Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Royal Visitor: Princess Laurentien

The life of the Beijing expat is such that while one day you might be exploring a typical Chinese hutong, the other day you find yourself in a room with the Dutch Princess Laurentien reading you a chapter of her book.

Wow. So this was my week--and I am not even talking about my friend Meike's visit, my birthday "cook-out" in a Beijing hutong, or our visit to Mao Zedong's mausoleum. That's all for another day.

Princess Laurentien, who is married to Prince Constantijn, was in town for the Beijing International Book Fair, for which The Netherlands was this year's Country of Honor.

In the busy, royal schedule, some room was kept for visiting Simon and Thomas' school, the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB). The Princess read--first in Dutch for the students of the Dutch Program, then in English for all students--from her book, Mr. Finney. It's a story about a fish-like creature who goes out of his comfort zone to ask questions about the world and what is happening to the planet. (SPOILER ALERT: glaciers are melting and forests are disappearing.)

Laurentien, or rather Princess Laurentien, also visited Thomas' Kindergarten classroom. What a blast! Thomas was wearing his favourite shirt and a paper crown. His Royal Highness Thomas. A picture of this visit even ended up in a Dutch newspaper, the Telegraaf.

The school wrote a neat article about the Princess' visit, and I also snapped some pictures with my phone:

There she is!

Mr. Finney & Thomas. (Thomas is wearing a red, black, and white checkered shirt and is sitting in the second row. Simon is not in the photo).

Up-close and personal with the Princess.

In het nederlands: Prinses Laurentien was even in Beijing en kwam langs op de school van Simon en Thomas. Ze las voor uit haar boek van Mr. Finney en kwam ook even langs in Thomas' klas. Hoera! Lang leve de...prinses!

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