The palace gets its name from one of the personalities of medieval Sweden, Bo Jonsson Grip, by whom the first Castle was built in the second half of the 14th century.
The monastery was sequestrated by the State at the Re-formation, and the Castle began to be built in 1537 under the direction of the master-builder Henrik von Köllen.
The Castle was also intended as a fitting residence for a Renaissance ruler – Gustav Vasa.
The large Hall of State with its painted roof and its full-length portraits of Gustav Vasa and contemporary crowned heads of Europe conveys, although many times restored, a good picture of the original Gripsholm scene.
During the 17th century (known in Sweden as the "Great Power Period"), Gripsholm was used as a dower (widow's property for life) by Queens Maria Eleonora (widow of Gustav II Adolf) and Hedvig Eleonora (widow of Karl X).
Hedvig Eleonora made considerable changes and additions, among them the Queen's Wing.
This is one of the best-preserved 18th century theatres in Europe.
The same period also produced Gustav III's Round Drawing Room, a counterpart to Gustav Vasa's Hall of State. In the Round Drawing Room the visitor can see portraits of Gustav III and his royal contemporaries.
Furniture and art objects of great historic importance were transferred from the various royal residences to Gripsholm to reinforce its national character.
A much debated restoration of the Castle took place at the end of the 19th century. Critics described it as an attempt to make the Castle even older than it was.
The Castle is internationally known for its outstanding collection of portraits – the Swedish national collection – featuring prominent Swedes from the days of Gustav Vasa down to the present.
Each year, the Gripsholm Association commissions "portraits of honour" of eminent Swedes for the Gripsholm collection.