Campus prepares for royal visit
Organizing the arrival of a King and Queen is no small feat, but to Barb Larson Taylor, the Assistant to the President for Special Projects, it’s just another day in the office.
“I’m a big believer that stress usually is created, whether you’re a student or you’re hosting a king and queen,” Larson Taylor said. “Stress is [often times created] because of poor planning and your attitude. So as much as we can, we’re choosing to be as thoughtful with the planning [as we can] and [thoughtful when] choosing our attitude about it.”
The Royal Visit is set to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Gustavus, as well as to highlight two issues that Sweden is very progressive and revolutionary in: environmental sustainability and gender equality. Both topics will be held as discussion-based seminars, moderated by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia separately.
“We wanted to present a slightly different part of Sweden that people don’t necessarily think about, and how this king and queen just don’t wear crowns, they actually are taking their role in this position of privilege and using it to help advance some big challenges, global challenges,” she said.
The event will not only attract Gustavus students, but those interested from all around the country.
“What I like to do when I plan an event is to go through it so many times, from many different possible places, so that every person that’s experiencing it has a good experience,” she said.
Larson Taylor has been involved, literally, in every single aspect of the event; from having a hand in seeking the cuisine that will be served (which will actually be locally sourced and representative of Minnesota) and the music that will be heard. She has had to look through every possible lens, but fortunately for her, she has sought the help from the heads of each field.
“I’ve been trying at every step to go directly to the people that know it the best, getting their feedback,” Larson Taylor said. “It is a lot of details, but it would be way more stressful if you were the only one who cared, but you know when you’re working with all of these people who care as much as you do that it’s a lot of fun.”
One of whom has been heavily involved with this event is Ted Kennedy, the Vice President of the Marketing and Communications department at Gustavus.
“I make sure that on this day, Gustavus is the focus of what is going on in Minnesota. The King and Queen are going to be here. We don’t get that opportunity everyday,” Kennedy said.
“My job is to provide an environment that is safe for everyone that is here on the campus during this event,” Thrower said.
Thrower is a retired chief of police, and has worked with Secret Service with Presidents and other dignitaries over the years.
“There will be Secret Service not only from the United States, but from Sweden here. There will be Campus Safety, and other officers from other law enforcement agencies that will be assisting us with this event,” he said. “There will be a lot of roped off areas so we ask that you don’t go through the roped off areas when the King and Queen and other dignitaries are walking through, and just listen to the numerous volunteers that are helping.”
While the event will be under heavy scrutiny, students are welcome to enjoy themselves as long as they respect the nature and particularity of this event.
“We want this to be a wonderful, joyful event for everyone, and we want everyone to have a good time. But we also have to be respectful of the King and Queen and what’s required for them as far as security,” Thrower said.
Furthermore, the President’s office has listed Royal Protocol, the proper rules and etiquette students, faculty, and guests must adhere by while in the presence of regality.
- Their Majesties are the last to enter a room and the first to exit. All guests must be in their places before the Royal party enters and may not leave at any time during the events.
- When Their Majesties enter a room and exit, all guests should rise.
- Photos may be taken at a polite distance of at least 10 feet away. Flash photography and recording are not allowed. The Festival Worship Service and concurrent seminars will be recorded and posted to the website following the events.
- Make sure all cellular phones and other noise making devices are turned off during all events. Recording devices of any kind are prohibited.
- Dress is business attire.
- For security reasons, all handbags and similar items are subject to search.
“The safest thing would be to always address them with your majesty. To welcome Their Majesties, it’s always appropriate to clap, especially during a processional,” Larson Taylor said. “[Their Majesties] are going to walk through the sesquicentennial plaza. I would imagine that students might step off the sidewalk and smile, wave, make eye contact and nod. However, approaching [Their Majesties] would not be appropriate.”
It should be noted that even if students are not visiting any of the events, that they be aware of the magnitude of being in the presence of royalty.
“I would hope that students, whether they’re involved or not so involved, that they at least just take a moment out of their day on October 5th to appreciate the Visit,” Larson Taylor said.
After all, it is not everyday that a college welcomes a King and a Queen.