Christiansborg Palace Chapel is used by the royal family for baptisms, confirmations and weddings. The chapel from 1826 was designed by the architect C.F. Hansen in neo-classical style. In 1992 the chapel was damaged by fire but was rebuilt and inaugurated in 1997.
The chapel of the first Christiansborg Palace
The history of Christiansborg Palace Chapel goes back to the first Christiansborg Palace which was constructed during the years 1733-45. Christian VI commissioned a talented young architect, Nicolai Eigtved, to design the Palace Chapel in 1738-42. Eigtved succeeded in designing one of the most distinguished Rococo interiors of Danish architecture.
Fire and reconstruction
When the Palace burnt to the ground in 1794, the Palace Chapel was also destroyed. It was decided to demolish the ruins, but the decision was never realised. The architect, C.F. Hansen, was charged with the task of resurrecting Christiansborg Palace.
When work on the Palace Chapel commenced in 1813, existing foundations and masonry were used to the greatest extent possible. Like the main palace, the second Christiansborg, the Palace Chapel was built in the neo-classical style of the period with a central church interior covered by a dome construction.
Use since 1826
Christiansborg Palace Chapel as we know it today was inaugurated by a commemoration service on Whit Sunday 14 May 1826 to celebrate the 1000 year anniversary of the introduction of Christianity to Denmark.
From this point in time, the Palace Chapel served as the parish church of the Royal Family and, originally, also of an exclusive congregation of employees at Court, artists at the Royal Danish Theatre, and officials from a number of cultural institutions in the centre of Copenhagen.
The Palace Chapel served as the parish church of the Royal Family for exactly 100 years, until 1926. During the years 1930-1965, the Palace Chapel served as the parish church of a special palace parish.
The fire in 1992
The second large-scale Christiansborg Palace fire in 1884 spared the Palace Chapel as the fire was stopped in the buildings linking it to the Palace. However, fate caught up with the Palace Chapel on 7 June 1992.
The Palace Chapel burnt, probably set ablaze by fireworks set off during the Whitsun Carnival. The roof, dome and dividing floor were burnt down, and the walls and the inventory were severely damaged.
Shortly after, the Palaces and Properties Agency began rebuilding the Palace Chapel. No drawings existed of the dome and roof, but a systematic exercise in building archaeology registered the charred remains of the building and made it possible to recreate the dome and roof. Historically accurate building methods were also used throughout the rebuilding process.
Danish craftsmen were unable to undertake the difficult work of restoring and recreating the internal marbled stucco. Germany’s leading expert, Manfred Siller, performed the task and, at the same time, taught the time-honoured technique to Danish stucco workers.
The rebuilt Palace Chapel was inaugurated on 14 January 1997 in connection with the celebration of Queen Margrethe’s silver jubilee. The rebuilding of the Palace Chapel has been awarded several architectural prizes for distinguished restoration.
The Church of the Danish Royal Family
Over the years the Palace Chapel has provided the setting for several weddings and other important ceremonies in the history of the Royal Family.
One of the first major religious ceremonies to take place in C.F. Hansen’s church was the wedding of Prince Frederik, later to become Frederik VII, and Princess Vilhelmine, the daughter of Frederik VI. The wedding took place on 1 November 1828 and was followed by a banquet at the Palace for more than 700 guests. On the occasion of the wedding, the Royal Family inaugurated the rebuilt Christiansborg Palace by staying there for a few days.
In 1878, Princess Thyra, the daughter of Christian IX, married the Duke of Cumberland in the Palace Chapel. In 1892, Christian IX and Queen Louise celebrated their golden wedding with a ceremony in the Palace Chapel, and in 1897 the Palace Chapel provided the setting for the wedding of Princess Ingeborg, the daughter of Frederik VIII, and Prince Carl of Sweden.
There was also a tradition of Royal Confirmations in the Palace Chapel. Prince Christian (later to become Christian IX) was confirmed there in 1835 and so were Prince Frederik (later to become Frederik VIII) and his sister Princess Alexandra in 1860. The two brothers Christian and Carl (later to become Christian X and Haakon VII of Norway) were confirmed in the Palace Chapel in 1887.
The tradition that deceased sovereigns lie in state in Christiansborg Palace Chapel before they are taken to their last resting-place in Roskilde Cathedral was departed from after the rebuilding of the Palace Chapel. However, in the 20th century it once again became possible for the public to file past the Royal Coffin in the Palace Chapel to pay their last respects. The tradition of lying in state in the Palace Chapel was reintroduced in 1906 on the occasion of the death of Christian IX, and most recently Queen Ingrid lay in state in the Palace Chapel in 2000.
When Prince Christian was christened on 21 January 2006, it was not the first time that Christiansborg Palace Chapel has provided the setting for a christening ceremony in the Royal Family. In 1870, Prince Christian (later to become Christian X), the great-great-grandfather of the young heir to the Throne, was christened in the Palace Chapel.
See a complete list of royal ceremonies in the palace chapel
Visit Christiansborg Palace Chapel
The Palace Chapel is open to the public. See the opening hours of Christiansborg Palace Chapel here.Last updated:: Tuesday, April 09, 2013