On day two of our visit to Stockholm spent a few hours at the Swedish
Royal Palace (Kungliga slotten). It still remains as the offical residents fo the royal family and is one of the largest palaces in Europe. It is located in the oldest part of the city Gamla stan.
Within the palace there are three splendid museums that are opened all year around. These are the Royal Apartments, the Treasury and the Museum Tre Kronor. However, during the summer season from May to September, the Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities is also open. There are palace tours, which you can pay for in addition to the entry price. However, audio guides are also available, free of charge.
On our visit we saw the Royal Apartments, Museum Tre Kronor and
Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities. We probably spent the most time in the apartments and in combination with the Tre Kronor is very much worth the visit. We paid about 160SEK for these three museums, which at the time was about 24AUD.
I hope you enjoy a sneak peak through the Swedish Royal Palace!
The Royal Apartments
When we first arrived we purchased our tickets from one of the adjacent curved builds that are adjacent to the palace within the Outer Courtyard. I was concerned before visiting the palace that we would have to purchase tickets prior to our visit. However, after emailing and getting a response, I was able to purchase the tickets on the day without much wait. The toilets on the other hand had a long line. I don’t remember seeing toilets as we went along our visit, so perhaps its best to get that over with at the begining of the visit.
The Apartment of the Order of Chivalry
We first began our tour of the Royal Apartments by going left and walking through the Apartment of the Orders of Chivalry. These have been open since 1993 and display the Swedish Award System and Royal Orders of the Knighthood. We walked through three session halls, which included the the Order of Vasa, the Order of the Northern Star, the Order of Sword and the Order of the Seraphim. The fourth room was a meeting hall for the Chapter of the Royal Orders. These rooms were modernised in 1866-67, by architect Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander.
The Hall of the State
The last room we came to before entering a grand foyer, was the Hall of the State. This room was used by the King from 1755 to 1975 to open the Parliment every year. It was designed by architect Carl Hårleman. Unfortuntely it was going through restorations, so it wasn’t as grand with the scafolding. Before going onto the Bernadotte Apatments, I cam across this marble sculpture, The Wave and the Beach. It was made by Theodor Lundberg in 1898.
The Bernadotte Apartments
These apartments were often used by the King for cermonial audices, presenting medals and meetings with his advisory council. The furnishings are from the 1730s and 40s. It was resided in by King Adolf Fredik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika, as later by Oskar II and Queen Sofia.
From the begining of our tour of the Bernadotte Apartments we were able to hire free audio guides, which are available in English and Swedish. I found these really helpful to explain exactly what I was seeing and give more meaning to the history of the furnishings, decorations, achitect and purpose of these rooms.
The Guardroom was originally used to house the lifeguards, who protected the monarch. In the centre of the room there are items referincing the rule of Queen Lovisa and Karl XV. Along the wall there is a painting of the corinationa of Karl XIV John in Stockholm Cathedral in 1818, painted by Per Krafft the Younger in 1924. There is also a wall clock over the fireplace dates back to 1750.
The Pillared Hall was originally used by King Adolf Fredrik as a dining room. The ceiling was painted in 1730 by the Italian artist Alessandro Ferretti and it depicts Mother Svea (Swedish personified) and the seasons. This room was moderned in the 1780s by Gustav III, under the architect Jean Baptiste Masreliez. It included the overdoors and statues of Venus and Apollino by Johan Tobias Sergel.
The Victoria Drawing Room has been re-decorated many times, but this present interior was designed in the 1860s by Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander. the crystal chandeliers were from Vienna, the oval tables from Munich the procelian cabinets were gifts from Napoleon. The most recent edition were the busts of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, which were made by Italian artist, Giancarlo Buratti. One of my favourite pieces was gold clock, depicting the Greek goddess Aphrodite.
The West Octagonal Cabinet is a small corner room, which dates from the 1730s and is in the Rococo style. The decorative wall carvings are by Jean Bourguignon and the phorphyry urns were made by Älvdalen porphyry around 1830.
Oskar II’s Writing Room were able to be seen behind clear screens. The current interior is from 1870s and includes some modern innovations, including electric lighting and a telephone, which was conneted in 1883-4.
I don’t remember what the name of this hallway, but it is had over 40 paintings of the royal family, as well as silver, busts and another interesting clock.
The Breakfast Room was furnished for Oskar II and Queen Sofia in 1873-1874. It has carved rococo panels and a silver chandelier (gift for the silver jubilee 1897), with a crown supported by cupids. This was another room we could not enter.
The East Octagonal Cabinet is larger to the western cabinet. It was used for King Carl XVI to hold formal audiences and private converstaions.
Possibly the most modern room in the palace is Carl XVI Gustaf’s Jubilee Room. It was designed by Åke Axelsson and was offical opened in 2001. It showcases Swedish materials and craftmanship and the theme is a Swedish summer’s day. It is used in conjunction with the East Octagonal Cabinet for formal audiences.
Perhaps my favourite room in the house is Lovrisa Ulrika’s Audience Chamber. It was designed by Jean Eric Rehn for Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1754. I just love the tapestries, gold throne and the painting of birds above the door.
Lovisa Ulrika’s Antechamber is another beautiful room. Someting that stood out to me straight away was the Madonna and Child by Piero di Cosimo and the spider webbed ceiling decorations.
Lovisa Ulrika’s Dining Room is another beauty, was restored to the 18th century style in the 1950s and is today sued for large receptions and offical meetings. Jean-Baptiste Oudry painted the paintings over the doors reprent wind, water, earth and fire; as well as the large deer-hunting scene.
