Augustenborg Palace is a Danish palace, located in the south of Denmark, near Sønderborg. The palace has previously been owned by some prominent members of the Danish Royal Family, and many members of both the Swedish and Norwegian royal families have close links with this building.
The palace is named after Duchess Augusta. Duchess Augusta was the wife of Ernst Günther, the first Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sønderborg-Augustenborg. Duchess Augusta and her husband were first-cousins, and both of them belonged to the House of Oldenburg.
Duchess Augusta and Duke Ernst Günther’s descendants owned the palace from 1651 until 1852. During this period, many prominent people resided there. Some of the Scandinavian royals who originate from Augustenborg Palace are:
- Duchess Augusta, the person that the palace is named after, was the great-granddaughter of His Majesty King Christian III of Denmark and Norway.
- Her Majesty Queen Caroline of Denmark-Norway was born and raised at the palace. She was the second wife of His Majesty King Christian VIII.
- Prince Christian August of Augustenborg. He was born and raised in the palace, as well. In 1809, he was appointed Crown Prince of Sweden but died before becoming King. Prince Christian August also the brother of Queen Caroline of Denmark and Norway.
The building that stands as Augustenborg today is not the original one. The first one was demolished sometime before 1770. Between 1770 and 1776, the work began to build a much larger and more beautiful palace, and this is the building we see there today. It consists of a number of larger buildings and smaller summer houses. The palace also has a vast courtyard and an impressive garden constructed in a minimalist style.
The last person from the original family who lived in Augustenborg Palace was Duke Christian August. He also participated as commander during the three-year war between Denmark and Prussia. During this war, the palace was taken by the Danish military who used it as a hospital. After Denmark lost the war, the building became German property under the Kingdom of Prussia. They used it as a school for women.
First, in 1885, the palace was given back to the Schleswig-Holstein-Sønderborg-Augustenborg family. Duke Fredrik Christian preferred to stay at Gråsten Palace and allowed the Germans to continue to have a school at the palace. When the area became Danish again in 1920, the Duke gave all his possessions to the Danish state. The building was empty for nine years before a psychiatric hospital was established there; it is still there today.
A small museum and art gallery at the palace have recently been established, which today is a major tourist attraction. In addition, the old palace church has been restored, and it is possible to visit it. The gardens are also kept in order and act as recreation areas for hospital patients. Parts of the park were converted into a sculpture park in 2009 and are open to the public.