Service to others has always been a part of her life, says HRH Princess Tatiana Blatnik (Exeter, 1998) – and it all began at Aiglon.
“I was a charity rep at Aiglon,” she says, “not only because it was part of the curriculum, but because I enjoyed it. I particularly remember helping out with Albanian refugee children and at residential care homes. It has really shaped who I am today.”
Born in Venezuela, Tatiana came to Aiglon aged 11, before graduating from Georgetown with a degree in sociology. She married Prince Nikolaos of Greece in 2010 and moved to Athens in 2013, where she continues to help others through her work with refugee children and the cookery book she has written in aid of local non-profit, Boroume (‘We Can’ in Greek), an organisation that fights food waste.
Silence is Golden
Although she has lived all over the world in the intervening years, Tatiana says that her time at Aiglon made a lifelong impact. “The self-discipline I learned helped me through and I began to appreciate how to study, how to be quiet and focus.
“At the time I didn’t understand morning meditation – the idea that silence is golden – but now when things get chaotic, I keep some quiet time for myself.”
Aiglon also taught her how important collaboration can be – something she puts into practice today as co-founder of TRIA ETC, which works to revitalise Greece’s artisan sector by collaborating with Greek producers, and ELPIDA Youth, an organisation that supports children diagnosed with cancer by taking a holistic approach to their healthcare. “I formed great friendships from my time at Aiglon, going on expedition with a group of girlfriends and revelling in the challenge of it, the challenge of working as a team,” she says. “Being able to work in a team is something still important to me in my work today – being able to join forces with different individuals and organisations; that sense of collaboration.”
But ultimately, Tatiana says, “Aiglon taught us the link between mind, body and spirit. What I loved was the education we received outside of the classroom, where we weren’t even aware of what was being instilled. There was a focus on your soul and spirit – that holistic approach to health and wellness and a love of nature. At the time I would have paid not to go on an expedition, but now I pay to go!”