Müller slams Russia at Nobel awards ceremony
Published: 11 Dec 2009 09:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Dec 2009 09:34 GMT+01:00
While the glittering Nobel Prize ceremony opened to a trumpet fanfare, things were more serious as the presentations got underway, as Herta Müller, winner of the Nobel Literature Prize, criticized a number of countries, including Russia, for their lack of commitment to human rights.
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In accepting her literature prize, which was awarded for her work inspired by her life under Nicolae Ceausescu's dictatorship in Romania, Müller said that Russia, China and Iran cloak themselves in the language of civil rights, but that this doesn’t mean anything when it comes to real commitment.
Chemistry Prize joint winner Ada Yonath took a lighter tone in her acceptance speech, declaring that if it wasn’t for her nice chauffeur, Nisse, who was driving her during her stay in Stockholm, she may have got lost in the city and missed the ceremony altogether. The chemist’s speech drew choruses of laughter from the 1,300 guests.
Distinguished guests included kings, queens, 12 Nobel Prize winners, and representatives from the Swedish Government. Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf had Ada Yonath at his side, and Queen Silvia has Physics Prize winner Willard S Boyle to her right. The Queen wore a light green embroidered dress.
Chemistry Prize joint winners, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A Steitz had the honour of sitting beside Crown Princess Victoria, who wore a plum coloured dress in silk-satin.
All of the Royal Family attended the glittering ceremony, including Princess Madeleine’s fiancé, Jonas Bergström. The Crown Princess’s fiancé, Daniel Westling, had received doctors’ advice to stay home to avoid the risk of infection following his kidney transplant in May.
This year's Nobel ceremony had a 'Fairytale' theme, as played out with flower arrangements and costumes worn by the chorus from Romeo and Juliet, who provided the evening’s entertainment. The performance took a baroque tone, as reflected in costumes and the instrumental and musical choices.
Food was wheeled out for guests at around 7.30pm, and was served on tables draped in 470 metres of tablecloth, with Nobel porcelain, and amongst gold décor.
Guests danced the night away at the gala ball, to the big band sounds of ‘On Cue’, and the real party heads traipsed off to the after-party, at Nobel Night Cap, which is traditionally arranged by Stockholm’s students.