A friendly chat with the princess: not something you experience every day. It happened to Sebastian Botali (29) from Uruguay,  who talked with princess Maxima when she visited EUR, on Tuesday the 5th of June.

Maxima is originally from Argentina, and married the Dutch crown prince Willem-Alexander ten years ago. She visited the EUR campus on Tuesday last week, to speech at a conference about the benefits of health insurance for people in developing countries. The hairdresser in the V-building filmed a friendly encounter between Maxima and an anonymous student. EM posted it on SIN online and asked this brave young man to identify himself. Sebastian’s friends saw the movie online, recognized Sebastian, and let him know he was being searched.

‘What did I do wrong?’

Sebastian is currently doing an MBA at RSM, and didn’t receive the message himself.  When his friends told him EM was looking for him, he was a little intimidated. Sebastian laughs: “The first thing that went through my mind was: what did I do wrong?”

When he found out that we were merely interested in what he and Maxima talked about, he was happy to tell us. At 6 p.m., Sebastian and a few friends had finished their classes and walked past M-building, when at the exact same time, Maxima came walking out. Sebastian addressed her in Spanish, because his Uruguayan accent and Maxima’s Argentinean accent are almost the same.

A warm welcome

Sebastian explains it’s a custom in Spanish-speaking countries to first say where you’re from, which he did. Maxima replied enthusiastically: “Oh, that’s nice” and then said: “Welcome to the Netherlands.” Even though it wasn’t a very long or deep conversation, Sebastian is happy to have had a chat with Maxima: “She’s quite famous in Argentina and Uruguay, as the media in both countries are in close contact with each other.” IS