• Sweden edition
 
Random woman attends Swedish ministerial meal

Random woman attends Swedish ministerial meal

Published: 25 Apr 2012 10:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Apr 2012 10:38 GMT+02:00

“I received an invitation; it had my name and my address on it. I didn’t really think too much about it,” said Margareta Winberg, 67, from the Stockholm suburb of Sundbyberg to The Local.

The invitation was supposed to have gone to ex-agricultural minister, ex-deputy prime minister and former ambassador to Brazil, Margareta Winberg, 64, who was to attend a dinner at the opening of a major environment conference hosted by current environment minister Lena Ek.

Instead, the official invite went to another Winberg altogether.

Rather than having worked for the Swedish government, the Winberg who received the invite used to work as occupational therapy assistant in the Stockholm district of Solna before she retired.

When she received the invitation, Winberg thought that perhaps it had something to do with her previous employment.

“But I didn’t think too much about it nor did I know much about the dinner. Just that I was invited and that it was ‘about the environment’,” said Winberg.

On the set date, Winberg got herself glammed up and duly presented herself at Sweden's official government office complex at Rosenbad.

When she turned up at the door, the organizers and minister Ek quickly understood that there had been a mix-up.

Instead of ex-minister Winberg, it was ex-occupational therapy assistant Winberg who stood before them.

However, they soon regained their composure.

“When Lena realized the mistake she did everything she could so that the lady wouldn’t feel uncomfortable," said Erik Bratthall, press spokesperson for Ek, to daily Aftonbladet.

Despite the discovery of the gaffe, retiree Winberg was escorted to “her” seat and introduced to everyone with an explanation of what had happened.

“I was allowed to take part anyway. The food was nice and there were a lot of people talking and talking,” Winberg said.

Bratthall told Dagens Nyheter (DN) that Ek thought the whole thing was “a great laugh” and that no harm had been done.

Nor were organizers too concerned about the potential security threat that presented by having an unintended guest attend an official government event.

“The Rosenbad guards can handle retired ladies,” Bratthall said.

According to DN, the “real” Margareta Winberg has since received an apology from Lena Ek and is taking the whole incident cheerfully.

“I hope my namesake had a lovely dinner. She has never attended a government dinner, and I have,” she told the paper.

The involuntary dinner-crasher Winberg said she really didn’t feel awkward taking part in the meal despite the obvious mix-up.

“I just took it for what it was; a mistake, as did the others. I had a great time and listened carefully to all the speakers,” she said.

The best part of the experience was the speeches, according to Winberg. Her husband had been disappointed he was not invited, but when she retuned home her "head was tired".

“But it was great altogether,” she told The Local.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:29 April 25, 2012 by Terri85
Funny...:)
11:37 April 25, 2012 by njkkhatri
Interesting mix-up !
11:43 April 25, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
It was nice of the functionaries to let the old lady stay and eat.
11:44 April 25, 2012 by axiom
best thing i've read on the news in a while

quite funny :D
11:45 April 25, 2012 by Keith #5083
Ttally brill. And that she was allowed to stay. Fantastic. Mind you, I'm the same age and can't even get an invite to a burger bar! Now that comment should wake up Svensksmith!
12:04 April 25, 2012 by gabeltoon
At least an ordinary member of the public was considered worthy of attending a government function as it should be. It is the public who vote the members of government to look after the country so they SHOULD be included. I'm glad the lady had a great time. "GOOD on YA" as they say. : ) : )
12:10 April 25, 2012 by gpafledthis
When the "handlers" get to purgatory they must mention this for"good time"
13:01 April 25, 2012 by Rishonim
hahahaha.. great story.....
15:39 April 25, 2012 by Svensksmith
Keith, you're officially invited to my house for burgers and beer.
20:43 April 25, 2012 by foxpur
Thing is, she *LISTENED* to all the speakers and gave them each thought... That's got to be a first for that kind of event. Probable had better input than the other who went.
21:39 April 25, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Lovely story. I am glad they let her stay and enjoy the evening.
23:14 April 25, 2012 by Skipdallas
Did she get the Tee-Shirt too? :-) Actually I think this is a great story! This gaffe was handled with great aplomb by everyone concerned.
00:43 April 27, 2012 by DAVID T
Why must they have a dinner? The taxpayer pays for this
11:57 April 27, 2012 by OUIJA
Good for the lady, but bad for the organizers and Ek's private secretary and head of her press staff that they cannot check properly who has worked in the past within the government. They must have looked at Eniro or Hitta. Those are the bureaucrats within the Swedish government.

The story is funny and good for the Margareta Winberg's homólogous for enjoying her visit.
15:24 April 27, 2012 by PerKurowski
And what a great environment Lena Ek offered. Well done!
19:25 April 27, 2012 by Benzed
Well played by all concerned, mildy surprised she wasn't manhandled out of the venue by some burly security.
Today's headlines
Ebola crisis
Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund
Photo: TT

Sweden pledges new aid to UN Ebola fund

Sweden has offered a new sizeable contribution to the fund set up by UN chief Ban K-moon to fight the Ebola outbreak. READ  

Society
'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme
Photo: Lars-Göran Thuresson/Älgriket

'Dark forces' target refugee hunting scheme

The Swedish hunting association runs a project to encourage young asylum-seekers to learn about hunting, a move which has proved controversial among some far right groups. READ  

Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

979
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN