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The annual Trooping the Colours will take place on the 9th of June to celebrate the queen’s birthday. Performed by the regiments of both the British and Commonwealth armies, it’s a tradition observed since the 17th centur. Combined with the Royal Wedding last month, it seems that our interest in all things regal has reached a peak. And where better to indulge your passion than in some of Europe’s most accessible royal palaces and castles? Here are a handful of our favourites, all of which have a connection to our own monarchy.
The official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden is in the country’s grand and alluring capital, Stockholm. Also known as Kungliga Slottet, this is one of the largest royal palaces in Europe, offering five museums to visitors as well as rooms like the Armoury and Rikssalen (Hall of State). It’s found close to the city’s charming Old Town with its winding streets and medieval buildings, Gamla Stan. Built in the 18th century, it showcases an Italian Baroque style of architecture, with opulent façade and large ceiling frescoes.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip last visited the palace in 1983.
Approximately 800 police offers and 2,800 soldiers were on hand to guard the queen. The royals sailed into Stockholm harbour on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, before being rowed to the shore in a gold-gilded barge which cadets had trained for weeks to learn how to sail.
Whenever the royal palace is not in use by the Dutch royal family, the public are invited to explore one of the Netherlands’ most historic and culturally significant buildings. The grand building began as a town hall in the 17th century, at the height of Amsterdam’s powers as a trading nation. At the time, it was the largest secular building in all of Europe, and was nicknamed “the Eighth Wonder of the World”. It was only converted into a palace on the return of Louis Bonaparte. Hundreds of items of luxurious furniture were made in Paris, including plush chairs and decadent chandeliers, all in the “Empire Style”. You can still admire these items in the Palace today.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh last visited the Netherlands in 1958, when they enjoyed a State Banquet hosted by Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard. This dinner was also attended by Crown Princess Queen Beatrix, who shocked the nation in 2013 by abdicating the throne, passing the crown to her son, Willem-Alexander.
The striking Royal Palace of Oslo is the official residence of HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja and is open to the public during the summer. It's distinctive for its clean, neo-classical architectural style and spectacular, sprawling gardens. The palace was originally built for King Carl Johan but was not completed until 1849, after his death. Highlights of your visit include the opulent reception rooms. Embark on a journey through the ever-evolving styles popular during the 25 years the palace was under construction, from romantic to Neo-Rococo.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Royal Palace just a few months ago, in February 2018 as part of their Nordic tour. The trip falls precisely on the 34th anniversary of Princess Diana’s solo visit in 1984.
As the most famous building in St Petersburg, the Winter Palace has also played a hugely important role in its history for over three centuries. It’s distinctive for its Elizabethan Baroque style, characterised by its colourful façade and gold accents. It was home to the Russian Tsars between the 1760s and the early 1900s. It now houses the Hermitage Museum, where you can learn more about the palace’s history. One of the gravest chapters is Bloody Sunday, which took place in 1905. Protestors were fired upon as they marched toward the palace, an event believed to have been the catalyst for the Revolution of 1905.
Queen Elizabeth has only visited Russia once, on a state visit in 1994 – the first reigning British Monarch to do so. She didn't attend the Winter Palace but stayed instead at the Kremlin.
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