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The Royal Apartments at the Royal Castle in the Old Town of Stockholm

The Royal Apartments consists of the Hall of State, the Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry, the Bernadotte Apartments, the State Apartments and the Guest Apartments. The Royal Apartments makes up the greater part of the Royal Castle together with the Royal Church and the 4 museums and the Bernadotte Library, all open to the public.

Image of the Royal Apartments
Gustav III's State Bedchamber in the State Apartment. © Royal Court.

Please note that this section of the Web Site is only about the Royal Apartments. There is much more information about the Royal Castle and it's to be found at:

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LAT = 59.326338, LONG = 18.072274

Info about the Royal Apartments at the Royal Castle in the Old Town

The Royal Apartments takes up most of the space inside the Royal Castle, the main entrance is by the south arch (see the map at the bottom of this page) were also the tickets can be purchased. For up-to-date information about the Royal Apartments open hours etc. please visit their Web Site available by the Home Page button above.

The Royal Castle or the Royal Palace as it's also is called is owned by the Swedish state and not the Royal Family. The Royal Family has the right to use the castle according to a law from 1809 and today it's used as the office for the Royal Court, approx. 200 persons is working there a normal day. The Royal Court supports the King of Sweden in his duties as the Head of State.

The main part of the Royal Castle is open to the public and this was something that started in Milano and Rome in the mid-18:th century with the Uffizi Galleries and the museum Pio-Clementino. At the time of the French revolution the demand from the people to get access to collections bought by public means became very strong and resulted in many of the Royal collections at the Royal Castle opened for the public. When Queen Sofia of Nassau died in 1913 the Bernadotte and State Apartments opened for the public to visit.

The Royal Apartments are still used by the Royal Family for official representations at state visits and other occasions. During these occasions the Royal Apartments are closed for visitors and it's announced at the Royal Court Web Site.

At the Cutaway drawing below you can see the main floors of the Royal Castle when clicked on the buttons below the drawing. The colour code at each floor is explained in the subline beneath the drawing.

The Royal Castle
Cutaway of the Royal Castle. © www.stockholmOldTown.se. The Royal Castle has 7 floors in total. Lower Basement, Basement, Ground Floor, The Mezzanine Floor, 1:st Floor, 2:nd Floor and the Atic.

 

 

The Hall of State (Mezzanine floor - 2:nd floor)

Image of the Hall of State

The Hall of State

The Hall of State takes up the whole part of the western part of the main buildings south row (see the cutaway drawing above at the red dot) and stretches from the mezzanines floor all the way up to the attic.

The Hall of State is use today mostly for official occasions and for concerts. The official reception for the kings 50, 60 and 70:th years birhtday celebrations were hold in this hall.

The Hall of State is designed by the Royal Castle architect Nicodemus Tessin junior in Baroque style regarding the lower part. This is where the two large statues of King Karl XIV Johan (to the left) and King Gustav II Adolf (to the right) can be seen at each side of the silver throne at the front of the hall.

The silver throne is made of silver in Baroque style by the artist Abraham Dentwett in 1650. It was a gift from Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie to the Queen Kristina at her coronation. The last time the silver throne was used was at the inauguration of King Carl XIV Gustaf in 1973.

The upper part of the Hall of State is designed by the later Royal Castle architect Carl Hårleman in Rococo style. Up there you can see 20 sculptures, 10 children sculptures and 10 female sculptures.

The Cupids at the Hall of State

The 10 Children sculptures (the Cupids groups) starting at the southeast corner are representing "The Wisdom", "The Obedience" , "The Trade", "The Farming", "The Fertility", "The Vigilance", "The Unity", "The Art", "The Peace" and "The War". The image above shows "the Wisdom".

The Hall of State female sculptures

The 10 female sculptures starting from the southeast corner are representing "The Integrity", "The Caution", "The Fidelity", The Religion", "The Charity", "The Bravery", "The Trade", "The Farming", "The Strenouous" and "The Truth". The image above shows "The Trade".

 

The Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry (1:st floor)

Image of the Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry

The Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry

The Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry are located at the 1:st floor at the southern part of the west row (see the cutaway drawing above at the red dot). They are accessed from the Hall of State for visitors to the Royal Apartments. It's 4 rooms and they are opened to the public since 1993 and contains permanent exhibitions about the 4 Orders of Chivalry.

The Hall of the Seraphim Order is the first room from the south and it's not just a museum but has a day-to-day function. In this room is the Seraphime shields of all living persons that has been awarded the Order. When a person dies the Seraphim Shield representing that person is moved to the Riddarholm church where all the Seraphim Shields of dead persons awarded the Order are kept.

