by Scott Mehl
Since 2010, Haga Palace has been the official residence of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her family. Located in Haga Park, in Solna Municipality just north of Stockholm, the palace was originally built in 1802-1805 under the direction of King Gustaf IV Adolf. At the time, he and his family used Gustav III’s Pavilion as a summer home, and the King felt it was too small for his growing family. He had a new building erected, just to the north, which was intended to house his children. Initially known as the Queen’s Pavilion, it would later become known as Haga Palace. The building was completed in 1805 but was not fully furnished until around 1810. With 1500 square meters of living space, the palace was designed to include separate apartments for each of the King’s children (an arrangement which was common at the time, regardless of their young ages).
In 1810, the Swedish government granted permanent rights of use of the palace to the new King Carl XIII, and for many years it remained a royal residence. In the 1820s, it became the summer home of Crown Prince Oscar (later King Oscar I) and Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg; and in the 1860s, was renovated for his son, Prince August and Princess Therese of Saxe-Altenburg, who would remain there until her death in 1914. Several years later, the palace was used to house children left homeless and orphaned after World War I.
After an extensive renovation, Haga Palace returned to royal use in 1932 when it became the official residence of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and his new wife, Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (the parents of the current King Carl XVI Gustaf). Over the next 15 years, the couple had five children who were all born at the palace.
Prince Gustaf Adolf was killed in a plane crash in 1947, and in 1950, Princess Sibylla and her children left Haga and moved to the Royal Palace of Stockholm. After remaining empty for some time, King Gustaf VI Adolf formally returned the rights of use back to the Government, and Haga Palace became an official guest residence for visiting heads of state and other government officials. However, it was not used very often for this purpose, and in later years was used for meetings and conferences more than anything else.
Following the engagement of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling in 2009, the Prime Minister announced that rights to the property would be returned to the Royal Court, as a wedding present for the couple. In addition, the allocation to the Royal Court for maintaining royal properties was also increased.
The palace underwent extensive renovations, as did the surrounding grounds. An area of about 8 acres was enclosed with an iron fence and high-tech security features were installed to ensure the privacy and safety of the new residents. Once all the work was completed, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel moved into Haga Palace on November 15, 2010.
One feature in the grounds which remained is a small playhouse which had been a gift from King Gustav V to his great-grandchildren not long before his death in 1950. The playhouse is still in use today by Princess Estelle.
The private quarters of the Crown Princess and her family are located on the first and second floors. In addition, a series of rooms on the first floor facing the front of the palace are also used for official functions. These include a large salon (the Grand Room) in the center, with a living room to the north, and a library and dining room to the south. In 2013, The Royal Court released several photos of these rooms.
Haga Palace is located in the larger Haga Park, which encompasses over 355 acres. The park was originally developed by King Gustav III who had purchased the old Haga farm in 1771. He established a large park (doubled in size in 1785 with the purchase of an adjoining farm), and built several buildings prior to his assassination in 1792. His plans for a large summer palace were never completed, and the ruins of the foundations of the palace still remain.
Other notable features of the park include:
Gustav III’s Pavilion was built for King Gustav III in the late 1780s. A previous building on the site was incorporated into the design, forming the central part of the pavilion, while two single-story wings were added. King Gustav III took up residence in December 1790, even though the construction was not fully completed. The Pavilion was finished several months after the King’s assassination in March 1792. The Pavilion was used by several successive sovereigns, and underwent several major restorations, in the 1840s, and again in the 1930s. Today, it is part of the tours of Haga Park, and houses much of the Gustav III Haga Library.
Across the grounds from Gustav III’s Pavilion are the Copper Tents, built in 1787 to serve as lodgings and stables for the royal guards. A large building is flanked by two smaller ones, all of which are decorated on the front with painted copper sheeting, designed to resemble Turkish tents. Today, the buildings contain a restaurant, a café and the Haga Park Museum.
The Echo Temple was built in 1790 on a hill just next to Gustav III’s Pavilion, to be used for outdoor dining. It was originally called the Green Room, but was later renamed the Echo Temple due to the echo which is generated by the vaulted ceilings. Currently, it is part of the tour of Haga Park, and is often used for wedding ceremonies.
After the death of Crown Princess Margareta (Margaret of Connaught) in 1920, she was temporarily interred at the Stockholm Cathedral. However, her wishes were that she not be interred in a church, and an area of Haga Park was cleared to be used as royal cemetery. She was interred there in 1922, and since then it has become the traditional burial place for many of the Swedish royal family. Those buried there are:
- King Gustaf VI Adolf, Queen Louise and Crown Princess Margareta
- Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla
- Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian
- Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg
- Count Sigvard Bernadotte of Wisborg
- Prince Carl Bernadotte and Princess Kristine Bernadotte
- Count Carl Johan Bernadotte of Wisborg
Learn more about the other Swedish Royal Residences here!