The Gift

Caught in a terrible storm on its way home from Batavia (Jakarta), the Dutch flagship Walcheren, filled with what was reputed to be one of the richest cargoes ever brought from the East, sought refuge at Bergen, Norway. Its 1655 and England and Holland is at war.

Frederick III in a secret plot twist allowed the English passage to pillage the ship and her rich cargo, but luckily for the Dutch the Bergen governor was unaware of this arrangement and was adamant to maintain Denmark's neutral stance. He interceded as international law demanded and protected the Dutch ship.

The outraged English then declared war on Denmark, but the following year, in a move of nice diplomatic irony, the grateful Dutch presented a treasured Persian rug from the Walcheren's cargo as a gift to Sophie Amalie, the Danish king's wife. In April 1700, this carpet, "woven with gold," was used in the annointing ceremony of the coronation of Frederick IV and Queen Louise, and it has served in the coronations of Danish kings ever since. It is kept at the Rosenborg Palace, alongside such other national regalia as the Danish scepter and orb and the king's throne.

Once a year, one week in October, The Royal Danish Collections shows the public the Coronation and Chenille Carpets at the Rosenborg Castle.

Photo by Jan Andersen, the Danish Rug Society