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CoronavirusHistoryHistoryPalaces & BuildingsSweden

Taking a look at Stenhammar Palace – the Swedish Royal Family’s ‘Corona Palace’


PHOTO: BENGT NYMAN/CC BY-SA 4.0/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, many royal families have had to live their lives quite differently. The same applies to the Swedish Royal Family. King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia decided to temporarily move from Stockholm Palace to the smaller Stenhammar’s Palace. Let us take a look at this rather unknown Swedish castle which is now the Swedish royal family “corona” palace.

Stenhammar’s Palace lies in Flens parish in the county of Södermanland, south of the capital of Stockholm. The estate covers 2,000 hectares of land, of which 1,200 hectares consists of forest.

Stenhammar Palace. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The property has been known to exist since the 1300s. The estate was, in the late Middle Ages, developed by Laurens Birgersson and his sons. In the 16th century it was sold to Jöns Arp, a member of the royal council of that time. Through his daughter Carin’s marriage the estate came to the Rosenhane family. It was this family who erected the palace building we can see today.

The main building consists of two floors with several towers and was erected in 1658 after drawings by Jean de la Vallée and got its present appearance in the mid-19th century by architect Abraham Nyström. Parts of the facade were renovated in 2003. In addition to the main building itself, there is a large property portfolio of about 150 buildings.

Prince Wilhelm in his library at the Palace in the mid-60s. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Military Marshal Robert von Kræmer inherited the castle in 1870. Like his grandfather, he put great effort into improving the estate. When he made his decision to donate Stenhammar after his death to the Duke of Södermanland, he did so with good conscience to have created a worthy royal residence. Since that time it was decided that the castle would be used as a residence for all the future Dukes of Södermanland, the Duchy that the castle lies in.

When Marshal Robert von Kræmer died in 1903 the Duke of Södermanland was His Royal Highness Prince Wilhelm of Sweden, son of King Gustav V. He took over the Palace as his main residence that same year. The prince lived at the Palace from 1903 until his death in 1965. During his time, Stenhammar became a literary centre, especially since the prince in 1918 devoted himself completely to authorship where Stenhammar played a prominent role. At the castle, the most important literary personalities of the time were gathered.

Stenhammar Palace. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Following the death of Prince Wilhelm there  was no other Duke of Södermanland. Therefore, following Prince William’s death in 1965, the then Crown Prince, later Carl XVI Gustaf, took over the lease of the palace for life. Today, modern agriculture and forestry is conducted on the property. Stenhammar has had extensive animal husbandry since 2005 and is known for its breeding of bulls.

The Royal family has since then used the palace in weekends as it lies close to the capital. And now the Palace has been written into history as the royal “corona”-palace as the King and Queen of Sweden has decided to use the palace at its main residence during the pandemic.

Prince Alexander, the first son of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, was on his birth in 2016 made the new Duke of Södermanland. Maybe one day it will be him who takes over the palace?

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.