The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 3, 2012

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



Taylor began the informal process of bringing the couple to campus several years ago by putting a feeler out to members of the royal court with assistance from the American Swedish Institute. When a formal request was sent, the king and queen accepted and plans were set into motion to organize everything from hotel stay to security.

The couple will stay in a Minneapolis hotel and drive down for the Gustavus festivities.

In line with the rest of the low-maintenance aspects of the visit, security isn’t a huge concern either, Taylor said, aside from bomb sweeps of buildings. Fewer than 10 Secret Service officers will work with Gustavus Campus Safety to monitor the events. And those attending ticketed events will have to present photo ID and submit their bags to be checked.

“Almost basic security that you do at like a Minnesota Vikings game,” Taylor said.

Protocol also requires the king and queen to be the last to enter a room and the first to leave it.

“We were expecting we’d need to have snipers on our roofs and that just doesn’t have to happen,” she joked.

About 1,000 kindergarten through sixth-graders will be among the welcoming party when the king and queen first arrive on campus in a car. Many classes are busy at work making scrapbook pages that Gustavus will bind and give to the royal couple as a keepsake of the visit.

Gustavus staff visited St. Peter classrooms Tuesday and Wednesday to make sure the children know what to do and what to expect. Taylor said staff are pre-warning kids that their majesties are not the kind of king and queen they see in fairytales.

“They’re not going to be wearing crowns (or a) gown,” Taylor said. “They’re going to be in a business suit. ... They just look like grandparents.”

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