The name Drottningholm (literally "Queen's Island") originated in the late 16th century, when King Johan III built the first Palace on this site, for his Consort, Queen Katarina Jagellonika.
The 16th century Palace was destroyed by fire on 30th December 1661. Earlier that year the Queen Dowager, Hedvig Eleonora, had bought the Palace.
At the time, Hedvig Eleonora headed the Regency for the young King Karl XI.
The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 had made Sweden one of the most powerful states in Europe, and, according to the contemporary way of looking at things, the Queen, as head of the Government of Sweden, had to be provided with a suitably impressive residence at a convenient distance from the capital.
The bronze sculptures in the park are by Adrian de Vries, one of the most eminent sculptors of the Northern European Renaissance.
The collection came to Sweden as booty from Prague and from Fredriksborg Palace in Denmark.
They include the staircase, the Ehrenstrahl Drawing Room and, not least, Hedvig Eleonora's State Bedchamber.
Following the death of Tessin the Elder in 1682, his son Nicodemus Tessin the Younger carried on and completed the great project. Karl XI's gallery, for example, dates from this period.
Lovisa Ulrika's time at Drottningholm became a golden age of the arts. Some of the interiors of the Palace – Lovisa Ulrika's Green Antechamber, for example – were redecorated in a French-inspired Rococo style.
Lovisa Ulrika's library stands out as a brilliant memento of the period, which also saw the creation of the famous Drottningholm Court Theatre.