Once this was the finest order a person could get but today it's only given to Head of States without any request for achievements and the Royal Family themselves.

The Hall of the Order of the Sword is the next room from the south. This Order is not active any longer. Once this Order was awarded persons for bravery in battle or at sea. In the room you can also read the history of the Swedish Nobility.

The Hall of the Order of the Polar Star is the third room from the south. Once this Order was awarded to Swedish and non-Swedish citizens for achievement in the filed of science but today it's only awarded to Swedish citizens for extraordinary achievements for Sweden.

The Hall of the Order of Vasa is the fourth and last room. This Order is not active any longer. Once this Order was awarded to people for achievements in agriculture, mining, technical development, trade and culture.

 

The Bernadotte Apartments (1:st floor)

Image of the Berndaotte Gallery at the Bernadotte Apartments

The Bernadotte Apartments

The Bernadotte Apartments are located at the 1:st floor the northern part of the main building (see the cutaway drawing above - blue colour). The main entrance for the public is by the west stairwell.

When the Royal Castle was designed it was the top floor that was intended as the living quarters for the Royal Family. However, when the King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika moved to the Royal Castle in 1754 it was to this apartment. The smaller rooms facing the inner Court Yard was used as more private room for sleeping, breakfast, working, restrooms etc. and with a few exceptions these rooms are not open to the public.

The Bernadotte Apartment is divided into two half's, each a mirror of the other. The west half was the Kings apartment and the east part was the Queens apartment. There is a small room between the two apartments and that room was called the Connecting room.

Today the Bernadotte Apartments consist of 15 room and the area is approx. 2 500 square meters (27 000 square foot). Besides being a museum the rooms are also used for audiences, medal ceremonies and the meetings of the Foreign Policy Council. The rooms are:

The Guard Room (West) which was used as a guard room by the Royal Guard once, the room has a simpler decor.

The Royal Dragoon Room (West) was also used as a guard room but only when the King was in the apartment since the Royal dragoons were the Kings lifeguards. The room is more lavished ornated than the ordinary guard room with the sculpture busts of King Fredrik I and Adolf Fredrik by the artist Jacques Philipe Bourchardon. There is also a great painting picturing King Karl XIV Johans coronation at the Stockholm Cathedral 1818 by the artist Per Krafft.

The Pillared Hall
The Pillared Hall. Photo by Holger Ellgaard 2011.

The Pillared Hall has got its name from the 12 ionic columns (pillars) in the room. The ceiling painting pictures Mother Svea and the four seasons and is painted by Alessandro Ferretti in 1737. In the room there are also the statues of Apollo and Venus by the artist Tobias Sergel. The Pillared hall was originally King Adolf Fredrik dining room but is today used for awarding medals by the King.

The Victoria Salon
The Victoria Salon. Photo by unknown.

The Victoria Salon has got its name from that it was earlier called the Victory Salon after King Gusta III''s victory over the Russians in the naval battle of Svensksund in 1790. The Salon is dominated by the two very large crystal chandeliers made in Vienna in 1860 and the very large handmade carpet of 160 square meter (1 700 square foot) from 1867. In the Salon there is also a cabinet with blue Sévere porcelain which was a gift from Napoleon III to King Karl XV in 1863.

The West Octagonal Cabinet contains one of the best preserved 18:th century decor's in the Royal Castle. It was originally intended as a reading room for the king.

King Oscar II writing-room
King Oscar II writing-room. Photo by Alexis Daflos © Royal Court.

King Oscar II writing-room was originally the bedchamber of King Adolf Fredrik, it's facing the inner Court Yard which all the more private rooms do. Today the room is keep in the same order as it was during the 19:th century when King Oscar II used it as his writing room. The organ is the room was used by King Oscar II himself. This room was also the first with electricity (1883) and a telephone (1884).

King Oscar II breakfast room is the room where King Oscar II and Queen Sofia had their breakfast together. This room is located between the two half's of the Bernadotte Apartments and once was called the connecting room. The room is highly ornated with painted wooden panels etc.

The Bernadotte Gallery (see the large image above) is the largest room in the Bernadotte Apartments and was at the beginning called the Small Gallery (The Large Gallery was the present Karl XI Gallery at the State Apartments at the 2:nd floor). The Bernadotte Gallery has 7 large windows and at walls there are painting of the Bernadotte family by order of date, starting from the west side of the Gallery with King Karl XIV Johan to King Gustav V at the east side.

