Queen Sophia had been on a visit to London and St Thomas’ Hospital, where she met Florence Nightingale, whose writings she had carefully studied. On her return home, the Queen opened her “Home for nurses” on 1 January 1884. It was initially a rather discreet, small-scale enterprise based on Gråbergsgatan (later renamed Upplandsgatan) in Stockholm, its first course comprising just four women taught by the 27-year-old Alfhild Ehrenborg, herself schooled by Miss Nightingale.

On 14 December 1887, faced with difficulties cooperating with the city’s hospitals, Queen Sophia and King Oscar II laid the foundations of a brand new hospital and nursing home. Just short of two years later, on 1 October 1889, the new hospital and nursing home was opened, the grand entrance graced by the motto “All For The Glory Of God” in gilt lettering, carved at the request of the Queen.

According to oral tradition, the familiar caps worn by the Sophia sisters are full of symbolic meaning. The white cloth represents levity, the black band solemnity, and the lace joy; the pleats in the cap represent the Ten Commandments, and the pleat in the lace Queen Sylvia’s crown.