The Guardroom is slightly more modern room, which depicts portraits of the Swedish royals during the 20th century.
We then made our way up the outer hallway, which was similar style to the hall we arrived from.
We then entered another Guardroom. It depicts members of the Palatinate dynasty, Queen Kristina from the House of Vasa and Karl X Gustav. There are also small portraits of other famous Swedes from 16th-18th century. The mosaic table was a gift from the Pope Pius IX in 1870s and the large malachinte empire urns were gifts from Russian Tsar Nicholas I.
The Empire Salon was originally Duke Fredrik Adolf’s antechamber, but is now a salon. The chairs and softs are in Swedish Empire style, made for Prince Osker I and Josefina for their wedding in 1823.
The Margereta Room was a room with quite low hanging ceiling. However, it is known for the artwork painted by Crown Princess Margareta, first consort of Gustaf VI Adolf. It is joined the Inner Salon, which is in Pompeian style and was inspired by the archelogical finds of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Just through the doors is the Inner Bedchamber, which was originally used by Fredrik Adolf’s valet. Today it is often used by visiting heads of state, if they don’t wish to use the Great Bedchamber.
The Great Bedchamber is today sued as a guest apartment, just as it originally used when Prince Fredrik Adolf resided here. It has been restored to its original colours and contains original antique furnishings.
The Meleager Salon is today used for offical gifts and orders of chivalry for state visits. The tapestries depict the tragic classic tale of Prince Meleager and were made in Brussels for Ulrika Eleonora’s dowry in 1680.
The State Apartments
At this point we entered a hall, which took us to the State Apartments. These are used by the King and Queen when they are entertaining guests, gala banquets, cabinet meetings and offical ceremonites. It was previously used by Gustav III and Karl XIV Johan for residential purposes.
The First Guardroom was used in the 18th century to house the royal miltary guards. It has baroque furniture, typcial of the era. In the cabinets there is 18th century European procelain from Meissen, which was just gorgeous.
The following room is another Guardroom, whic hwas used by the body guards to protect the monarch, during Gustav III and Karl XIV resign. There are marble statues of Swedish kings, as well as more cabinets with ordiments and diaramas. The older Tre Kronor Castle was destroyed in May 1697 by fire, but this is how it would have looked before that. Later we will visit the Tre Kronor Castle in the bowels of the palace.
The Council Chamber is another splendid room which is used a few times a year for Cabinet meetings. It has the most enormous chandeliers and yellow and blue explosed panels were designed by Axel Nyström in 1826.
The Audience Chamber was originally meant to be a state bedchamber, but was instead used as a room for Gustav III to hold audiences. The exquisite ceiling was painted by Jacques Foucquet and René Chauveau around 1700. In the centre there is the lovers, Venus and Mars.
Gustav III’s State Bedchamber was used a sthe bedchamber and where Gustav III held reception during his morning toilette. He actually died in the room, after being shot by masked ball in the opera house in 1792. The ceiling was also painted by Jacques Foucquet and René Chauveau and depicts the upbringing of Karl XII.
Perhaps the most exquisite room in the palace is Karl XI’s Gallery. It is designed in Swedish baroque. It is often used for banquets and long tables are placed in the centre, seating 170 guests. It was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles and each window corresponds with the mirror on the adjacent wall.
The next room we came across was Sofia Magdalena’s State Bedchamber, furnished by Jean Eric Rehn in 1770s. The ceiling depicts Mother Svea and females of the four continents of Europe, Asia, Africa and America.
The Don Quixote Room was perhaps more beautiful exciting in the last room. It has tapestries adorning the walls, telling the story of Don Quixote and were made in Paris.
The last room we saw in the State Apartments was The White Sea. This room is so gorgeous, colourful and airy. It is used as a large salon, when banquets are held in Karl XI’s Gallery. It has oak parquet floor and beatiful ceiling paintings by Domenico Francia and Guillaume-Thomas Raphael Taraval.
So that was the end our our visit to the Royal Apartments. At this point we gave back our audio guides and moved on to the next part of our visit.
Museum Tre Kronor
The next part of our visit was visiting the Museum Tre Kronor, which is underneath the Royal Palace. Here you can see some of the original parts of the castle and learn about the fire of 1697, which ravaged the palace.
The fire was originally started in the Hall of State attic and five people were immediately including the Chief Fire Watcher and his assistants. All were released except the Chief and two assistant, who were sentenced to death. The King decided to communte the sentence to running the gandet seven times and six years hard labour. This punishment had the prisoner running between two lines of solders and beaten with sticks. Only one of the assistants survived this punishment.
Its not all doom and gloom down here. There are also reproduced historical costumes, which would have been worn by people living between 1250 and 1697. There are also items saved by the fire, like Queen Dowager Hedvig Elenora desk. Archaelogical discoveries have been made, which found animal skeletons, which would have been on the menu. Octavia had fun dressing as a little soldier too.
Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities
The last part of our ticket to the Royal Palace Museum was the Gustav III’s Antikmuseum. We actually had to enter from the side of the building and present our tickets inside. Here we saw the classical sculpture from Italy, that were purchased by King Gustav III. Within this museum there are two galleries, which include mostly scuptures and a few contemporary works. If you love Roman sculptures then you will probably enjoy this museum, otherwise it does feel a little out off place in a Swedish museum. This museum does have an audio guide, which is helpful to understand the significance of what you are seeing.
I hope you enjoyed this tour through the Swedish Royal Palace. Next I will take you to the Swedish Historical Museum.