There are a lot of other items in the Gallery as King Karl XIV Johan's Marshal rod from his time as a Marshal in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Jubilee romm
The Jubilee Room. Photo by Alexis Daflos © Royal Court.

The Jubilee Room reflects the modern era under King Carl XIV Gustaf and the decor was a gift to the King and Queen at the Kings 25-years anniversary in 1998 by the Swedish Parliament. In the room there are also modern paintings of the King and Queen and several paintings from the county of Jämtland by the artist Björn Wessman.

The East Octagonal Cabinet contains one of the best preserved 18:th century decor's in the Royal Castle together with the West Octagonal Cabinet. The room was originally the "Day Room" for the Queen were she could talk, consort and sew with her friends. At present this room is used by His Majesty the King for receiving foreign ambassador's at their inauguration.

Queen Lovisa Ulrikas audience room
Queen Lovisa Ulrikas audience room. Photo by Holger Ellgard 2011.

Queen Lovisa Ulrikas audience room was used by Queen Lovisa Ulrika to receive visitors and at her time the Queens throne was placed in this room. The Queens throne was one of the two thrones for the coronation of King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1751 and they were made by the artist Jaques Adrien Masreliez.

Queen Lovisa Ulrikas drawing-room was the room were the people waited for being received in the audience-room. The painting in the room, Madonna with the child, is made by the artist Piero di Cosimo in 1490.

Queen Lovisa Ulrikas dining room
Queen Lovisa Ulrikas dining room. Photo by Holger Ellgaard 2011

Queen Lovisa Ulrikas dining room is the room where King Carl XVI Gustaf awarding medals to persons that have done special achievements within the field of culture. There are two large paintings in the room picturing King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika made by the artist Antoine Pesne in Berlin 1754.

The Royal Dragoon Room (East) was used as a guard room but only when the King was in the apartment since the Royal dragoons were the Kings lifeguards. Today the room is a continuation of the Karl XI Gallery with paintings of the Bernadotte family from 1930 and onwards. Here are the famous paintings of the King and Queen made by the artist Nelson Shanks famous for his paintings of the Pope John Paul II (200) and Princess Diana (1994).

The Guard Room (East) is no longer available for the public.

 

The Guest Apartments (2:nd floor)

Image of The Guest Apartments

The Guest Apartments

The Guest Apartments are located at the 2:nd floor in the western part of the main building (see the cutaway drawing above at the red dot).

From the beginning the rooms in today's Guest Apartments where meant for Duke Fredrik Adolf who was only 4 years old when the Royal Family moved to the Royal Castle. He had to wait another 16 years before he could move in to the rooms and he came to stay there until 1800 when he was 50 years old. After that the rooms remained empty or unused by anyone until 1844.

In 1844 King Oscar I is inaugurated as the new king after his father's (King Karl XIV Johan) death and the unused rooms at the 2:nd floor of the western part of the main building is now designated as official guest rooms. When he dies in 1872 the rooms gets the official status as the Guest Apartments and are used for visiting Head of States or other Royal family members. The rooms in the Guest Apartments are:

The Small Bedchamber is facing the inner Court Yard and to be used by a Head of State when he/she prefer not to sleep with its spouse. This room is designed in Gustavian style and is not always available to the public.

The Great Bedchamber
The Great Bedchamber. Photo by unknown 1950.

The Great Bedchamber is only used when a visiting Head of State is accompanied by the spouse and the sleep together. If not, the Small Bedchamber or Inner Bedchamber will be used as bedroom. The room is designed in 18-th century colour scheme and tapestry. The painting in the room pictures the son of King Gustav IV, Gustav (1799-1877), and its one of the very few at the Royal Castle of him. He is still regarded as the rightful King of Sweden instead of the first Bernadotte (Karl XIV Johan) and that is most likely the reason.

The Inner Bedchamber is used when a visiting Head of State travels alone. The room is facing the inner Court Yard and is designed in Gustavian style with a sleeping cubicle. The furniture comes from the early 19:th century.

The Meleager Salon
The Meleager Salon. Photo by unknown.

The Meleager Salon has got its name from the Greek mythology and the hero "Meleager". The is the guest audience room where other visitors i.e. are received. The Salon has tapestry on the walls that was a part of the dowry for Queen Ulrika Eleonora in 1681 and was saved at the great fire in 1697 when the old Royal Castle burnt down.

The great painting pictures the birthplace (house) of King Karl XIV Johan in Pau in southern France. The artist was Maria Asplund that visited Pau in 1888.

