Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands was born Petra Laurentien Brinkhorst, the daughter of Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, former Dutch minister of Economic Affairs, and his wife Jantien Brinkhorst-Heringa. She attended high school in The Hague. In 1984, she passed the Baccalauréat A examinations at the Lycée français in Tokyo, where her father was working as Permanent Envoy of the European Union.
She graduated from the University of Groningen in 1986 and did further study at the University of London and the University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained a master's degree in Journalism in 1991.
In 2001, she married Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, a son of the former Queen Beatrix and her husband Claus von Amsberg, and younger brother of the current Dutch monarch, King Willem-Alexander. The couple have three children. She writes books for children and is known for her commitment to fighting illiteracy and promoting education. In 2010, she was co-recipient of the Major Bosshardt Prize for her work.