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As I was walking through Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town, I realized that the Changing of the Guard ceremony was going to be taking place at the Swedish Royal Palace in an hour or so, but there were already large crowds. While I could walk through the area prior to the ceremony, I couldn’t linger for long.
It was warm & humid thanks to the rainy weather, so rather than hanging around outside at the back of the crowds, I headed inside the Royal Palace instead. Thanks to having a complimentary Stockholm City Pass via TBEX, my entry was free.
The visit to the Royal Palace in Stockholm starts of in the Hall of State, otherwise known as the throne room. In it sits the Silver Throne, which was created in 1650 for Queen Christina.
I generally have mixed feelings about visiting Royal Palaces and other similar sights. They tend to focus more on ornate decor rather than history, so I find myself being disinterested. However, this was not the case at the Swedish Royal Palace in Stockholm. Many of the building’s exhibits focused on history, including famous visitors, as well as a room dedicated to the Royal Order of the Seraphim, which is awarded to foreign heads of state as well as members of the Swedish Royal Family.
Another stop inside the Royal Palace is the Konseljsalen (The Cabinet Meeting Room). Here you can hang out in the same room where the King holds meetings when he is at the Royal Palace. He meets with the cabinet in this council chamber 3 or 4 times a year. One thing you may notice from the photos is that unlike some places, very few of the exhibits and rooms are behind glass or at a long distance.
I realized part way through my visit that the Changing of the Guard would be starting soon. In the middle of the Palace there is a staircase that leads up to a foyer. Across from this staircase, there are a couple of windows where you can look down into the square where the Changing of the Guard takes place. You have to step over a bench to stand by the windows, but the view of the ceremony is great, aside from the fact that you are looking through a wide-gapped net. If you don’t want to wait around outside from the Changing of the Guard in bad weather or crowds, going inside is an option if you can time it right. I watched with a couple of other people who realized what I was doing, and we were never chased away, but you may have worse luck.
The whole Changing of the Guard ceremony lasted about 30 minutes. In addition to the flag handover and guard change, there was a full marching band that performed.
After the Changing of the Guard, I finished my self-guided tour of the Royal Palace. Another room of note is The White Sea, which is used for large banquets.
The next section included the Royal Apartments. While this area of the building did focus on the decor, at least it wasn’t too ostentatious. The wood floors had interesting geometric designs.
There was even a room with modern decor. To celebrate his silver jubilee in 1998, the King Carl XVI Gustaf jubilee room was created.
Despite it being a busy day during the height of summer tourist season, it never felt crowded inside the Royal Palace, even after the Changing of the Guard had ended. Perhaps I was just ahead of the crowds, or they had gone in earlier, but during the ceremony is a good time to be inside. Thanks to its central location in Gamla Stan and natural appeal to visitors who are interested history and/or royalty, the Royal Palace of Stockholm is worth a visit, even if you’re someone who perhaps doesn’t usually enjoy such places.
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