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A throne room is the room, often rather a hall, in the official residence of the crown, either a palace or a fortified castle, where the throne of a senior figure (usually a monarch) is set up with elaborate pomp— usually raised, often with steps, and under a canopy, both of which are part of the original notion of the Greek word thronos.

Function

A throne room is an impressive setting for a monarch to preside 'in majesty' over official ceremonies, to hold council, to grant audiences, to receive homage, to award high honors and offices, and to perform other official functions. Any of these could just as well be transferred, even on a permanent basis, to one or more other rooms, even outside the palace or ambulant.

A common misconception is that kings and other ruling princes governed their lands seated on a throne for most of the working day. In earlier times this may have been true for some rulers who actually presided over their council; but often another room was used, but only in peacetime.

Many others were almost constantly on the move with an ambulant court. It could even have been that the crown did not have an effective capital, as in Englandmarker during most of the time before the Norman conquest. Or it could have been that the crown had, rather, a series of alternative residences, as did the Holy Roman Emperors. In their case, these developed into palatinates under the Habsburg Dynasty when they also acquired extensive crown lands outside Germanymarker and Austriamarker, and their court often travelled on an almost continental scale.

Other monarchies frequently changed their capital, but then they would have used a mobile throne, possibly in addition to the permanent one used for enthronement and/or coronation. There are cases in Africa and Asia where the very name of the 'capital' is not a fixed place, but was the place wherever a king settled for a few years. In some climates court migrated annually between a summer and a winter capital. It was also common to spend quite some time, without need for practical reason, in secondary residences, not in the least hunting lodges.

Even when their capitals were well fixed English and French Renaissance kings used to travel extensively, and maintained many royal castles in addition to visits to grandees of the realm. Henry VIII's most frequently used residence was, in fact, at Hampton Courtmarker, not in Londonmarker.

Even when in the main or only palace, the monarch often spent much time in other parts of the residence, such as the dining hall, the chapel, private quarters (for rest and family life), possibly separate presence room, council chamber, ballroom, gardens, court theatre and other recreational facilities.

Nowadays throne rooms are only used for occasional grand ceremonies. Paper work is done in an office, and most guests are received in a salon.

Notable throne rooms

The following are notable throne rooms. Others are listed in the article on thrones.

Spain

Royal Palace of Madrid

The Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid) is the official residence of the Spanish monarch. The throne room is unique, as it retains the original decor from the days of Carlos III. The sumptuous room has gold garnishing with crimson-velvet wall coverings complemented by a Tiepolo ceiling, lit by a rock crystal chandelier. Adorning the room are huge mirrors made in the royal glass factory of La Granjamarker.

The Royal Family does not reside in the palace, instead choosing a smaller, more modest palace, the Palacio de la Zarzuelamarker, on the outskirts of Madrid. However, the Palacio Real de Madrid remains the official residence of the Spanish monarchy and is used for state occasions.

Austria

Hofburg

Once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Empiremarker for over 600 years, the Hofburg Imperial Palacemarker's throne room now serves as a conference centre, used by the Austrian Congress and for other international events.

France

Versailles

The throne was commissioned by Louis XIV and was in use up until 1789. In 1837 the Château de Versaillesmarker became a national museum. As part of the greater Versailles museum, the room is open to the public. Compare: Lit de justice.

Fontainebleau Palace

Preferring Fontainebleau over Versailles, Napoleon had Louis XV's bedroom converted into a throne room and it was here that Napoleon abdicated. The palace was last used by Napoleon III when it was later declared a national monument in 1871, after the collapse of the empire.

Throne Room


Monaco: Prince's Palace,

For over 700 years, the Grimaldi family have ruled Monacomarker and it is in this throne room that many historic festivals and ceremonies have taken place since the 16th century. It also where most civil marriages of the royal family occur, before then having a religious ceremony elsewhere.

Germany

Residence of Munich

The residence of the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavariamarker has many throne-rooms. They were all built in the 1800s, after the monarchs of Bavaria became kings. Therefore the throne-rooms are all in the classicism style.

