If the beloved Dronning is in residence, a swallowtail flies from the roof of this palace. The Dronning is the queen, Margrethe II, who became the ruler of Denmark in 1953 only after the laws of succession were changed to allow a woman to ascend to the throne. The daughter of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid was born in 1940, during one of her country's darkest hours -- the Nazi takeover of Denmark.

She studied at universities in London and the Sorbonne in Paris before becoming a member of the Women's Flying Corps and the Women's Auxiliary Air Force in England. After her marriage to a French diplomat, Henri Comte de Laborade de Monpezat, in 1967, she had two sons, Frederik, born in 1968, and Joachim, born in 1969.

These four 18th-century French-style rococo mansions -- opening onto one of the most attractive squares in Europe -- have been the home of the Danish royal family since 1794, when Christiansborg burned. Visitors flock to see the changing of the guard at noon when the royal family is in residence. The Royal Life Guard in black bearskin busbies (like the hussars) leaves Rosenborg Castle at noon and marches along Gothersgade, Nørre Voldgade, Frederiksberggade, Købmagergade, Ã?stergade, Kongens Nytorv, Bredgade, Skt. Annæ Plads, and Amaliegade, to Amalienborg. After the event, the Guard, still accompanied by the band, returns to Rosenborg Castle via Frederiksgade, Store Kongensgade, and Gothersgade.

In 1994, some of the official and private rooms in Amalienborg were opened to the public. The rooms, reconstructed to reflect the period 1863 to 1947, all belonged to members of the royal family, the Glücksborgs, who ascended the throne in 1863. The highlight is the period devoted to the long reign (1863-1906) of Christian IX (1818-1906) and Queen Louise (1817-98). The items in his study and her drawing room -- gifts from their far-flung children -- reflect their unofficial status as "parents-in-law to Europe." Indeed, the story of their lives has been called "the Making of a Dynasty." Both came from distant sides of the then-heirless royal family to create a "love match." The verses for their 1842 wedding song (a Danish tradition) were written by Hans Christian Andersen.

Christian and Louise gave their six children a simple (by royal standards) but internationally oriented upbringing. One daughter, Alexandra, married Edward VII of England; another, Dagmar, wed Czar Alexander III of Russia. The crown prince, later Frederik VIII, married Louise of Sweden-Norway; another son became king of Greece, and yet another declined the throne of Bulgaria. In 1905, a grandson became king of Norway.

In the 1880s, members of the Danish royal family, numbering more than 50, got together regularly each summer at the Fredensborg Palace, north of Copenhagen. The children, now monarchs in their own right, brought Christian IX and Louise presents -- works of art from the imperial workshops and from jewelers such as Fabergé -- as well as souvenirs, embroideries, and handicrafts made by the grandchildren. All became treasures for the aging king and queen, and many are exhibited in the museum rooms today.

Also open to the public are the studies of Frederik VIII and Christian X. Thanks to his marriage to Louise of Sweden-Norway, the liberal-minded Frederik VIII (1843-1912), who reigned from 1906 to 1912, had considerable wealth, and he furnished Amalienborg Palace sumptuously. The king's large study, decorated in lavish neo-Renaissance style, testifies to this.

The final period room in the museum is the study of Christian X (1870-1947), the grandfather of current queen Margrethe II, who was king from 1912 to 1947. He became a symbol of national resistance during the German occupation of Denmark during World War II. Along with the period rooms, a costume gallery and a jewelry room are open to the public. The Amalienborg Museum rooms compose one of two divisions of the Royal Danish Collections; the other is at Rosenborg Palace in Copenhagen.