A Palace by Any Other Name

My research on Christiansborg Palace included a confusing maze of names. As the palace serves many purposes, it can be difficult to describe the building and grounds. The palace houses Denmark’s three branches of government and contains rooms, historically and currently, used by the Danish Monarchy. Whatever you call it: castle, palace, slot, or slottholmen, this place is incredible.

The mixture of historic and modern activity within this palace makes it a bustling place. As a house for parliament, government business is conducted during the week. The Royal Reception Rooms are used to host foreign dignitaries and celebrate special occasions, such as New Year and royal birthdays. We visited on a Sunday, so the parliament buildings were closed, but there were visitors coming and going all the time. During the week, parliament members, workers, tourists, and citizens fill the corridors.

This rainy Sunday held a number of activities for our group within the palace walls. The Royal Stable is home to the careful selection of Kladruber breed of white horses from the Czech Republic that drive the carriages for Royal Processions. These horses train like Olympic athletes by driving carriages in the riding arena, grounds, or in the city. It is important to practice for the safety of the Royal Family while they are riding in the carriages. Most of the horses were very friendly and enjoyed a scratch on the neck.

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The Tower gave us a 360 degree view of Copenhagen. While some wished for sun, I found the fog gave a mystic feel to the usually cheerful blues and yellows of the city. In the second picture, you can see the riding arena and paddock area for the Royal Horses.

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Of all the Royal Reception Rooms, the Throne Room is normally considered the finest room in the palace. In this room, when a monarch dies, the new monarch must be announced within 24 hours. The queen receives all newly appointed ambassadors in this room.

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These thrones were saved from the second fire in Christiansborg (For more information on the fires at Christiansborg, see my next blog, “My Trip in Ruins.”). See the lion on the king’s throne? And the griffin on the queen’s throne? The lion symbolizes courage and strength, while the griffin symbolizes wisdom and ingenuity.

We haven’t finished touring the castles, palaces, and slots. Tomorrow, we arrive at Kronborg Castle, the inspirational model for Shakespeare’s castle, Elsinore, in his famous play, Hamlet. To be continued, or not to be continued? Of course, I’ll see you at the palace!

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