Rufus Gifford, the US ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, faced a rare choice. He had to decide whether he would attend President Obama’s official farewell dinner in the United States or attend the traditional Danish New Year Banquet (Danish: Nytårstaffel) with Her Majesty Queen Margrethe of Denmark. The choice was not difficult for the ambassador, who met up with Queen Margrethe yesterday.
Ambassador Rufus Gifford told Danish press that it was a bit difficult to be present at both events, as they were on the same day. Also, American Stephen De Vincent was invited to both dinners, and he also said yes to Queen Margrethe’s invitation and declined to dine with Obama. This was also the very last opportunity for the US Ambassador to attend a royal event in Denmark since his time as America’s ambassador to the small Nordic kingdom will come to an end when President-elect Trump takes office on 20 January; however, Trump could choose to keep Gifford at his post.
Ambassador Gifford said it was a strange feeling and very sad to know that this was the last Danish New Year banquet he would attend. He told Danish media yesterday that he would miss it. Next year, Queen Margrethe must prepare to invite President Donald Trump’s appointed United States Ambassador to Denmark.
The royal Danish New Year banquet is over a more than 400-year long tradition where the Queen invites diplomats and other influential people from Danish and international politics to celebrate the new year. The dinner takes place in a traditional setting at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, and large parts of the Danish Royal Family is present during the dinner.