The King and Queen attend the bicentenary of Malmö Amaranthen

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The King and Queen at the celebrations to mark the bicentenary of Malmö Amaranthen. Photo: Håkan E Bengtsson

On Saturday 22 January, The King and Queen attended the bicentenary of Malmö Amaranthen. The evening began with a reception at the County Governor's official residence, and the celebrations then continued at Malmö City Hall.
In his speech, The King talked about the background to the Order of the Amaranth:
 
On the day of Epiphany in 1653, Queen Kristina gave a party at the old Tre Kronor palace in Stockholm. This party was described as "frolics with ballet", and would surpass all her previous festivities. The culinary and musical celebration came to be called "the Feast of the Gods", and aimed to show how the gods would be treated if — and when — they visited the Earth. As always, a large number of finely-prepared dishes were served, including seventy different sorts of candied fruits and vegetables, preserves, biscuits and other sweets. Queen Kristina wore a dress studded with diamonds and adopted a shepherdess name for the evening: Amaranta.
 
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Queen Kristina clearly attached great importance to the festivities. Thirty years later in Rome, in the autumn of her life, she recalled the party in detail and made notes about it. However, the Queen abdicated the year after the Order of the Amaranth was founded, and it fell into obscurity until 1760, when it was re-established in Stockholm and, shortly afterwards, also in Gothenburg.
 
Historically important events then took place at the beginning of the 19th century. During this time, King Gustaf IV Adolf was on the throne, and Sweden was at war. In order to be close to the centre of the action, the King temporarily moved the government to Malmö between 1806 and 1807.
 
Perhaps this is when the idea of establishing an Order of the Amaranth in Malmö came about? But a number of serious events intervened. Russia attacked Sweden in 1808, and we were forced to relinquish the eastern half of the kingdom in the subsequent peace treaty. King Gustaf IV Adolf was deposed.
 
It was then that my great-great-great-great-grandfather, the French marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, was named successor to the Swedish throne by the Parliamentary Session in Örebro in 1810. He first stepped ashore in Sweden here in Skåne, in Helsingborg.
 
Now that peace and order reigned in Sweden, an Order of the Amaranth became a reality in Skåne in 1811. This proved to be an excellent idea. After just one year, almost 300 men and women had already joined. Many of them wanted to be part of society and carry out social work among the needy.