Compared to the photos I have seen of the changing of the guard in London, Stockholm's is a mush more intimate affair. A group of 8 or so of the blue coated guards comically high step it out to the middle of the courtyard. Shouts, in Swedish I presume, are passed back and forth between a couple of the guards. They play with their rifles a bit, march about a little, trying to make it appear as if there is a purpose to what they are doing, one guard leaves his station, another takes his place and that is pretty much it. Admittedly, the lack of grandeur did not keep us from taking pictures of the event.
Assured that the Swedish Sovereign was safe we began our tour of the Swedish Royal Place. Prior to that moment I had the impression that the Swedes were somewhat reserved in the decoration of their surroundings. This notion changed when I stepped into the palace. It is difficult to describe the opulence, perhaps if you imagine the paintings of the Sistine Chapel in your living room, or in this case the palace drawing room, there are several to choose from in the royal residence, you can begin to form a picture.. Walls are covered in silks and tapestries, furnishings are richly gilded and upholstered in silks, velvets and brocades. Two portraits by the Flemish master Franz Hals hang on the walls in one room looking as if they were an afterthought. I could see the queen saying "My aunt gave me the two Hals and she's coming to visit. I have to hang them SOMEWHERE!"
On a grand staircase naked cherubs, cherubic genitals in full view, hold up lanterns. Other naked cherubs cavort across the painted ceiling, I began to feel dirty, really, really dirty.
There is one reception room that appears to be the size of a football field and the main guest room looks as if it could sleep 12 comfortably. It has an adjoining valet's room since one wouldn't want to share a room with the help but wants them close by in case one needs something.
The banquet hall is inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. I was a bit concerned the ceiling, also frescoed to within an inch of it's life, would give way under the weight of the massive chandeliers. In other rooms built in showcases house glassware, some of it dating back to the 17th century, silver, Meissen china, and a multitude of other entertaining necessities.
We make a quick trip underground to see the 14th century foundations of the original palace, it burned in the 1600's. The palace was rebuilt in the 1700's Truthfully this trip was mainly to use the restroom in that area. There seems to be a dearth of public restrooms in the Swedish Capitol. The restroom, to clear up any questions, is modern and does not date from the 14th century.
I left hoping that the monarchs are comfortable in their home and don't ever feel cramped. I was a little disappointed we did not encounter her royal highness in her bathrobe with her hair in rollers. Perhaps next time.