03 December 2017

Jewels in Motion: Opening of the Riksdag (1961)

Opening of the Riksdag, 1961 (screencapture)

Next week, we'll see the Swedish royal family gather for the Nobel Prize ceremonies, one of the most glittering court occasions of the years. But decades ago, the Bernadottes sparkled for another major occasion: the annual opening of parliament, which featured tiaras, court dress, and a speech from the monarch. Here's a look back to 1961 and the splendor of the old, majestic Riksdagens högtidliga öppnande -- in motion!

The Riksdag opening was held in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace in Stockholm until 1975. The ladies of the royal family watched the proceedings from the balcony in full court dress. Here, Queen Louise of Sweden arrives for the ceremony

Each member of the royal family performed a dramatic trio of curtseys on their arrival in the hall. Here, you can see that Louise is wearing the Leuchtenberg Sapphire Parure

Next was Princess Sibylla, mother of the present king, who wore the Connaught Diamond Tiara, the Vasa Earrings, and the Bernadotte Emerald Necklace for the ceremony

Princess Margaretha wore the Diamond Four-Button Tiara for the ceremony

Because Princess Birgitta had gotten married a few months before, Princess Desiree arrived next in court dress, wearing Queen Louise's Diamond Tiara

Both Princess Christina and the future King Carl XVI Gustaf were also present in the balcony and performed a curtsey/bow, but they were too young to wear court dress or uniform

As the royals took their seats in the balcony, Margaretha adjusted her tiara

The old ceremony also involved a military procession

King Gustaf VI Adolf arrived in full uniform. By this point, Swedish kings no longer wore a crown or robes for their speech from the throne during this state opening, but the crown was present in the room

The royals still attend the state opening of parliament every year, but it's held at the Riksdag, and dress is business-like. (The only lasting sartorial tradition from the old opening is the black-and-white color scheme of most of the royal ladies' clothes for the event.) Sigh -- another tiara-packed relic of royal times past!