Royal banquet goes green for world leaders

December 17, 2009

queen margrethe

It’s hard enough choosing a menu and seating plan for even the humblest dinner party.

So spare a thought for the Danish royal family, who are throwing a formal dinner for scores of world leaders attending the climate talks in Copenhagen.

With a mammoth guest list that begins with Prince Mustapha Zahir of Afghanistan and ends with President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe had her work cut out.

The potential for embarrassing pairings seemed endless: Prime Minister Gordon Brown probably wouldn’t appreciate being put next to Mugabe, who he accuses of running a “blood-stained regime”.

Putting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next to Cuba’s Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernandez could be tricky, although there would be a chance for them to chat about the improving relations between the two old enemies.

Seating plans aside, organisers sought to give an environmental flavour to the food and music at the Christiansborg Palace in the heart of the snow-covered Danish capital.

A starter of pureed cod and scallops came with “Sauce Verte”, or green sauce, while the main course of turkey and fried potatoes was served with a greenish tarragon sauce too.

That was washed down with wines from the Prince of Denmark’s French vineyard: La Cigarelle due Prince 2005, a Chardonnay, and Chateau du Cayx 1999, a Malbec and Merlot mix.

Even the choice of music had an environmental theme – George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” and Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Here’s that Rainy Day”.

But with the climate talks hanging in the balance on the eve of their planned finish and police on high alert for more protests, there was unlikely to be much of a party atmosphere.

Shortly before leaving for the palace, Brown said delegates expected to be working through the night to thrash out a deal.

“There is no doubt that the talks will continue after the dinner,” he said. “We have made progress, but we will have to keep working through the night.”

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