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The Kronborg Tapestries

Royal propaganda on a loom

The Kronborg Tapestries

Frederick II went to war with the Swedish king Erik XIV. They were constantly trying to outdo each other. In 1581, the Danish king ordered an expensive suite of woven tapestries to adorn the Ballroom at Kronborg. This was because his rival had commissioned a suite of tapestries that depicted the family history of the Swedish king. Frederick II had to go one better than his rival.

The result was a series of 43 tapestries depicting 101 Danish monarchs and legendary kings. 1,000 years of royal family history and mythology from the legendary King Dan to Christian IV were woven onto silk and yarn. Some of the kings were more fabled than others.

The crowning glory of this masterpiece was the canopy which was woven in gold and silver. Work on the tapestries was completed in 1586. However, only 15 of the 43 tapestries have survived to the present day. 7 of the tapestries are at Kronborg.