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The Royal Palace



Stemming from a Viking barrier-fort in the 10th century, the Royal Palace in Stockholm developed over the years until in 1697 when it was destroyed by a fire. Following this it was reconstructed in Baroque style and was for many years the Royal residence; although now it is only the King's official residence and is used for the King and Queen's receptions and official events.


The Palace started out as a fortress in the mid-13th century, although a Viking barrier-fort existed on the site from the 10th century and developed into a palace known as the Tre Kronor ("Three Crowns") taking on Baroque style in the 17th century. Much of the castle and palace, with the exception of the North Wing was destroyed by fire in 1697, resulting in the construction of the existing palace, to the design of architect Nicodemus Tessin. The construction took considerably longer than anticipated and it was not completed for habitation until 1754, meaning that the Royal Family were not able to move in until then.  
Today it is the official residence and office of the Swedish monarch and members of the Royal Family and is one of the largest palaces in Europe. It also holds the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden and contains three museums: the Treasury located in the cellar vaults, houses the royal regalia used for weddings, christenings and funerals. This includes the sword of state of Gustav I (1523 –1560), the crown, sceptre and orb of Erik XIV (1560 –1568) and a number of other crowns as well as the silver baptismal font used at royal baptisms dating from 1696.

The Tre Kronor Museum shows the palaces medieval history and in addition there is Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. Also contained in the Palace is the Armoury, displaying royal costumes and armour and a number of coaches, including the coronation carriage. 

Constructed of brick, each of the four façades has a specific representation, the west façade represents the king and is bordered by the wings which enclose the open space. In front of the Western façade are a number of canons.


It is in front of the west facade that the changing of the guard ceremony by the Swedish Royal Guard takes place. The Guard has been stationed at the Royal Palace since 1523 and is a popular tourist attraction.


The east façade represents the queen and faces the quay and waterfront. 


The southern façade represents the nation and faces the sloping area leading up from the waterfront and the northern façade represents the common royals. 


The length of the façade from east to west is 115 metres and from north to south 120 metres with the four wings of the building surrounding an inner courtyard. The roof is covered with copper and is surrounded by a stone balustrade which surrounds the main building.
On entering the Palace through the arch in the western façade, visitors can turn right and visit the Royal Chapel, which is open during the summer months.


​​​​​​This features examples of architecture, décor and artworks by some of the leading masters of their times: Nikodemus Tessin the Younger, Carl Hårleman and Georg Haupt. The present Royal Chapel is the third chapel in the palace grounds. Karl XI's (1660-97) newly inaugurated chapel was burnt down in the great fire of May 7, 1697. Constructing a new Royal Chapel was a key part of architect Nikodemus Tessin's extensive commission to build a new palace after the fire. Carl Hårleman completed the chapel's interior in the middle of the 1700s, to a large part following Tessin´s drawings. Sculptures, statues, ceiling paintings and a beautifully ornate pulpit have been carried out by the foremost craftsmen of the period. 

Since the time of Magnus Ladulås in the 1200s there has not only been a chapel at the Royal Palace but also a clergy and every Sunday mass is held. In the summer months organ and classical music concerts are also held there.


Above the first floor is the mezzanine, which has 115 rooms these were mainly used by the staff of the court, although some of the princes' and princesses' apartments have also been there. The mezzanine also houses a Small Guest Apartment.

The second floor contains the Royal Apartments and the staterooms that are used for the King and Queen's receptions. It consists of nine staterooms, these face the city, while the smaller living rooms face the inner courtyard. The original plans for this section were made by palace architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, although not all his plans were completed. 

The apartments contain a banquet hall, used for gala dinners, cabinet meetings, and parliamentary evenings. There is also a guest apartment used for foreign dignitaries on official state visits. The Royal Apartments also include the Hall of State which contains Queen Kristina's silver throne.


The Apartment of the Orders of Chivalry, which houses a permanent collection of the regal orders. This apartment is made up of four rooms, one room for each order. Until 1949, this was the home to the Swedish Supreme Court, which was established by Gustav III in 1789. Today it contains objects used in relation to the ceremonies of the Order.  


The Bernadotte rooms are where medal presentations and formal audience take place, this displays the portraits of all Swedish kings and queens since 1818. The Pillared Hall was originally a dining room. It is also where the private quarters were situated and was where King Carl XVI Gustaf and his family lived until they moved to the Drottningholm Palace in 1981.

Next to the Pillared Hall is the Victoria Salon which is a fine example of Victorian style and displays the splendour of the 1800s with its chandelier and the carpet. 


The Hall of State was used as the House of Parliament until 1866 and was used to show the televised opening of parliament until 1975. Today it is used for official ceremonies and contains the silver throne of Queen Kristina for her coronation in 1650, which was also used when Carl XVI Gustaf became Sweden's king in 1973. The room is also used during the summer for concerts.

The attic is used for storage but includes the top of many of the arches and the top of the Hall of State, the Royal Chapel and the southern stairwell, with its beautiful ceiling.


To see more photographs and take a virtual tour of the site click on the photoshow below.


              All  Photographs were taken by and are copyright of Ron Gatepain

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