King Gustav III of Sweden had a reputation for spending money, and clearly he had an eye for Italian marble sculptures. Gustav amassed such a large collection of fine art that in 1794, two years after his death, the royal family opened this portion of the Stockholm Palace to the public, establishing one of Europe’s oldest museums. No castle is complete without a few tales of ghosts, and Stockholm Palace has at least two. There’s the Old Gray Man, said to haunt the ruins of the old palace, and the White Lady who is said to portend death.
Gustav III (24 January [O.S. 13 January] 1746 – 29 March 1792) was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was the eldest son of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and Queen Louise Ulrika (a sister of King Frederick the Great of Prussia), and a first cousin of Empress Catherine the Great of Russia by reason of their common descent from Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin, and his wife Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach.
Gustav was a vocal opponent of what he saw as the abuse of political privileges seized by the nobility since the death of King Charles XII. Seizing power from the government in a coup d’état, called the Swedish Revolution, in 1772 that ended the Age of Liberty, he initiated a campaign to restore a measure of Royal autocracy, which was completed by the Union and Security Act of 1789, which swept away most of the powers exercised by the Swedish Riksdag (parliament) during the Age of Liberty, but at the same time it opened up the government for all citizens, thereby breaking the privileges of the nobility.