The magic of a royal palace is something that has always intrigued me. Having seen the inside of Buckingham Palace as a teenager, I already have a set benchmark of the grandeur I expect. Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen is one of the royal palaces, not the official residence of Queen Margarete II, but used for official business. The Folketinget (Danish parliament) is also based there.
Even though I have lived in Copenhagen for nearly 2 years now, I never thought of Christiansborg Palace as a place where the Royals spent time. It was always just the parliament building to me. It wasn’t until I began planning my mother-in-law’s visit, a few months ago, that the true magnificence of the palace was revealed to me.
My search brought to light that the Queen regularly uses the palace to host gala dinners or for state visits and that there are many beautifully designed rooms to explore. However, there was just one thing that really stood out to me, The Queens Tapestries. The desire to see these was what finally led to the purchase of some tickets.
There are a vast number of rooms to see, so leave yourself the best part of a day to explore. The first room that caught my eye was The Queen’s Library that houses her private book collection. The books are displayed in beautifully crafted bookcases with glass fronts. There was also an upper level partitioned by a golden bannister with intricate detailing. Definitely something I could imagine in my dream home!
As we finally made it to the entrance of The Great Hall, we were immediately hit by the extravagance. Not only of the room but also the 11 tapestries hanging around the room. Gifted to the Queen for her 50th birthday, the tapestries capture over 1000 years of Danish history. Although intended for her 50th birthday, the tapestries took 10 years to complete. This meant they were only brought to the palace and actually given to the Queen on her 60th birthday.
The level of detail on each and every tapestry is remarkable. As my mother-in-law and I admired each one in awe, we wondered how on earth they had been made. It was until I sat down to write this post that I discovered the process. The Danish artist, Bjørn Nørgaard, painted the sketches, onto which the tapestries were woven. It was interesting to pick out the different historical stories within the tapestries. At one point, my mind wandered and I thought “Is anyone else thinking – where’s Wally?!” 😀 If you know, you know!
We continued to work our way through one grand room after another, from The Velvet Room and Dining Room to The Throne Room. Each one just as impressive as the last. There was also The Royal Kitchen and The Royal Stables outside the palace, which took us back in time. The kitchen was set up as it would have been during Christian X’s rule from 1912 to 1947 and replicated the atmosphere typically felt when preparing for huge gala dinner. As well as housing the horses, the stables also had the different horse-drawn carriages on display that have been used for official public events in the past.
You might think that there couldn’t be anything more to see but the final exhibit was the ruins under the palace. This time you get the chance to see the old foundation of the palace and discover how it was used as a defence tool before being incorporated into the new foundation. I couldn’t believe that the palace has been built three times after being destroyed by fire twice!
There is a lot to see, but if you find yourself in Copenhagen and royal palaces are your thing, I would definitely recommend a visit 🙂