The Inner Salon
The Inner Salon. © Royal Court

The Inner Salon is for a visiting Head of State personal use for less formal meetings, writing letters, reading etc. The room is designed in Pompeiian style from the excavations of Pompeii in the 18:th century.

The Empire Salon
The Empire Salon. Photo by unknown 1950.

The Empire Salon has gotten its name from the large porcelain vases which was a gift from the Russian tsar Nikoli I to King Karl XIV Johan in 1838, a poor replacement for Finland that they took 29 years earlier.

Between the large windows is the painting of King Ludvig XV by the artist Louis-Michael Loo that was given to the Duke Fredrik Adolf at this visit to Paris in 1771.

The Margareta Room has gotten its name from King Carl XVI Gustaf's grandmother, the Crown Princess Margareta of Connaught. She was an accomplished painter and a number of her paintings hang at the walls of the room.

The Guard Room was used as a guard room by the Royal Guard once. There are 3 paintings in the room pictures King Karl X Gustav, King Karl XI and King Karl XII.

 

 

The State Apartments (2:nd floor)

Image of The State Apartments

The State Apartments

The State Apartments are located at the 2:nd floor in the northern part of the main building (see the map marked with green colour and a red dot).

The State Apartments were originally intended for the use of the King and Queen but when King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika moved in at the Royal Castle in 1754 they preferred the Bernadotte Apartments. The first to stay here were instead the Crown Prince Gustav (King Gustav III) and the Crown Princess Sofia Magdalena from 1766.

The State Apartments today are a museum but are still used by the Royal family for larger receptions, festivities and other special occasions. When that happens the State Apartments are closed for visitors. The total area is 2 600 square meter (28 000 square foot) and the rooms in the State Apartments are:

The Guard Room (West) which was used as a guard room by the Royal Guard once.

The Royal Dragoon Room (West) was also used as a guard room but only when the King was in the apartment since the Royal dragoons were the Kings lifeguards. The room is more lavished ornated than the ordinary guard room. There are 3 marble statues pictures King Gustav II Adolf, King Karl XI and King Karl XIV Johan by the artist Johan Niclas Byström in 1829 in the room that was originally intended for a museum at the Rosendal Castle. The same statues in full size are to be seen at the West Arch.

The Cabinet Room
The Cabinet Room. Photo by Holger Ellgaard 2011

The Cabinet Room was originally King Gustav III's State Dining Room where invited guest could watch him eat. In the room there are tapestries from 1760 pictures the fairy tale Jason and Medea. There are also a number of busts and the great painting o King Karl XIV Johan sitting on a horse by the artist Fredrik Wsetin in 1838.

A number of times per year this room is closed for the public when the Cabinet meetings with the King and the Swedish Government are held in this room. These meeting have also given the room its name.

The Audience Room
The Audience Room. Photo by unknown 1950.

The Audience Room was the room were the King received foreign ambassadors 1771-1818 and this has given the room its name. Today this takes place at the East Octagonal Cabinet of the Bernadotte Apartments.

The room is dominated by the very large tapestry picturing landscapes and was given to the Queen Kristina at her coronation in 1650. If you look closely you will see Queen Kristina's cipher "C".

King Gustav III:s State Bedchamber
King Gustav III:s State Bedchamber. © Royal Court

King Gustav III's State Bedchamber is one of the most extraordinary rooms in the Royal Castle. The idea of a State Bedchamber came as an influence from France and the court of King Louis XIV (The Sun King). In this room King Gustav III received persons while doing his morning toilette. It was also in this room he died after being shot at the masquerade ball in 1792.

The most important piece of furniture in the room is of course the great bed behind the balustrade. Behind the great bed at the wall is the famous tapestry picturing the marriage of Roland and Angelica from "Les fragments d'Opera". The tapestry was made by Les Gobelins 1734-1737 and was a gift from King Louis XVI in 1784.

The ceiling painting pictures King Karl XII growing up under the protection of the Greek mythology gods Apollo, Fama and Hercules. The painting was made by Jacques Foucquet in 1700. The desk belonged to King Gustav III and was made by the great Swedish craftsman Georg Haupt in 1778 and the two large busts on each side of the room pictures King Gustav III (by the artist Tobias Sergel) and King Karl XII (by the artist Philipe Bourchardon) in 1748.

