To view the Royal Apartments, we arrived on time for the 60 minute English tour which is included in the admission price. The tour is worthwhile as the guide provides background information, points out interesting objects, and tells stories about the fire long ago which prompted a rebuilding of the palace in a different design than that left standing. She also fills you in on the politics of the time and which room was used as a meeting place for the nobles to consult with the king. However, taking a tour is not a requirement to gain access to the palace rooms. There seemed to be more Hall of State rooms on display than private rooms like the bedrooms, dining room, and the King/Queen's rooms, but you see these too. The rooms are dimly lit and it is warm inside. There is little furniture on display with only some fine china and stemware in a small display case in one room. So visitors are mainly looking at the architectural details of empty rooms painted in drab colors like grey and some blues. There are few tapestries on these walls. Ceiling ornamentation varies with little gold leafing. The Halls of State had the most display cases with medals of all sorts and other regalia used for State functions. Even though the palace is not impressive, appears old, dusty and disused, it is still used for presenting medals and receiving State officials and this room was furnished with modern Swedish furniture in warm welcoming colors. Some rooms are still used by the royals as a work place as well. Pictures are not allowed to be taken in the palace. The entry fee is 150SEK and includes the Royal palace rooms and 3 other museums in the palace: the Treasury, Tre Kronor museum with its medieval history of the palace, and the collection of Italian marble sculptures. There was no line up for tickets at 1:30 pm; free toilets are in the ticket building if someone is there to hold open the coin operated door after using the facilities, and tour buses were not evident this mid-summer eve's day so not crowded. Sentries are posted outside at different entry places. The Changing of the Guard is popular with tourists at noon with the band staying on to play for a while after. The palace is surrounded by cobblestones...a town square, streets,...and several medieval churches, and residences. The palace has a helpful website. Allow 2 -2 1/2 hrs to see the palace and the 3 other museums.
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