Royal residences attract tourists eager for a glimpse of opulence
According to World Population Review, there are 12 monarchies in Europe, 10 of which are headed by a royal family. Of course, these royal families – living places in Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK – have a wealth of properties. amazing, from palaces that serve as stages for meeting heads of state and other dignitaries, to past or current residences where the privileged classes rest and play. In countries like Spain and Monaco, it is possible to visit these sumptuous premises all year round; in other countries, these properties are only open for a limited time, usually during the second half of the summer season. Here are some chic palaces that are sure to inspire your next decorating projects:
Brussels, Belgium: As tradition dictates, the Royal Palace opens its doors to the public immediately after the Belgian National Day on July 21 and remains open until the end of August. The rather austere facade of the palace hides a sumptuous interior housing an art collection brimming with masterpieces from around the world. Visitors will discover the historic salons in which the King and Queen receive their guests as well as a meticulously landscaped garden.
In 2022, three additional exhibitions can be visited. In the Throne Room, the active life of the highly respected King Baudouin, king from 1951 to 1993, is highlighted. The Mirror Room offers a glimpse of eco-friendly city living in the future, illustrated on a small scale through the magic of LEGO bricks. In the Grand Gallery, the “Securing the Future” exhibit highlights ongoing science projects to address concerns ranging from global warming to asteroid collisions.
The palace is open every day except Monday through August 28. Admission is free, but it is essential to book a date and time slot in advance. Online: brussels.be/visiter-le-palais-royal
London: The dazzling State Rooms of Buckingham Palace are on display to the public for around 10 weeks from the end of July. The Queen’s household and backdrop to the Changing of the Guard ceremony has another jewel in her crown in 2022: she was at the center of Platinum Jubilee celebrations, marking the Queen’s unprecedented 70th birthday Elizabeth II on the throne.
Until October 2, visitors can rejoice at the sight of these chic premises filled with paintings, porcelain and sculptures. Highlights include glimpses of the Throne Room, used for court ceremonies, the White Drawing Room, where members of the Royal Family gather before making their appearances at official functions, and the Music Room , where the Queen’s three eldest children were baptized.
Every year, a special exhibition is organized; this year, the Queen’s accession to the throne in February 1952 is highlighted. Portraits from which the Queen’s image used on stamps was taken and the tiara presented by Queen Mary on the occasion of her granddaughter’s wedding to Prince Philip in 1947 are just some of the items on display .
Tickets to visit Buckingham Palace and the ‘Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession’ exhibition cost 30 adult pounds (about $35.90); entry costs £19.50 for 18-24 year olds and £16.50 for 5-17 year olds. Children 4 and under enter free. Online: rct.uk/visit/buckingham-palace
Luxemburg: At the end of summer and for only five weeks, the official city residence of the Grand Ducal family opens its doors to visitors. Tours of the elegant property in the heart of the old town take guests past remarkable works of art and through formal reception rooms. Visitors emerge with a clearer picture of what goes on behind the scenes in the well-heeled duchy and learn a lot about the history of the tiny nation.
The Grand Ducal Palace can only be visited as part of a 1 hour and 15 minute guided tour, available until 31 August. Tickets can be purchased from the Luxembourg City Tourist Office located on Place Guillaume II or online. These cost 15 euros for adults and 7.50 euros for children aged 4 to 12 and are free for children 3 and under. Tours are offered on the hour from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily except Wednesday, when they begin at noon. The ticket office supports a charitable foundation of which the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess are patrons. Online: monarchie.lu/fr/visiter-le-palais-grand-ducal
Vaduz, Liechtenstein: While the castle owned by the royal family of Europe’s fourth-smallest nation is never open to the public, there is one day a year when all are invited to its beautiful gardens.
On Liechtenstein’s National Day, celebrated annually on August 15, it’s time for friends and family to reunite and visitors to imagine what life might be like in this small Alpine country. The festivities begin on the lawn adjoining Vaduz Castle with speeches by Hereditary Prince Alois and the President of Parliament, usually followed by an “apéro” offered by the princely family. (As construction works are taking place in the area where this event is taking place, this part of the festivities is canceled in 2022.) At 2 p.m. the celebrations begin in downtown Vaduz. Once the roads are closed to traffic, street vendors and carnival barkers set up their shops, kiosks or other attractions. The evening traditionally ends with a torchlight procession and a big fireworks display at 10 p.m. Online: tinyurl.com/ysfmna6u