As I said in the last post, I was staying with Emily at this point and on Friday we had kind of a lazy day! Saturday we stepped up our game and had a crazy day in Stockholm!
The first thing we did Saturday was go to watch the changing of the Royal Guards at the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet). It was a very cool experience, and I’m glad we decided to go watch it!
Here’s just some background information about the changing of the Royal Guards, found here on their website.
“The Royal Guards perform state ceremonial duties on behalf of the Swedish Armed Forces. The Royal Guards are responsible, in cooperation with the police and palace authorities for guarding The Royal Palace of Stockholm and Drottningholm Palace. The Royal Guards are also part of the defence force of the centre of Stockholm. When guard duties are required, The Royal Guards also act as honorary guard to HM the King. Changing the Guard takes place every day of the year. However the march through the city of Stockholm with military band is usually only during the summer months from May to August.”
At first it seemed kind of silly to us that these guards were guarding a palace where the king and queen no longer live. The king and queen recently moved to a different castle that is located 20 minutes outside of Stockholm in Drottningholm. The palace still serves as an office of the king and Royal Court of Sweden although. It made sense to us when we found out that the Royal Guards have been stationed at the Royal Palace since 1523. The changing of the Royal Guards is a ritual.
Emily’s host dad used to be in the Swedish Armed Forces, and he has guarded the Royal Palace before. The night before we went to see the changing of the guards, he told us a story about a friend of his who was guarding the castle. The guns are pretty heavy, and you would get tired after holding it for a 4 hour shift of guarding.His friend stuck the end of the rifle’s barrel into the top of the guard stand, so that he wouldn’t have the weight of holding it. He just put his arms on it, how much easier!
Emily’s dad told us to look at the guards on duty to make sure none of them were slacking of like his friend did back when he was in duty! All of the guards we saw looked like they were doing their job right.
I don’t know how long these guards who would replace the guards on duty before were standing in line like this, but they were like this when we got there 10 minutes before the changing of the guards was supposed to start.
Once the actual changing of the Royal Guards started, a member of the Forces, I’m assuming of higher rank, came and checked all of the guards pictured above. Once the ‘coast was clear’ and everyone looked good they started marching around the castle.
We didn’t know where they were marching to so our instinct was to follow them!
Here is a gallery of the pictures I took. They aren’t my best work because we were literally running around after the Royal Guards 🙂 Just click on the picture to make it bigger, or scroll over it to reveal a caption (if there is one).
So as you can see from the pictures, we really did follow them around the whole building! This really wore us out.
The actual ceremony was on the whole other side of the Royal Palace, since we arrived just before the guards, we were in the back! There were so many people who watched the start and end of the changing, and a lot of people walking on the street stopped to watch!
Such a cool, memorable experience! I recommend it if you are ever in Stockholm on a weekend.
We also wanted to take a look around the Royal Palace and do the tour but we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to do that!
Det är alla för nu, mer kommer snart! Heja Sverige!