Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Changing of the Guard

Högvakten protecting the palace
My brother tells a merry tale about trying to see the changing of the guard at Stockholm's Tre Kronor palace.  Traffic was miserable, and parking non-existent in the old town area of the city.

He finally had to let the kids out of the car to see the guards just so they could have the experience, and park many blocks away - barely making it back on time to see the end of the ceremony.

Usually saying the  'changing of the guard' evokes images of the red coats and tall hats of the Queen of England's Buckingham Palace Coldstream guards.  In Sweden the palace is guarded by a royal guard comprised of members of the Swedish Armed Forces called the Högvakten.

The Royal Palace, or Kungliga Slottet, in Stockholm, Sweden is the official residence of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.  It is a major royal palace.

The actual residence of the King and Queen is at a palace named Drottningholm.  

Don't you wish you could say that?  Yes, this place that I live in, that's just my "official" residence.  My actual home is a castle...

The Stockholm Palace is located on an island in the old town, or Gamla Stan part of Stockholm.  It was originally called "Tre Kronor" or 3 crowns, because of its towers.  Although the towers all burned down in a terrific fire in the 1600s, and the 'new' building doesn't have towers at all, the name stuck.

The Royal Palace in Stockholm from the neighboring church
There has been a royal palace or fortress here at this site since the 13th century.  The original fortress was built to defend lake Mälaren.  
The Royal Palace seen from behind
This palace has 1,430 rooms, 660 with windows, and is one of the largest royal palaces in the world still in use for its original purpose.

The Bernadotte Gallery
In the 1800s, the Swedish people asked Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's celebrated generals, to come be their king.  This Frenchman took the name of King Carl Johan, or Charles XIV John.

He initially brought his wife, Désirée, with him.  She was never particularly happy in Sweden and found excuses to return to her native France, but their son Oscar considered himself Swedish and founded the Bernadotte line that still rules Sweden.

Désirée Clary
She was the daughter of a Marseilles merchant family
The Bernadotte Kings ruled Sweden and Norway until the peaceful dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.

The offices of the King, the other members of the Swedish Royal Family, and the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden are located in the Stockholm Palace.

The King's Council Chamber
The palace is used by the King for performing his duties as the Head of State.

The Meleagers Salon
I love the Aubusson wall hangings!  Just one of those could fund me for the rest of my life.... sigh.

The Salon of Pillars
The palace has obviously been renovated a few times in its ancient history.

Vita Havet
All I can think of, looking at these pictures, is (1) how many people it would take to keep this palace with its 1,430 rooms maintained and (2) what great parties we could have here!

Hope you've enjoyed seeing these glimpses of a Swedish Royal Palace!

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