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Re: Queen Sonja's childhood home now part of a museum
After WWII her new court marshal did point this out to Wilhelmina and suggested a new way of serving at court dinners. She let him test it and as it was successful it was introduced and has been maintained ever since.
Thanks Stig for the link, which includes this amusing anecdote:
" Sonjas mor stelte i stand middager og dekket på til datterens kjæreste. Kongelige vaner var imidlertid ikke bare enkle å legge bort i det borgerlige hjemmet.
– Kronprinsen bare spiste og sa ikke et ord før han var ferdig med å spise. Ikke drakk han noe særlig heller. Så det ble nokså stumt, men etter hvert har han lært at det går an å ta det litt mer med ro, sier dronning Sonja og ler.
Hun står i spisestuen og skrur tiden tilbake.
- Den gamle tradisjonen på Slottet var at de yngste medlemmene av familien satt nederst ved bordet. Når kongen var ferdig med å spise, stoppet serveringen. Dermed fikk ikke de nederst på bordet noe. Nå er det heldigvis ikke slik, nå passer man jo på at alle får mat. Men jeg tror det satt i ham ganske lenge, forteller hun"
Which boils down to the fact that then CP Harald had been so used to sit down for dinner and make sure he could finish it before all plates were taken away once the King had finished eating (...) that he avoided any conversation during dinner, just so he could eat the whole meal.
Things have changed for the better, over the years, thankfully .
But the essence of that story reminds me of many stories from the old Dutch Court, where diplomats would complain that dining with Queen Wilhelmina meant one had to make sure to eat fast because once the Queen had finished her dinner, all plated were removed, regardless whether the guests had had time to fully enjoy their royal meal..
So, not really something Sonja could blame the 'old King' for but a wide-spread royal 'tradition' where the Monarch always was the most important person in a room and all & everything had to respect that!
Guess many dignitaries in those days would have loved the possibility of getting a snack on their way home