Neuschwanstein

Note that the throne room of this beautiful, dream-like castle does not have a throne in it - the reason being that Ludwig II of Bavaria, its commissioner, did not live to see Neuschwanstein'smarker completion, therefore one was never installed.


Hawaii

Iolani Palace

These thrones were used by King David Kalakaua, his wife Queen Kapiolani, and his successor Queen Lili uokalani. Kalakaua and his wife actually disliked sitting on the thrones, instead preferring to stand in front of them while receiving guests. King Kalakaua held formal audiences, diplomatic receptions, and state balls, receiving and entertaining guests from all walks of life, from royalty and diplomats to writers, entertainers, and sportsmen. The trial of Queen Lili'uokalani also occurred in this room where she was founded guilty and imprisoned within the palace by the Republic of Hawaiimarker. The throne room, like the rest of the palace, is open the public.

Russia

Peterhof

Used by the Tsars of Russia, the dais and throne of the Peterhofmarker dominate the eastern wall with a large picture presenting Catherine II on her horse. The room also holds numerous oil paintings and eleven chandeliers.

Winter Palace

Regarded as the throne of Russiamarker, the throne of St. George's Hall (or large throne room) is set atop the seven-stepped dais with a proscenium arch above and the symbol of the Imperial Family behind (the two-headed eagle).

Peter I's Room (the smaller throne room) is modest in comparison to the former. The throne was made for Empress Anna Ivanovna in London and the picture behind displays Peter the Great with Minerva.

United Kingdom

Buckingham Palace

The throne room of Buckingham Palacemarker, residence of the British Monarch in the capital city of Londonmarker, is used for court gatherings and as a second dancing room. It is dominated by a proscenium arch supported by a pair of winged figures of 'victory' holding garlands above the two thrones, which are originals from the Queen's coronation in 1953.

It is in the throne room that the Queen, on special occasions, receives loyal addresses. Another use of the throne room has been for formal wedding photographs.

St James's Palace

Although British monarchs have resided in Buckingham Palace since the days of Queen Victoria, St. James's Palace remains the senior palace of the British monarchy. . St James's remains a busy working palace, and also retains an important ceremonial function: it still is the place where the Accession Council customarily meets to proclaim the new Sovereign and to receive from him the required oath.

St. James's Throne Room is used for official occasions. For instance it is in this Room that the Lord Mayor and Councillors of the City of Westminster usually present an address of welcome to visiting Heads of State on State Visits.

While the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace has two Throne Chairs, one for the reigning King or Queen and another for the monarch's consort, the Throne Room at St. James's Palace contains only one Throne Chair, pertaining to the Sovereign. As in the case of Buckingham Palace, the Thone is placed under a canopy; however, unlike the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace, there are no steps leading to the Throne in St. James's Throne Room.

The velvet cloth behind the Throne is dominated by the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.

Tower of London

Although the Tower of Londonmarker is still a royal residence, it has not been inhabited since the reign of Elizabeth I in the 1500s, when it became a prison for royal enemies.

Palace of Westminster

Although the primary purpose and reputation of the Palace of Westminstermarker is as the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker, it is also officially a royal residence. While the Palace has no throne room per se, the Lords Chambermarker contains at its head a throne, used by the Monarch for addressing Parliament in the Speech from the Throne and other royal addresses, arguably making the Chamber something of a throne room.

Colloquial usage

In British English, "throne room" is also used as a euphemism for "lavatory".

Ireland

Dublin Castle

Located in the Bedford Tower, the throne in Dublin Castlemarker was presented to William III after his victory at the Battle of the Boyne. Last used by George V in 1911. The throne is still used today for the inaugurarion of the President of Ireland.

Malaysia

Malaysia has 1 reigning royal household in each of its 9 hereditary states. Therefore there are separate palaces and throne rooms for each of the individual states.

References

External links


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