To main content

Departure of the Royal Family 1905

The painting depicts the departure of the new Royal Family of Norway from Copenhagen on 23 November 1905.

This historic journey took place only five days after Prince Carl of Denmark had accepted the offer to become King of Norway and had announced that he would take the name Haakon VII.


On the day of their departure Prince Carl and Princess Maud left their home in the Bernstorff Palæ in Bredegade and rode in the gilt state coach to the quay, where the Royal Yacht Dannebrog awaited them. Crowds lined their route through the city centre and along the promenade to Langlinie pier, waving farewell. The departure of the Dannebrog from Frihavn was a significant, and for many people, an emotional event. Tor Bomann-Larsen, the biographer of the Norwegian Royal Family, has described the leave-taking: “As the ship leaves the quay, the King and Queen of Norway stand on the roof of the wheelhouse, waving, he with his navy blue admiral’s hat, she with her white muff. Music is playing and the sun is shining through the faint haze of smoke rising from the cannons fired in salute.” One English and two Danish naval vessels escorted the Dannebrog to Norway.

The painting was one of five by different Danish artists that were part of the Danish people’s gift to the King and Queen in honour of their coronation in 1906. A telegram from Denmark printed in the Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet explained the Danes’ intention: “The nature and subject matter of the paintings have been chosen with a view to remind the King and Queen of the Danish landscape and of what they have held most dear in Denmark.” King Haakon was very fond of the farewell painting, and it hung in the King’s Study throughout his reign.

The artist

The work was painted by the Danish maritime painter Vilhelm Arnesen (1865-1948), who is often referred to as the last in a line of important maritime painters in Denmark. As a young man Arnesen was invited to sail with the Royal Danish Navy on several occasions. In 1895 he was introduced to Prince Carl, who was then a naval officer on board the corvette Dagmar. The two became friends and Arnesen was later invited to go sailing with the Prince. He was also in the King’s retinue when the Dannebrog sailed from Copenhagen on 23 November 1905. As in many of Arnesen’s earlier maritime paintings, the motif and depiction of events are naturalistic and full of life.

Oil on canvas

118 x 176 cm

Lower left corner: Vilh. Arnesen 1905-1906

Inventory number



To share this on Twitter or Facebook:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook