter, Eloise, was born on 8 June 2002, their son Claus-Casimir on 21 March 2004 and their second daughter, Leonore, on 3 June 2006. The family lives in Brussels.
Besides her official duties as a member of the Royal House, Princess Laurentien's professional activities include being a Fellow of the European Climate Foundation, Special Advisor for Rewilding Europefor the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)and Senior Advisor to the Port of Rotterdam. In 2009 the Princess set up the Missing Chapter Foundation. In the same year she published the first in a series of children's books which centre on a character called Mr Finney and deal with issues such as sustainability and climate change. The second book in the series was published in February 2011, and the third in November 2013.
Since late 2012 Princess Laurentien has been the President of Fauna & Flora International (FFI), a nature conservation organisation focusing on the protection of threatened animal species and ecosystems worldwide. The Princess was first associated with the FFI in 2003, initially as a member of the Executive Committee and then as Vice-President until she was appointed President.
Until 2003 Princess Laurentien worked in international communications, for companies including Weber Shandwick and Edelman PR Worldwide.
Special interests: functional illiteracy
Princess Laurentien has been active in promoting literacy since 2001. Stichting Lezen & Schrijven (the Reading and Writing Foundation) was set up on her initiative in May 2004. The foundation's objective is to prevent and reduce functional illiteracy in the Netherlands and worldwide.
On 24 March 2009 Princess Laurentien was designated UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development. In this capacity, she acts as an advocate for the cause of literacy all over the world. In February 2011 the Princess was appointed Chair of the European Commission's High Level Group of Experts on Literacy. The Group published its Final Report in September 2012, which included recommended actions for a structured European approach to tackling illiteracy.
On 1 January 2014 Princess Laurentien was appointed Honorary Chair of the Reading and Writing Foundation when Maria van Bijsterveldt-Vliegenthart, former Minister of Education, Culture and Science, took over the role of chair. In her new position the Princess remains closely involved with efforts to tackle functional illiteracy, in which she mainly steers the foundation's international activities. These include partnerships with the European Literacy Policy Network (ELINET) and the Public Libraries 2020 programme.
Princess Laurentien holds a number of honorary posts:
- Patron of the Dutch Listening and Braille Library (NLBB)
- Patron of the Dutch language society Genootschap Onze Taal
- Patron of the Centre of Expertise on Disability and Study
- Honorary chair of the Association of Public Libraries
- President of Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
- President of the European Cultural Foundation