The Royal Armoury is a museum located in the basement of the Royal Palace's southern wing in Stockholm. Together with the Royal Coin Cabinet, the Hallwyl Museum, Skokloster Castle, the Swedish History Museum and Tumba Museum it constitutes a national authority, headed by a Director General, and accountable to the Ministry of Culture. The six museums base their work on a national cultural policy resolution enacted by Swedish Parliament. The main purpose of the Royal Armoury is the portrayal of Sweden's royal history from Gustav Vasa up until present day. For almost five hundred years, items once in the possession of Swedish monarchs and their families have been kept here. From generation to generation, they have built up an ever-expanding collection of memories from the country's history. Most of the artefacts in the Royal Armoury's rich and varied collection reflect official occasions such as state ceremonies, weddings, coronations and funerals, with magnificent ceremonial costumes, carriages, saddles, armour and weapons. Seen from an international perspective, the Royal Armoury is unique, with regards not only to the age and high quality of its clothing and weaponry collections, but also to its centuries-old tradition of displaying an assortment of royal mementoes of more emotive nature. The Royal Armoury served first as instrument in the royal quest for legitimacy. Through time it became the memento collection of the Swedish nation and today we have a modern cultural-historical museum interacting with its surroundings on a widespread basis.
The Royal Armoury's oldest artefacts are the sets of royal state and ceremonial weapons that were stored in the old Three Crowns Palace during the 16th century. It was in this royal armoury that Gustavus Adolphus in the 1620's wanted his blood-spattered clothes to be saved as a perpetual memoria. This became the Royal Armoury's hallmark: blood-stained costumes preserved to bear witness to royal valor. In the 1850s the ceremonial costumes of Sweden's royals were taken from the Royal Wardrobe and incorporated into the Royal Armoury. Other valuable ceremonial props for parades, such as saddles, has been on view in the Royal Armoury since the 17th century, whilst it was not until the end of the 19th century that the royal carriages were moved from the royal stables. Artefacts with some association to the royals at war, or with political or ceremonial affiliations, have principally come to the museum directly from the royal family. Since the middle of the 19th century however the museum has also received items such as royal costumes donated by or acquired from the general public. These reflect different types of relationships between the royals and the Swedish people.
The Royal Armoury houses a number of portraits of royals with connections to artefacts within its collection. Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses are depicted in oil paintings and miniatures, on coins or in official photographs. Some of these, especially the miniatures, have been part of the royal collections; others were bought on the open market during the 20th century. A large number of the portraits may be seen in the museum exhibition, whilst others are currently in the museum archive and storages.