Flashback: It’s the glory days between the World Wars, when King Haakon and Queen Maud maintained a handsome and complete royal stable of horses along with all the trappings of the day. Carriages, harnesses and other tack, a shoeing forge and even infirmary stalls were part of the state-of-the-art facility. The Royal Stables included an equestrian arena and viewing gallery. Thirteen grooms were housed on site, attending to all the needs that 38 horses required.
That romantic era of royal horsemanship was not to last. The stables, completed in 1848, were expanded and remodeled in 1911. After Queen Maud’s death in 1938 the practice of keeping horses declined, and by the end of World War II when the Royal Family returned to the Palace, automobiles were the preferred mode of transportation and horses were no longer kept on site.
Today has given rise to a new purpose for the Royal Stables. His Majesty King Harald V gave his Queen the former Royal Stables as an 80th birthday gift, which are now transformed into the Queen Sonja Art Stable. The new venue was formally opened in April 2017 and houses exhibitions that include an extensive photo installation of images taken by Queen Maud and a fine collection of graphic prints that were featured during the grand opening of the remodeled stables.
The latest exhibition is an homage to the original purpose of the stables. “The Royal Stables. Horses and their equipage 1905-1940” presents some of the Palace’s most cherished carriages and traditional tackle. A unique video installation is projected on the ceiling, and for the first time visitors may enter the Royal Tack Room. Find ticket information and hours of operation here.
Photo Credit: Royalcourt.no