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Headed by King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife, Queen Silvia, the Swedish royal family may not get as much attention as their British counterparts, but they’re every bit as noteworthy for their controversies, celebrations, and sprawling properties.
Whether they’re ruling Sweden or away on summer vacation, the Swedish royal family has an impressive list of real estate. Some of the properties are famous for their opulence, others for their intriguing design — and one is best known as a former makeshift prison.
As Princess Estelle, King Carl’s oldest grandchild, turns 9 on February 23, here a who’s who of the Swedish royal family and a look at some of their palaces.
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King Carl XVI Gustaf is the ruling monarch of Sweden.
Carl became King in 1973 after his grandfather died. He is married to Queen Silvia, a former flight attendant and trained interpreter whom he met during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The two wed four years later in 1976 and had three children.
Their daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, is the next in line for the throne.
The king changed Sweden’s laws of succession in 1980 to allow his oldest daughter, Victoria, to become the next in line to rule.
She is married to Prince Daniel, and they have two children, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar.
Princess Estelle is second in line for the throne.
She turns 9 years old on February 23.
The king and queen’s only son is Prince Carl Philip. He lives with his wife in a private home, Villa Solbacken.
Carl Philip drew controversy from the public when he announced his engagement to model Sofia Hellqvist. They have two children.
The youngest daughter of Sweden’s royal family is Princess Madeleine.
She is married to a British-American financier, Christopher O’Neill, and they have three children. To cut down the stress of public spending, the king rescinded the children’s royal titles, removing them from the line of succession.
Located in Stockholm, Sweden, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the royal family, though they live elsewhere.
Construction began on the Royal Palace in 1679, but a fire in 1697 burned most of the palace down. The palace continued to be worked on for the next 63 years.
The Royal Palace has more than 600 rooms and is open to visitors all year.
The layout of the palace consists of rows, each symbolic in nature. For instance, the northern row represents the common royal, the southern is symbolic of the nation, the east represents the queen, and the west is the king.
Drottningholm Palace is where King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia actually reside, and it’s where they raised their three children.
The residence, which is 15 miles east of the center of Stockholm, was commissioned by Queen Hedwig Eleonora in the 1600s and built as a Baroque summer palace.
Princess Louisa Ulrika of Prussia was given the palace as a gift when she married the heir to the Swedish throne in 1744.
It is one of best-preserved palaces in Sweden.
Among its extensive features are a park, a theater, and a Chinese Pavilion.
Located on the grounds of the Drottningholm Palace park, the Chinese Pavilion was designed in the 18th century.
In 1753, King Adolf Fredrik built the Chinese-inspired palace as a birthday present for his wife. Over the next decade, the wooden building was replaced by one made of brick. Two pavilions were built as well, and it was finished in 1769.
Over the years, the Chinese Pavilion has undergone both interior and exterior renovations to maintain its original design.
During a renovation in 1996, electricity and fire protection were added to the pavilion.
Haga Palace is where Princess Victoria and her family reside.
Also known as the Queen’s Pavilion, the palace was built in 1802 after being commissioned by Gustav IV Adolf. Built as a villa for the royal family, the palace remained empty for a number of years before it was used to house foreign guests.
Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel moved to the palace in 2010.
Gustav III’s Pavilion is also located in Haga Park.
It was designed by King Gustav III in the 18th century. In addition to the Pavilion, the king had many plans for Haga Park, but he was assasinated in 1792 before they were realized.
The Solliden Palace is a summer residence on the island of Oland.
Solliden, which was built in 1906, is privately owned by King Carl XVI Gustaf, whose net worth is reportedly $70 million.
Solliden is often the location of summer events, such as Victoria Day, which celebrates the Crown Princess’ birthday on July 14. The surrounding park is open to the public.
In 2012, a safe was stolen from Solliden Palace while the king and queen slept, proving that not even the royal family is immune to burglary.
The thieves stole several items from the palace before escaping in a stolen car that was later found in a nearby parking lot.
Gripsholm Castle was built in the 1500s and once housed the royal family.
Gustav III would throw lavish Christmas parties at the estate. It is located in Mariefred, about an hour east of Stokholm, and it reportedly took 95 horses and 21 carts (six to carry the king’s clothes alone) to transport the royal family and their possessions from Stockholm to the castle.
The castle was also used as a makeshift prison for members of the royal family.
In the 1560s, King Erik XIV kept his brother Johan and Johan’s wife prisoner in the castle. In 1571, Johan returned the favor and imprisoned his brother in the castle.
Seven decades later, the castle would become a prison for Queen Dowager Maria Eleonora, who only escaped by disguising herself as one of the middle class. Then in the 1809, Gustav IV Adolf was placed under arrest at the castle for nine months until he abdicated the throne.
Located in Djurgården, Rosendal Palace was built in the 1820s for King Karl XIV Johan.
Rosendal Palace was a summer retreat for members of the royal family to escape the pressures of ruling and court life.
The palace is largely unchanged since it was built the 1820s. It is open to the public each summer.
North of Stockholm, the Rosersberg Palace was built in the 1630s.
Karl XIV Johan and Queen Desideria were the last members of the royal family to live there. The rooms have remained largely untouched from how the royal couple left them in the 1800s.
Parts of the Rosersberg Palace have been turned into a museum and hotel, allowing the public to stay the night.
The hotel has 64 rooms as well as conference rooms and a restaurant.
Located near Vasteras, Stromsholm Palace was built by Queen Hedwig Eleonora, who also built 20 other buildings in the palace grounds.
The royal family would often stop at the palace to sleep overnight when they were traveling southbound. The chapel remains a popular spot for couples to get married.
The Tullgarn Palace was the summer home of King Gustaf V and Queen Victoria during the early 1900s.
The palace was originally built for Duke Fredrik Adolf in the 1770s, and his interior designs are still present today.
Ulriksdal Palace was built in Stockholm in the 1600s.
Several Swedish royalty have made the palace their home including Queen Kristina who built a pleasure garden in the front.