Through the 1700s, considerable art treasures were collected at Rosenborg Castle, among other things items from the estates of deceased royalty and from Christiansborg after the fire there in 1794
Rosenborg Palace was built in the period 1606-34 as Christian IV’s summerhouse ¨in the country¨ just outside the ramparts of Copenhagen. Christian IV was very fond of the palace and often stayed at the castle when he resided in Copenhagen, and it was here that he died in 1648. After his death, the palace passed to his son King Frederik III, who together with his queen, Sophie Amalie, carried out several types of modernisation. The last king who used the place as a residence was Frederik IV, and around 1720, Rosenborg was abandoned in favor of Frederiksborg Palace.
Through the 1700s, considerable art treasures were collected at Rosenborg Castle, among other things items from the estates of deceased royalty and from Christiansborg after the fire there in 1794. Soon the idea of a museum arose, and that was realised in 1833, which is The Royal Danish Collection’s official year of establishment.
The castle opened to the public in 1838, and there one could get a tour through the royal family’s history from the time of Christian IV up to the visitor’s own time. Along with the opening, there was a room set up with Frederik VI’s things, even though the king did not die until the following year. The chronological review and the furnished interiors, which even today are characteristic of Rosenborg, were introduced here for the first time in European museum history.
The collection continued to grow, and in the 1960s, the initiative was taken to set up a section at Amalienborg for the newer part of the Royal House. This idea was realised in 1977, and the museum has been housed in rooms at Christian VIII’s Palace since 1994. The line of division between the two sections is set at 1863 so that Rosenborg exhibits the Oldenborg kings and Amalienborg exhibits the Glücksborg monarchs.
EXHIBITS AT ROSENBORG WITH SPECIAL CONNECTION TO THE ROYAL HOUSE
The Crown of Christian V from 1670 was used for the coronations of all of the absolute monarchs; the last coronation took place in 1840. The Crown is still used on the occasion of the royal castrum doloris, which last time was in 1972.
The Crown Jewels date back to the 1746 will of Christian VI’s queen, Sophie Magdalene. In it, she directed that her jewellery should not be passed on to a particular person but should always be at the disposal of the sitting queen. The Crown Jewels have been added to several times and, in their existing form, date back to 1840. The Crown Jewels consist primarily of four large sets of jewellery: two with brilliant-cut diamonds, one with emeralds and brilliants, and one with rubies, pearls and brilliants. Today, The Crown Jewels are also at the disposal of HM The Queen, who uses them one or more times a year. This is normally for the New Year’s levee and in connection with state visits and other functions in the Royal House.
The royal baptismal basin is of pure gold, and since 1671, all of the royal children have been christened in this basin. Originally, the child’s name and christening date were engraved on the back of the basin, but at the end of the 1700s, there was no space for more names. Belonging with the basin are a water pitcher and two candlesticks, all of pure gold. During a christening, the basin is placed in a baptismal font of gold-plated silver. At the time of this writing, the font and the basin were last used in January 2006 during Prince Christian’s christening in Christiansborg Palace church.