Stockholms län Sweden
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
This is the main Pantheon of Sweden. The Riddarholm Church is on Knight's Island (Riddarholmen), a small isle just west of original Stockholm on City Island (Stadsholmen), better known to visitors as the Old Town (Gamla stan). Today, it is harder to distinguish two separate islands. When in 1270 King Magnus III Barnlock founded an abbey of Cistercian monks, or Grey Friars, the building of this big church was soon begun on the little island. It was finished around 1300, ten years after the king's death. He was the first monarch to be laid to rest in the Grey Friars' Church, as it was called in the beginning, starting a tradition of royal interments that continued until 1950. King Gustav I Vasa ended Sweden's relationship with the Church of Rome, however, in the 1520's and all monasteries were closed. That king and his immediate family were then interred in Upsala Cathedral, still the seat of the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden. One son and family also chose Strängnäs, one Varnhem and another son was placed at West Aros, instead of Knight's Island in Stockholm. Gustav's grandson, Gustav II Adolph, picked up the previous tradition of the Bielbo Dynasty of King Magnus. Members of that dynasty had been buried in a special Founders‚ Crypt at the front of this church, where two monumental sarcophagi, for Magnus and for King Carl II, were placed much later. Three mausolean chapels erected around the head of the building, as needed in the centuries that followed, house the remains, above the floor and below in crypts, of many royal members of the Vasa, Wittelsbach, Oldenburg and Bernadotte Dynasties. They are the Gustavian, Caroline and Bernadottean Chapels. There are other such chapels as well for heroic members of certain families of the nobility. A great multitude of hand-painted shields of all holders of the Order of the Seraphim, as well as ceremonial bell-ringing ceremonies at their deaths, are also factors of interest here. New meticulous research and plausible theories about the earliest interments in the Founders‚ Crypt (Kyhlberg and Ahlström 1997) have given probable identities to several more skeletons there, among them King Waldemar, Magnus's dethroned brother and predecessor who outlived him. By the early 20th century, Riddarholm Church was practically full, and members of the current royal family began to use the Royal Cemetery or Kungliga begravningsplatsen, north of Stockholm in Solna.