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Nobel banquet in Stockholm cancelled due to COVID-19

Copyright © Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

One of the Swedish Royal Family’s most prominent events has been cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The traditional banquet for the Nobel Laureates in Stockholm’s City Hall will not take place this year because it requires over a thousand people in a small area which is not advisable during the current pandemic. The Swedish Royal Family always attends in all their royal jewels to celebrate the laureates.

The Nobel Foundation said in a press release this week: “The Nobel Foundation’s Board of Directors has decided that the traditional Nobel Banquet at the Stockholm City Hall will not take place this year. Both the Nobel Banquet and the reception hosted by the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences at the Nordic Museum on the day before bring together over a thousand people in a limited indoor space. So it is unreasonable to hold these events in 2020.”

The 2019 Nobel Banquet. Copyright © Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

Lars Heikensten, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation, said about the changes occurring due to the pandemic: “The Nobel Week is a celebration of science, literature and peace efforts. This year, it feels especially important to highlight the achievements of the Laureates, which inspire us and give us hope for the future. The Nobel Week will not be as usual, due to the ongoing pandemic. This is a very special year − when everyone must make sacrifices and adapt to completely new circumstances – but we will be paying tribute in various ways to the Laureates, their discoveries and contributions.”

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The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel Prizes will still take place on 10 December, and the presentation of these awards in Oslo and Stockholm are expected to still take place. However, they will only occur if they can comply with social distancing restrictions and “take into account that only some or perhaps no Laureates will participate on site. On other occasions when Laureates have been unable to travel to Sweden or Norway, we have enlisted the help of our embassies and consulates abroad. That might be relevant this year.”

King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Crown Prince Haakon usually attend the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo, and it is expected that some of the royals will attend the ceremony.

Didier Queloz receiving his Nobel Prize from H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at Konserthuset Stockholm on 10 December 2019. © Nobel Media. Photo: Nanaka Adachi

In Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip, Princess Sofia and Princess Madeleine usually attend the awarding of the Nobel Prizes. It remains to be seen who will attend from the Swedish Royal Family this year; however, with Princess Madeleine residing in the United States, it will be difficult for her to participate unless conditions with the pandemic improve in the States.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.