By Nash Jenkins
September 1, 2016

President Vladimir Putin is reportedly a very private man, and gaining access to the Russian leader is notoriously difficult — unless, apparently, you’re a British schoolboy, in which case he’ll make room in his schedule to meet with you privately.

A group of 11 students from Eton College, one of Britain’s most prestigious private boys’ schools, flew to Moscow last week to meet Putin at the Kremlin. Photos from the rendezvous posted on Facebook have since been picked up by a number of British media outlets, including the Guardian.

“It took me a total of 10 months, 1,040 emails, 1,000 text messages, countless sleepless nights, constant paranoia during A2 exam season, declining academic performance … but here we are,” one of the students, David Wei, wrote on Facebook. “Guys, we truly gave Putin a deep impression of us and he responded by showing us his human face.”

Another, Trenton Bricken, said that they met for two hours with Putin, whom he described as “small in person but not in presence.” (Putin is 5 feet, 7 inches tall.)

The Guardian notes that British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have still not had the chance to meet with Putin. Johnson is himself an Eton alumnus — along with a coterie of prime ministers, Princes William and Harry and the actor Eddie Redmayne.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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