2010-06-19

The table linnen

The table linen consists of tablecloths and napkins that are more than a hundred years old, woven from damask.
The tablecloths for all the Hall of State's tables have an area of 441 m², the tablecloths for the Halls of the Orders of Chivalry have an area of 107 m², and the napkins in the Hall of State and the Halls of the Orders of Chivalry have an area of 402 m². This gives a total area of 950 m², which is almost a hectare.

The whole of the table of honour and 21 of the 38 round tables in the Hall of State will be spread with the Union Linen. This was woven in 1891, in Lille in France. The textile factory was called Lemaitre Demestre & Fils, and was situated on the Place de la Gare at 19 Rue de Baisse. The pattern features the coat of arms of the Swedish-Norwegian union, woven into the middle of the tablecloth.

All 582 napkins are from the Union Linen. In 1891, there were 999 napkins. 119 years later, 919 of these are still in use.

Careful treatment


Extremely old linen can be kept and used for so many years thanks to careful treatment. All royal linen is looked after by the Linen Chamber, the department that washes, irons, mangles and stores the valuable damask and the other linens.

Damask is mangled according to old traditions. The process consists of 18 stages, from stain removal and laundering to folding, mangling and rolling.

The tablecloths and napkins are stored in a cool storeroom for at least three months before being used again, so that the fibres can rest and return to their correct form.