There are seven nations in the world who are currently reigning constitutional monarchies. In a former Fascinating Friday we discussed their flags and rulers. Today we will have a short post on the seven main Royal palaces which also serve as official residence for each country's reighning monarch and his/her direct family. A note of interest is that a building is only refered to as a palace when it is the official seat of power. So technically only the residence of a head of state or a spiritual head may be and indeed should be, called a palace. The following buildings are all palaces even if they are castles by designation.
Let us begin with the youngest monarchy based on its very recent restoration, namely Syldavia. The home of its King Nikolas is called Ploch Palace and it is situated a few kilometers outside the capital city. It is surrounded by a large natural forest and an informal indigenous garden. The palace was kept as a museum during the republic but was fully restored to a working liveable palace for the use of the King. The palace is open to the public at scheduled times when the King and his family are not in residence.
Ploch Palace built in 1810 in the Neo-Gothic Style.
Next up we have the official residence of Queen Gloria I of Normandia. Isrik Palace was built at the height of Neo-Classisim in 1750. Its name means "Icy Realm" alluding to the cold winters of this nothern Kingdom. The Palace is symmetric in design and strongly alludes to ancient Roman Architecture as is the norm with this style. The Palace also has the stark presence of a government building at the front facade and it is devoid of any ostentatious decorations. The back however at least opens up to vast gardens.
The very clinical facade of Isrik Palace.
We travel to the west to the semi-arctic Islands of Arcwhite. The palace of Lady Arcwhite is called Arcwhite Tower and it isn't much more than a palacial tower. It is considered to be the smallest of all the Royal residences which stand in contrast to the fact that its occupant is the ruler with the most executive power of all reigning monarchs. The tower seems to be built to complement its natural surroundings and evokes an overwhelming fairyland atmosphere which becomes most evident in winter.
Arcwhite Tower at its most magical in the dead of winter.
In the Principality of Swann we find one of the largest and also the most decorative palaces in the world. The official residence of the Duke of Swann is called Duke's Court Palace and although originally a Baroque Era building has been much altered over the centuries. The domes are covered with a microscopic layer of pure gold and the walls are made of pink marble. This Royal residence truly gives meaning to the word palace. It is also regularly open to the public and exhibits of the art collections of the Duke are often displayed.
Duke's Court seen from the square in the old part of the capital city. When the monarch is not in residence there are no flags flying from the domes.
Duke's Court seen from the gardens at the back of the palace.
The Duke of Swann's cousin, the Grand Duke of Hanoveria lives in what is known plainly as the Palace Royal. It is situated in the heart of the capital city and like its monarchy, is a straight forward palace. It is large yet unassuming, imposing yet plain. The palace serves as the home of the Royal Family but also as the government offices. Thus this palace is not open to the public and contains no museum section or major art collection. It is purely functional. Don't get me wrong however, the state apartments are appropriately grand to serve as venues for state banquets and for hosting visiting heads of government.
The Palace Royal of Hanoveria.
Wallachia is a land of old customs and legends. Its seems to thus be almost poetic that we find the oldest official Royal residence here. The medieval Castle of Hunedoar has served the Wallachian family for hundreds of years. It was built by an ancestor of the current Princess in 1333 on the spot where legend claims the last dragon in Europa was slain. Even the date that the foundation stone was layed was chosen for its mystical connection to God. The Castle has seen many wars, just plain wear and thus also many repairs over the centuries but its original design has always been respected and never compromised. The Wallachian Royal Family choose to keep this castle as their official seat even though it is several hours from the capital. They do however for practicality keep apartments within the Palace of Parlaiment in the City.
It is clear how old the Wallachian Royal Castle is but it has most certainly been well taken care of by a loving nation.
Finally we move to the Kingdom of Hispania. After the Revolution of 1996, the Hispanian Royal Family official moved the court from their official Palace in the capital city to a remote castle. This was done for security but was also influenced by the severe fear felt by the Princess of Cataljone, the mother of the very young Queen. The Princess kept her two daughters completely isolated from public scrutiny for years as they grew into adulthood. The Castle of Trono de Seguro thus became the home of the new generation of Royals and has remained the official residence even though Queen Maria lives in the old palace in the city when required.
The impenetrable Castillo Trono De Seguro sits perched on a hill. Its isolation and defensibility served to sooth the fears of the Hispanian Royal Family and will always be home to its current Queen.
Which Palace is your favourite??