The 68 km section of the Pest-Hatvan railway line was opened to traffic in April 1867. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was ratified by the restored Parliament of Hungary on 29 May 1867. Subsequently, on 8 June 1867, Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth were crowned King and Queen of Hungary.
As a coronation gift, the royal couple received the Gödöllő Castle (Grassalkovich Castle). Queen Elisabeth visited the castle regularly until her death in 1898 and was often accompanied by her husband, Franz Joseph.
Right from the start, the royal couple had problems waiting at the railway station, as the “little room used as a waiting room was small, stuffy and dirty”. Thus, in 1868, a temporary Tyrolean-style wooden pavilion was built for the royal couple, followed in 1882 by a new Neo-Renaissance-style royal waiting room. Although some sources mention Miklós Ybl as the designer of the Royal Waiting Room, more recent art historical research suggests Gyula Rochlitz, the designer of the Keleti Railway Station, as the more likely designer.
Although the imposing Royal Waiting Room was a single-story building, it was the same height as the two-story railway station. On the city side of the Royal Waiting Room, there is a portico, a roof supported on four Ionic columns, where the King’s carriage could wait. From the entrance, a short corridor leads to the large waiting room, called the Ducal Waiting Hall, which is dominated by the color burgundy. The Ducal Waiting Hall opens onto the King and Queen’s rooms. Franz Joseph’s room was characterized by olive green wallpaper and an olive green upholstered suite, while Queen Elisabeth’s (Sisi) room was painted pale yellow.
After the assassination of Queen Elisabeth in 1898 – when she was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni in Geneva – Franz Joseph rarely visited the Gödöllő Palace, the last time he was there was in 1911. Between the two world wars, the Royal Waiting Room was used by Regent Miklós Horthy.
Close to the end of World War II, the retreating German troops blew up the railway station building and set fire to the coal store in the cellar of the Royal Waiting Room. The Royal Waiting Room burnt down, with only the walls remaining intact. In 1945, a flat roof was added to the walls, and the building was used as a ticket office and waiting room for the public. In 2011, the Royal Waiting Room was reconstructed with funding from the Norway Grants, based on the original plans from 1882. The renovation won an ICOMOS award. The building is now a museum and a venue for weddings, conferences, and chamber concerts.