OSLO, Norway, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Nobel organizers breached seating protocol at the gala banquet in Sweden to allow the Chinese-speaking literature laureate, Mo Yan, to sit next to his wife.
Seating at the top table Monday in Stockholm follows what is known as the "Nobel Order," which considers the rank of the members of Sweden's royal court and then pairs them with the laureates in the order set out in Alfred Nobel's will.
"There is a protocol for the seating, but we can make modifications based on, for example, language abilities," Nobel Foundation spokesperson Annika Pontikis told the TT news agency.
Literature laureate Mo Yan was seated next to his wife, Quinlan Du, because "neither of them speaks anything but Chinese," Pontikis said.
Sweden hosts a dinner for Nobel laureates in several categories. The Swedish news agency said the seating arrangements were of interest because Swedes want to know who will sit next to which member of the royal family.
Before collecting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the European Union in Oslo, Norway, EU President Herman Van Rompuy said Sunday Europe would emerge "stronger" from its current fiscal crisis and become a "symbol of hope" again, NorwayNews.com reported.
Rompuy will accept the prize along with Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president; and Martin Schulz, leader of the European Parliament.
Norwegian police estimate that they would spend between $1.7 million and $2.9 million on security during the Nobel prize festivities this week.