King Karl XI:s Gallery
King Karl XI:s Gallery. Photo by Christopher Marcurak 2008

King Karl XI:s Gallery is the most magnificent room in the Royal Castle and has the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles as its role model. In the Gallery more than 170 persons can have dinner together, it's 47 meter long and the table will be dressed at special occasions with Swedish and Austrian silver from the early 19:th century.

The very large ceiling painting pictures the war against Denmark in 1675-1679 by the King Karl XI, the central part pictures the victory at Lund in 1676 where King Karl XI is portrayed as a Roman Emperor. The painting is made by the artist's Jacques Foucquet and René Chauveau in 1730. At each side of the centre of the Gallery are the two busts of King Karl XI and Queen Ulrika Eleonora made by the artist Philippe Bouchardon. If you look closely you can also see that each bust has a theme. The Theme for the bust of King Karl XI is war and the theme of the bust of Queen Ulrika Eleonora is peace.

The west part of the Gallery is called the "War Cabinet" while the east part of the Gallery is called the "Peacet". The smaller ceiling paintings picture the positive personal characteristics of King Karl XI as a regent and as a person. At several spots in the ceiling painting you can also see the North Star which at the time was a royal symbol.

Queen Sofia Magdalens State Bedchamber is the equivalent of King Gustav III's State Bedchamber where she received persons while doing her morning toilette. This room was designed by the architect Jean Eric Rehn in 1770. The ceiling painting pictures mother Svea surrounded by 4 women symbolising the 4 continents, Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Please note the North Start above mother Svea which was a royal symbol at the time. The paining was made in 1732-1734 by the artist's Guillaume Taraval and Antoine Monnoyer.

The crescent shaped tables are made by Jean Baptiste Masreliez in 1743 and the paintings pictures Queen Josefina's parents, the French general Eugéne de Beauharnais and the Princess Augusta Amalia of Bayern. All the painting are made by the artist Francois Gérade in the early 19:th century.

The Don Quijote Salon
The Don Quijote Salon. Photo by unknown 1940.

The Don Quijote Salon has got its name from the tapestries in the Salon picturing the deeds of hero Don Quijote from the stories of Miguel de Cervantes. The tapestries are made in paris by Les Gobelins in 1770 and was a gift by King Louis XVI to King Gustav III at his visit to France in 1784. If you look closely you can see the cipher of King Louis XVI at the tapestries closest to the windows.

The great ceiling painting is picturing the Roman Mythology Queen Juno surrounded by the 4 winds, Boreas, Zephyrus, Notos and Eurus. The painting was made by the artist Guillaume Taraval in 1735.

The White Sea Hall
The White Sea Hall. © Royal Court

The White Sea Hall is the Royal Castle's ballroom and the origin of the name is not known, but from the beginning this room was made up by two rooms, King Karl XIV Johan's dining room and a guard room. In 1845 the two rooms were joined by King Oscar I who decided not to live in his father's apartment and instead turned it into a State Apartment and then a large hall for festivities was needed.

The White Sea Hall became the ballroom of the Royal Castle where the great parties were held. In the south end of the hall was a balcony constructed for a small orchestra where the cipher of King Oscar I and Queen Josefina is still to be seen. The White Sea Hall was designed by the architect Axel Nyström.

The great ceiling painting in the south part of the hall (former guard room) pictures "The Spoils of Victory" by the artist's Guillaume Taraval and Johan Pasch. The ceiling painting in the north part of the hall (former dining room) pictures "The Triumph of Svea" made by the artist Demencio Francia.

 

The West Stairwell (Ground floor - Atic)

Image of The Western Stairwell

The Western Stairwell

The West Stairwell in located in the centre of the west main building and stretches from the ground-floor up to the attic.

When the architect Nicodemus Tessin junior designed the Royal Castle he created two main stairwells, one in the west part of the main building and one in the east part of the main building. Since the west part of the main building is called the Kings half the west stairwell became known as the Kings stairwell. There are many more minor stairwells in the Royal Castle but these two are the main ones.

The Stairwell is divided into lower and upper part and both have large ceiling paintings. In the lower part the ceiling painting pictures Mother Svea surrounded by the life in the City represented by Poetry, Music, the Arts, Religion, Peace, Wisdom etc. It was painted in 1890-1894 by the artist Julius Ferdinand Kronberg. The ceiling painting in the upper part of the stairwell picture the Nature in the shape of the goddess Aurora. This ceiling painting is also made by Kronberg.

The stairs are made by red limestone from Öland while the balustrades are made of green marble from Kolmården. The lamps are made by the French artist Jacques Philippe Bouchardon in the mid-18:th century.



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