The first Gråsten Palace was a small hunting lodge built in the middle of the 1500s. After it burned down in 1603, a new palace was built approximately where the south wing of the current palace is located. Chancellor Count Frederik Ahlefeldt, who was the owner of Gråsten Palace from 1662-1682, and his son built a huge baroque palace shortly before the beginning of the 1700’s. It, too, burned down in 1757. Only the palace chapel and a few pavilions remained. The current palace thus dates back to 1759, when a new south wing was built, and to 1842, when the central building was added. At the beginning of the last century, considerable renovations were made.
The Augustenborg family owned Gråsten Palace from 1725 to 1852, when it was acquired by Frederik VII. After 1864, the palace was again occupied by the Augustenborg family. In 1920, the Danish state acquired Gråsten Palace, and for a period it was used as a court house, housing for judges and police chiefs, and a library. In 1935, after an extensive restoration, Gråsten Palace was handed over to be the summer residence for the then-Crown Prince Couple (later King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid).
King Frederik and Queen Ingrid spent the summers at Gråsten Palace. After Queen Ingrid’s death, the palace passed to HM The Queen, who continues the tradition of using it during the summer.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).