Nobel banquet – a fairytale

At the banquet, the pinnacle of the Nobel Prize week, the flower arrangements, the music and costumes worn by performers, mirrored this year’s Nobel theme, which was fairytale. And, like most fairytales, the speeches by the laureates ranged from serious to humorous.

Herta Muller, winner of the Literature Prize, criticized several countries for weak efforts when it comes to human rights. She said that Russia, China and Iran claim they are committed to these issues, but neither is doing much to change when it comes to its shortcomings.

In contrast, Ada E Yonath, one of the three Chemistry Prize winners, kept a lighter tone in her speech. She drew laughter from the 1,300 some guests, saying that without her driver, Nisse, who had transported her during the week she would have been lost and missed the banquet.

The whole Swedish royal family was present aside from Crown Princess Victoria’s fiancée, Daniel Westberg, who stayed home due to health issues.  According to Nobel etiquette, the 12 Nobel Prize winners accompanied the Swedish royal family at the table of honor.

Patric Nilsson, who acted as the attaché for Chemistry Prize winner Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, was a first-timer at the banquet and said the night was “historic.” Though, used to fancy receptions as part of his normal duties at The Swedish Foreign Ministry, Nilsson said the night was unforgettable, even though he wasn’t quite as lucky as his laureate, Ramakrishnan, who was seated next to Crown Princess Victoria. Yonath had Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf to the table and Queen Silvia has Physics Prize winner Willard S Boyle to her right.

The choir, Romeo and Juliet, entertained during the banquet, which was followed by a dance to big band music. And for those who wanted to continue the festivities after the dance, there was the after party. Nilsson and Ramakrishnan, along with others attended the Nobel Night Cap, traditionally arranged by the university students of Stockholm.

By Majsan Boström

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