Official Dinner at the Royal Palace of Stockholm

  September 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm by

View the image at IBL

On Thursday 8 September, His Majesty King Carl Gustav and Her Majesty Queen Silvia hosted an official dinner at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. This is the third official dinner of the year.

Guests included representatives from the diplomatic corps, the Swedish parliament, the government, counties and authorities, as well as from the Swedish business community, science, culture and sport.

The approximately 150 guests were received and welcomed by The King, The Queen, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel in the Vita Havet Assembly Rooms. The dinner itself took place in Karl XI’s Gallery, where the guests had a stunning menu to choose from.

View the image at IBL

The starter dish was crayfish soup with crayfish from Lake Vättern and bleak roe ravioli. This was followed by breaded Mälaren pike-perch with carrot terrine, fennel, ginger and a velouté sauce of Swedish mussels. The next course was pigeon “Wellington” with buttered pointed cabbage, braised carrots, crêpe filled with duck liver from free-range ducks and pigeon confit with truffle gravy. Dessert was chocolate pâté with Quinto ganache and milk chocolate sorbet with verbena.

One week before the official dinner on 8 September, feverish activity begins in a room at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Grand Master of Ceremonies Lars Grundberg and Master of Ceremonies Jan-Eric Warren lay out a puzzle of all the 160 guests attending the official dinner. On a large table there is a map of the dinner table in Karl XI’s Gallery, together with 160 colour-coded cards featuring the name and title of each guest.

Jan-Eric Warren was asked what exactly is the office of ceremonies and replied, “We are part of the Office of the Marshal of the Court. We take care of the organisation of guests at major events hosted by The Royal Family. We are what you could call “mini hosts” and we make sure that the guests find their seats and particularly, that they enjoy their evening. The Royal Family may only have time to speak to ten or so guests at a dinner, and it is our job, together with the other members of the Royal Court taking part in the dinner, to see to it that all the guests have a pleasant evening. At an official dinner, we are responsible for making sure that the guests are welcomed at the entrance, taken to the assembly rooms and presented to The Royal Family. We are also involved ahead of and during state visits, for example it is the job of the Grand Master of Ceremonies to present the Swedish Government to the visiting Head of State. We also work with a number of other events that take place at the Royal Palace: formal audiences, medal presentations, celebrations to mark Sweden’s National Day, etc. Furthermore, we assist The Royal Family ahead of royal birthdays, weddings, memorable years and similar such occasions.”

Lars Grundberg was then asked how the seating arrangements are actually decided, are they based upon rank or just well suited companions? “If it were done by rank it would be a simple matter, then we would simply go by the Court Directory. But we take other factors into consideration, such as interests, language, whether guests have attended previous official dinners and who they were sitting next to then. But naturally rank does play a part, as does age. Ambassadors are seated according to the length of time they have been in their post in Sweden. The Royal Court’s employees sit round the table to act as mini hosts; at one end there is the First Marshal of the Court, and at the other end the Master of Ceremonies. The King and Queen always sit opposite each other at the centre of the table. The centre of the table functions as our starting point when we are organising the seating plan.”

And then came the “What if one of the guests sends their apologies?” question, Jan-Eric explained that if they have advanced notice, usually a member of the royal court takes their place but if it happens last minute they will try to clear the place and re-arrange items so it looks like it is an empty place.

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