Drottningholms slott i snö och sol

Christmas with King Gustaf V

King Gustaf V liked to celebrate Christmas at Drottningholm, where the festivities were more low key. Only three trees were decorated, the Christmas dinner began with ice cream, and the holidays were rounded off with a party for the grandchildren and their friends.

Three Christmas trees stood in the General's Room, austerely decorated with silver balls and candles. The family gathered outside the room and the children lined up in height order, starting with the shortest. Queen Victoria rang the traditional silver bell, and the family were then allowed in to see their present tables. The custom of all the presents being unwrapped – and not only the employees' presents – dated back to Queen Victoria's childhood Christmases in Baden.

Christmas dinner began and ended with ice cream. King Gustaf V enjoyed a more English-style Christmas dinner, with turkey and a flaming plum pudding. He was something of a gourmet, but ate very little himself. A Christmas morning service was held in the Royal Chapel at Drottningholm.

It all ended in disaster when Prince Eugen wanted to join in the game.

Wild games in the palace and the park

The children came up with various games to help pass the time during the long Christmas holidays. In his memoirs, Count Sigvard Bernadotte described how they set up a badminton net in the Hall of State and played in secret. It all ended in disaster when Prince Eugen wanted to join in the game. Dressed in galoshes to avoid sliding on the floor, he jumped around – not entirely gracefully – as he tried to reach the shuttlecock. That evening, the badminton players learnt that the crystal chandeliers on the floor below had swayed so violently that one of the ladies of the court had a glass pendant drop into her afternoon coffee. This put an end to the badminton playing.

The adults spent the days between Christmas and New Year hunting in the grounds around the palace.

On Twelfth Night weekend, Queen Victoria arranged a party for the grandchildren and their friends. The party began with hot chocolate and whipped cream, accompanied by plenty of cakes. The wild games then began. Count Sigvard Bernadotte recalled in his memoirs how his sailor suit was soaked through and filthy by the time the mothers came from the queen's coffee gathering to collect their children.

Top image: Drottningholm Palace, Christmas 1942. King Gustaf V decorates the trees. Photo: Engelberth Bengtsson, from the archive of the Bernadotte Library.

The General's Room at Drottningholm Palace

The General's Room at Drottningholm Palace at the time of Prince Gabriel's christening in December 2017. Photo: Lisa Raihle Rehbäck/Royalpalaces.se

King Gustaf V decorates the Christmas tree

King Gustaf V decorates the trees at Drottningholm Palace, Christmas 1942. Photo: Engelberth Bengtsson. From the archive of the Bernadotte Library.

Silver elf with salt cellar

The silver Elf Service was a wedding gift in 1881 to the then Crown Prince Couple Gustaf (V) and Victoria. Photo: Alexis Daflos/Royalpalaces.se

View of a snowy baroque garden

During the festive period at Drottningholm, there were plenty of games and hunting. Photo: Ralf Turander

Visit us

På Drottningholms slott kan du vandra runt på egen hand, men att följa med på en visning gör besöket till en extra upplevelse.

Read more

Ta med barn och barnbarn på en utflykt till Drottningholm. Här kan ni gå på lejonsafari, leta efter guld och upptäcka växter.

Read more

Events

Drottningholm Palace tour 3 Sep – 11 Dec

You can explore Drottningholm Palace by yourself, but a guided tour will ensure that your visit is particularly memorable.

Tickets
New Year at Drottningholm 31 Dec – 8 Jan 2023

Drottningholm Palace will be open daily during the first week of the New Year. Bring your family and explore Sweden's first World Heritag...

Tickets

Discover more at Drottningholms slott

Två drottningar har präglat Drottningholm – Hedvig Eleonora som byggde slottet under stormaktstiden och Lovisa Ulrika som på 1700-talet t...

Read more

Drottningholms slottspark är öppen året runt. Här vandrar du genom historiska stilideal från 1600-talets barock till engelsk park på sent...

Read more

Drottningholms slottskyrka invigdes 1730 och har sedan dess använts kontinuerligt. Arkitekter är Tessin och inredningen är signerad Carl ...

Read more

En julikväll 1753 överraskades drottning Lovisa Ulrika med en fantastisk födelsedagspresent. I bortre delen av Drottningholms slottspark ...

Read more

I det gamla maskinhuset vid Kina slott hade konstnären Evert Lundquist sin ateljé. Numera är ateljén museum med oljemålningar, koltecknin...

Read more

Vid Drottningholms slott finns ett besökscenter som också inrymmer butiken Kungliga Slottsboden. Butiken erbjuder ett brett utbud av prod...

Read more

Articles and movies

King Gustaf V liked to celebrate Christmas at Drottningholm, where the festivities were more low key. Only three trees were decorated, th...

Read more

Discover the Rococo style at Drottningholm Palace, with a fun and educational image hunt for adults. Rococo was a playful, graceful style...

Tickets

In Sweden, we divide the Baroque into two periods: the Caroline Baroque, with its Northern European influences, and the later Tessin Gold...

Read more

Customer service

Opening hours:

Visit us