Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Stockholm Royal Palace - The Royal Apartment

Date of visit: 17th October 2015

The Swedish monarchy is one of the oldest in the world. Sweden has had a king for more than a thousand years. The present king, King Carl XVI Gustaf is the seventh King in the Bernadotte dynasty on the Swedish throne. He succeeded his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf on September 15, 1973 as his father died from a plane crash in 1947. The Royal Palace of Stockholm has been where the Majesty, the King's official residence and is also the setting for most of the monarchy's official receptions. The palace is a daily place of work for The King and Queen as well as for the various departments that make up the Royal Court. In other word, the Swedish Royal family resided in below building that is open for tourist most of the time.

This combination of royal residence, workplace and culture-historical monument open year round to visitors makes the Royal Palace of Stockholm quite unique among other Europe's royal residences. The palace is built in baroque style by the architect Nicodemus Tessin and is formed as a Roman palace. It has more than 600 rooms divided between seven floors with a state apartment facing the city and smaller living rooms facing the inner courtyard.

The palace contains many interesting things to see. In addition to the Royal Apartments there are three museums steeped in regal history; the Treasury with the regalia, the Tre Kronor Museum that portrays the palaces medieval history and Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. We visited only 3 and skipped the last one. We discovered one of the Swedish royal guard, in below photo who happened to guard one of the entrance door. When we descended down the cobble stone pavement, we found an entrance to the Tre Kronor museum. The Swedish Royal Guards has been stationed at the Royal Palace since 1523 and is a popular tourist attraction, similar to royal guards at other palace, i.e. in Buckingham Palace in London and in Copenhagen Amalienborg Palace. In Sweden, the military units from all over Sweden take turns to stand guard and the Royal Guard is integral part of the security surrounding the Royal Family and the military forces of Stockholm.

According to the Royal Palace website, during the summer months the parade marches or rides with the military band through the city streets to the outer courtyard of the Palace. Therefore, it would be wiser to come in Summer time. The Royal Apartments at the Palace, i.e. the second place that we visited after the Tre Kronor Museum, are a collective name for the magnificent state rooms that are used at The King and Queen's receptions. There is a banquet hall used to hold gala dinners, cabinet meetings as well as the parliamentary evenings. There is also a guest apartment used as a guest residence for foreign dignitaries on official state visits. The Bernadotte rooms are used at medal presentations and formal audiences.

The well-preserved interior provides historical insight from the 17th century and onwards, where each monarch has left traces of their time spent in the palace. Visitors may see Gustav III's state bedchamber, Oskar II's writing room and the most recently decorated room, King Carl Gustaf's Jubilee Room.

The Royal apartments also include the Hall of State with Queen Kristina's silver throne as well as the Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry, which houses a permanent collection of the regal orders. The part of the Royal Castle that is open to the public is called The Royal Apartments and includes:
  • The Bernadotte Rooms
  • The Banquet Rooms
  • The Guest Apartment
  • Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry
  • The Hall of State

The Royal Apartments is used as a collective term for all the rooms, lounges and halls that are used, even to the present day, by the Royal Family for official representation, receptions, audiences etc. During the occasions when the Royal Family is using these facilities the said rooms will be closed to the public. It is advisable to check your schedule visit with the Royal Court official website schedule.

The Banquet Rooms are used for the Royal Family's official representation, dinners, cabinet meetings etc. They are used in this capacity several times during the year and are then closed to the public. The are totally 9 rooms, halls and lounges. The Guest Apartment are used by visiting Head of States during their stay in Sweden. It is used several times during a year and is then closed to the public. The Guest apartment consist of 8 rooms. 

The Bernadotte Rooms was originally used as the Royal Family private residence. Today its mostly used for receptions and audiences several times during a year and is again closed for the public. The Bernadotte Rooms consist of 15 rooms. The Apartments of the Orders of chivalry was once used by the government and later by the supreme Court. Since 1949 it is used for the 4 main orders in Sweden. The Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry consist of 4 rooms. 

The Hall of State was used for the Parliament meetings between 1755 - 1834. After the move of the Parliament to the permanent Parliament building in 1834, it was still used for the State Opening of the Parliament until 1975. Today its mainly used in some special occasions and also for music performances during the year. 

Remarks: Photo selection  for this entry is quite challenging for me as I have so so many that I wish to share. Secondly, most of the information about the royal palace is referred from the Royal Palace website, which I most recommended for your to explore before your visit for not missing any important things.
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