Drottningholm Palace is the home of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf, although the neither he nor other members of the royal family were home at the time.
“It concerns a full-scale break in and aggravated theft,” Bobo Mårtensson at Stockholm police.
According to the Stockholm police emergency call centre a remote alarm was triggered at the pavilion at 2.01am, and police were on the scene 14 minutes later.
The police unit had been beaten to the scene by guards, who had arrived 6 minutes after the alarm but the thieves had already left.
It remained unclear on Friday morning what had been taken but the thieves are reported to have smashed glass cases containing porcelain and figurines.
“They have gone at them, but we don’t know how many yet,” said Diane Sundin at Stockholm police.
When police arrived at the scene at 2.10am equipped with sniffer dogs they were able to locate a moped dumped in the water.
“The trail goes from the Chinese Pavilion all the way down to the water. Someone could have been waiting there with a boat,” Diane Sundin said.
Police technicians are on their way to the scene to collect forensic evidence and after they have completed their work staff will conduct an inventory to see if anything has been taken.
“As far as we know there has never been a break in at the Chinese Pavilion before. either they knew what they were after, which I consider the most feasible, or it is just people that have gone in and thought that this looks nice. But I think that it would be very difficult to sell on the black market, this is nothing that would follow the normal fencing channels,” Sundin said adding that she believes it could have been a contract job.
The Chinese Pavilion is on the Unesco list of world heritage sites and is in the grounds of Drottningholm Palace, where the king and queen, and until recently Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, live.
The building was constructed cloaked in secrecy as King Adolf Fredrik sought to surprise Queen Lovisa Ulrika as a present on the occasion of their wedding in 1753.
The wooden construction was replaced in the 1760 with a more permanent building. The interior of the pavilion is today one of the “one of the finest European rococo interiors with chinoiserie”, according to the Royal Court homepage.