The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 3, 2012

Royal couple not demanding, but visit still takes lots of prep work

ST PETER — Lists of demands from musicians who have performed in the area have been quite impressive.

Aerosmith, for example, insisted on a backstage room decorated in East Indian garb, fresh ears of corn on the cob (cooked three minutes only), chicken tikka pieces with yogurt and mint dip, and Sundance cherry soda, among other things. Oh, and absolutely no “pressed meats” could be served.

So one can only imagine what the requirements would be for royalty. His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf and Her Majesty the Queen Silvia will visit Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter on Friday, and faculty and staff have been preparing in earnest.

But as Barb Larson Taylor of Gustavus came to learn, King Carl and Queen Silvia are pretty low key. They don’t need a darn thing, according to a royal court member who has been coordinating the visit with Taylor, who is assistant to the president for special projects.

“He has conveyed to us nothing but their majesties are excited to come,” Taylor said. “He assured us to just enjoy their visit and not get so worried about the protocol.”

Still, the campus has been working to make the king and queen feel safe and welcome during their visit for about a year with early preparations having begun three years ago.

Taylor said the college wanted to plan something extra special for the 150th anniversary of Gustavus, and they immediately thought of the king and queen, who visited Gustavus together in 1982 and 1996. King Carl also came alone in April 1976 during the U.S. bicentennial.

The college’s Swedish heritage traces back to a Swedish-immigrant pastor named Eric Norelius, who opened a school in a tiny church house in Red Wing in 1862. That school eventually came to be Gustavus, which has called St. Peter its home since 1876.

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