Tuesday of this week was busy. Both the Swedish and the Norwegian royal families attended events related to the Nobel Prize. In Sweden, many prominent members of the Royal Family were present both at the award ceremony and the following grand gala dinner. During the ceremony, King Carl XVI Gustaf handed out 14 Nobel Prizes in five categories.
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia were joined by Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel at the stage while Prince Carl Philip, Princess Sofia and Princess Madeleine found their seats in the front row. However, there was one royal who surprisingly did not attend the event. The older sister of the King, Princess Christina was absent.
Princess Christina, who is a regular guest during the Nobel celebrations, did not show up at the award ceremony or at the dinner at the Royal Palace. Many wondered why this happened, and this has led to speculation in Swedish and Nordic media. The Swedish Royal Court has commented on the news and says to the Swedish magazine “Svensk Damtidning”: “Princess Christina and Tord Magnuson receive their own invitations, every year. And this year they have decided not to go”.
One reason why the Princess declined the invitation just this year did not come from the Royal Court. Several newspapers hint that this may be a silent protest on the Princess’s side. By tradition, Princess Christina has, during the dinner, been placed next to the prize winner in literature, if it is a man. This year, however, the tradition was broken when Christina refused to attend this year’s dinner.
This year’s prize winner in literature is a very disputed man. Peter Handke has commented positively on the war in the Balkans. He has previously been accused of trivialising Serbian war crimes and spoke at the funeral of the former authoritarian president and war criminal Slobodan Milošević. This led to major protests in Stockholm when it became known that he was this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Many now believe that the reason why Princess Christina did not want to attend this year’s traditional Nobel Prize ceremony and dinner was to show her displeasure towards award winner Handke. Peter Handke was finally placed next to Helena Norlén, wife of Speaker Andreas Norlén and Caroline Parmelin, wife of Guy Bernard Parmelin, Federal Council Member from the Swiss Government.