Official dinners. How it works: service

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At every official dinner, one thing in particular must run smoothly: service.
It is the Steward of the Royal Household who is responsible for all those involved in service. The staff consists of 42 footmen, waiting staff, and around a dozen other court officials who all have the same aim: that the guests should experience flawless service.
Johan Tegel was one of the footmen at the official dinner on 8 September.

How long have you been a footman?
"For four years. Just like all the other footmen, I also have another job — I don't work as a waiter as my day job. When I was asked, I didn't hesitate for a moment — the opportunity to serve at the finest banquets in Sweden is a great honour. Especially in these 19th century uniforms. The sense of history is palpable — it's a chance to play a part in keeping our cultural heritage alive."

Many of the uniforms have been worn at countless official dinners. Here is Johan's court footman uniform with a label dating from 1936, when King Gustav V was on the throne.
The long table, which seats up to 168 guests, is divided into 14 stations. Each station has a first waiter, who is responsible for the food being brought to the guests, a second waiter, who is responsible for accompaniments such as bread and sauces, and a wine waiter, who tops up drinks during the banquet.
The King and The Queen have their own waiters. The King's waiter is known as "the hunter", and The Queen's is known as "the runner". The hunter, shown above, can be recognised by his green uniform, while the runner wears a tall plumed hat.
Putting the finishing touches to laying the table. Here, The Queen's napkin is checked one last time.
The Steward of the Royal Household and the First Steward of the Royal Household Eva Granat stand at either end of the table, directing the footmen during the official dinner.
Jonas Rosin is a porter. Traditionally, the porter deals with candles and fires during dinners. Today, the porter also liaises with the engineers behind the scenes to ensure the smooth-running of the air conditioning, lighting and other technology.
Thirty minutes before the guests make their way into Charles XI's Gallery, Steward of the Royal Household Jochen Fritz — pictured to the right — holds a briefing session. The running order is reviewed, last-minute changes are double-checked, and the menu is gone through step by step to ensure that everyone knows which courses will be served and with which accompaniments.
 
Find out more about the official dinner on 8 September here.opens in new window
 
Find out more about the seating plan for guests here.opens in new window
 
Photo: Henrik Garlöv/royalcourt.se