• 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
Swedish teenagers abused on Secret app
File photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

Swedish teenagers abused on Secret app

Swedish police are struggling to know what to do with a new batch of criminal reports filed by teenagers upset about a controversial app that allows users to post comments and pictures anonymously. READ  

National
Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

UPDATED: A Swedish runner who filmed himself beating his bus in Sundbyberg in north west Stockholm over the weekend is now planning to a similar challenge on the capital's Metro system. READ  

Regional
Rain causes power cuts across east Sweden
Strong winds are battering Stockholm and the east coast of Sweden. Photo: TT

Rain causes power cuts across east Sweden

Heavy rain and wind have left thousands without electricity in eastern Sweden, with ferries also disrupted by the storm. READ  

National
Sweden's benefit agency website down
Sweden's Social Insurance Agency is experiencing problems. Photo: TT

Sweden's benefit agency website down

Sweden's Social Insurance Agency website was out of action on Monday, as officials promised that the technical fault would not delay benefit payments. READ  

Elections 2014
Budget headache for new coalition partners
Social Democrat economic spokesperson Magdalena Andersson with Per Bo from the Green Party. Photo: TT

Budget headache for new coalition partners

UPDATED: The Social Democrats have been holding talks with the Green party to try and agree on a future coalition budget. But questions remain over how they will work together on issues including defence and nuclear power. READ  

National
US runaway banned from name change in Sweden
'Wanted' photograph of David Hemler used by US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Hemler lives and works in Uppsala. Photo: Shutterstock

US runaway banned from name change in Sweden

A US airman who deserted from the military three decades ago and moved to Sweden has failed in his bid to get his old name back, because a Swedish court says he can’t prove his identity. READ  

My Swedish Career
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Sharleen in action. Photo: Sebastian Bularca

Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars

For this week's My Swedish Career we meet a Canadian who came to Sweden for love and now works in Lidköping, custom-making guitars. READ  

Regional
Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden
Stockholm experienced heavy rain on Sunday. Photo: TT

Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden

After heavy rain broke off the September sunshine in eastern Sweden on Sunday, forecasters warn more bad weather is on the way. READ  

Tech
World car record on Malmö bridge

World car record on Malmö bridge

The longest electric car parade on a bridge between two countries was formed on the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark on Sunday, with environmental campaigners breaking several other world records in the process. READ  

National
Two hurt in Helsingborg ferry crash
The damaged ferry is being inspected on Monday. Photo: TT

Two hurt in Helsingborg ferry crash

UPDATED: A ferry crashed into a pier in the port of Helsingborg in southern Sweden on Sunday night, with two people taken to hospital following the collision. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: September 20th
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Blog updates

22 September

Welcome National Geographic! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What comes to mind when you think of the “The Arctic”? Crystal-encased cliffs jutting from the sea, baronial Polar bears scavenging over sheets of cracked ice or a lone explorer heading north into the night. The image my mind invokes is of three sparkling green lines splashed across the sky like graffiti— the Aurora Borealis— our..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
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

849
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