Stockholm

Royal Palace: Royal Apartments and Chapel

Royal Apartments and Chapel Entrance
Royal Apartments and Chapel Entrance

The Royal Apartments and the Royal Chapel of Stockholm’s Royal Palace are two more places in Stockholm where you aren’t allowed take pictures. (If you’ve been reading along in this off-again on-again blog you probably know that us fee-paying tourists aren’t allowed to take pictures in most, if not all palaces in Stockholm.) Damn. The Royals aren’t anywhere where you’re allowed to go so what’s the big deal about pictures?

Maybe there’s some reason for not allowing photographs that escapes me at the moment.

Oh, wait; the moment’s passed. I keep forgetting. The palace has bookshops with picture books for sale. I keep forgetting about the commercial aspect. You let people take pictures and they might not buy the books.

To hell with them. I didn’t buy the books anyway. It’s a good thing I took notes while I was there because I’m way behind in writing this—more than a year after my trip there—and my memory is not as good as it used to be and it was always crap.

Just as an aside, if you want to try to get away with it, I should tell you that I saw a couple of people breaking the no-photos rule without being seen by the plentiful staff. However, one person did get caught. He received a stern talking to, but he wasn’t required to delete the pictures he had already taken. So, it’s up to you whether you want to attempt to be a scofflaw in this regard.

Being a polite, obedient Canadian, I didn’t even try to take pictures. I think if I’m caught being not polite and obedient—particularly when I’m outside of Canada—the Canadian government will revoke my passport. I might be wrong about that, but I don’t want to tempt fate.

II usually separate each place into a separate post in this blog, but the exterior door is the same for both the Royal Palace and the Royal Chapel. You split off for each one only after you get inside. Seeing as thought they wouldn’t let me take pictures inside, all I’ve got in the way of photos is an exterior shot of the not very attractive door, so I decided to combine the apartments and chapel into a single entry. My blog. My rules.

The Royal Apartments

One of the first rooms you come to in the Royal Apartments is a brilliant Hall of State with columns attached to the walls. If I were a scholar of such things I could tell you what type of columns they were, but I’m not, so I can’t. Suffice it to say that they are columns of some sort or another. Rather than being supporting columns, they rise only about two-thirds of the way up to the ceiling. Statues are mounted on ledges on top of the columns.

Located at the back of the hall are some small balconies for goodness knows who. Goodness didn’t share that information with me and I didn’t think to ask

At the front of the Hall of State is a throne made of real silver. It was a gift to Queen Kristina on the occasion of her coronation.  Why do kings and queens get all the good gifts? Then again, I’ve never been coronated.

The Hall also contains rows of blue and yellow upholstered benches. I guess that’s where the rest of the state sits when being looked down upon by the king or queen.

Until 1975, the official ceremonies opening each session of Parliament took place in the Hall of State. That now happens in the Parliament Building.

Beyond the Hall of State are are two levels of royal apartments, including a rather sumptuous meeting room. A few of rooms contain displays of costumes, medals (aka ”orders”, both of old vintages and right up to this year) and commemorative decorations. Don’t ask me what the difference between a medal and a commemorative decoration. They both looked the same to me.

Beyond that is a nicely decorated room with a couple of attractive crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, just for the king’s bodyguards. That is to say, the room is just for the bodyguards, not the chandeliers. However, I imagine the bodyguards are allowed to turn the chandeliers on after dark.

The so-called apartments also contain some beautiful halls (as in “banquet halls,” not as in “the washroom is just down the hall) that are used for different occasions. These rooms too sport lovely pillars.

A sumptuous drawing room is decorated with rich red panels framed by gold-coloured, carved frames. This room contains three big, beautiful chandeliers. Damn. All I have are lamps from IKEA. I get the impression royals live a much different life than the one I live.

Other rooms in the royal apartments include an office, painting gallery, breakfast room, audience chamber and more, all which are decorated in old-world charm.

There’s a “Jubilee Room,” which was assigned to an architect in 1998 to do over in modern Swedish style to mark the king’s silver jubilee. The redone Jubilee Room opened in 2001.

Upstairs, there are state apartments used by the king and queen to entertain guests, along with apartments for those guests. These apartments, include bedchambers (note that they’re bedchambers, not bedrooms, the latter being far too gauche for the royals and their guests), salons and sitting rooms, all again decorated in old-world charm.

As if that’s not enough, there’s also a beautiful, long gallery that has a painted and carved ceiling. The walls on one side sports gold-coloured decorative metalwork mounted on white marble and several mirrors. The other side is similar except where the one side wall has mirrors, the other has windows. There are also beautiful tapestries mounted on the walls on both sides.

Banquets are sometimes held in the gallery. When that happens, a long table running the length of the gallery can be set for up to 170 guests. I’m still waiting for my invitation.

Oh, yeah, because you just can’t entertain enough if you’re a royal, there’s another, much wider banquet hall/ballroom in the state apartments.

The thought that invaded and then pervaded my mind while I was there was was that, when I think of apartments, I tend to think of my little 1000-square-foot condo. These apartments are something completely different.

Royal Chapel

The royals have their own chapel because you wouldn’t want to force them to mix with the riffraff when they’re talking to God, now would you? I mean, what would God think? He’d probably think they were slumming.

The chapel is a tall room with an arched, painted ceiling.

There are large sculptures at the front of the chapel. Those statues are framed by huge columns on either side. There are also statues along the side walls. Columns along the side walls support gold-coloured carvings at their tops. In addition, sculpted gold-coloured figures adorn the peaks of arched window frames.

The pews are made of what looked to me like rather plain wood with upholstered benches.

The floors were patterned and appeared to be made of marble.

All and all, if for some reason you feel the need to pray—and what the hell do royals pray for anyway; more serfs?—this would not be a bad place to do it. Because I’m an atheist, I doubt I’ll get an invitation to pray here. Then again, not being a royal or even an acquaintance of a royal is probably an impediment as well.

Been there? Done that? Do tell.