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Royal Europe

Plants, prestige and politics – how Europe’s Royal Gardens took on a life of their own.

Sweden's Drottningholm Palace and its extensive gardens and park are among the best-preserved royal residences in Europe.
© Mikael Damkier / Shutterstock

For the royalty of Europe, power was displayed in many ways. They showed their wealth in grand palaces and their strength in imposing castles. They demonstrated their sophistication and prestige through their decadent parks and gardens.

Kings and queens found the most talented botanists in the world to design their parks, while emperors and empresses sent their own experts on missions to exotic lands to find new species to plant. This rivalry started a wave of royal gardens created across Europe, each attempting to be bigger and better than the last. It also led to the discovery of rare plants and the protection of threatened ones. What began as a symbol of prestige became a scientific marvel.

For visitors today, the paths through landscaped parks and manicured gardens are more than just beauty and colour. They are the gateway to the world of imperial power and innovation. Around each corner is another example of the royal philosophy of harmony with nature, created by plants that have seen generations of empires rise and fall.

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