Visit Stockholm: a royal city

It is not exactly a fairy tale castle, the Royal palace in Stockholm. But the big squarish looking building in the photo above is actually the Stockholm Palace or The Royal Palace (in Swedish: Stockholms slott or Kungliga slottet).

And no, it is not actually the home of the royal family anymore. The actual residence of the king and queen is at Drottningholm Palace outside Stockholm. But the Royal Palace in Gamla stan holds the offices of the Royal court and is used by the royal family or the king when they are representing Sweden.

The place where this 18th century building is standing today has been the place for a royal castle since the 13th century. The previous castle Tre Kronor (three crowns) was destroyed by a huge fire in the end of the 17th century.

Kungafamiljen. Foto: Anna-Lena Ahlström/

Foto: Anna-Lena Ahlström/

The royal family is headed by king Carl XVI Gustaf and queen Silvia. They have three children – crownprincess Victoria, prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine – and five grandchildren.

Sweden had, for a long time, a very old fashioned order of succession – only men were allowed to become king. But in 1980 it was changed, so that women too could inherit the throne. So the oldest daughter Victoria is now next in line to become queen.

As a visitor, apart from the occasional picture or postcard in the gift shops, I doubt that you will notice very much that Sweden is a monarchy. We don’t even have royals on our money (the bills) anymore. These are other famous Swedes, as Greta Garbo and Astrid Lindgren.

But if you like to learn bit about monarchs and history, I do recommend a trip to the Palace and  the museum in the cellar vaults – The Royal Armoury (Livrustkammaren) – which has old costumes, carriages and all sorts of items connected to the royals from over hundreds of years.

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