Image of a painting of Queen Christina

Christina, Queen of Sweden from 1633 to 1654.

Famous Queen Christina

It was during the month of December in 1626 in the city of Stockholm that Christina was born, to King Gustav II Adolph and his wife. Christina would serve as the Queen of Sweden from 1633 to 1654. Historical records reveal that at the time of Christina’s birth there was a concurrent rare astrological conjunction. This was taken to be an omen that this child would have some great effect on worldly matters. Despite almost everyone, including Christina’s mother, desiring a boy – a girl was born.

The King instructed that his daughter be taught as a boy;and that she would become queen and rule in Sweden as heir to the throne, should anything happen to cause an end to his rulership. The king loved his daughter and in the Thirty Year’s War he died in battle. This led to a young six year old child becoming the queen, known as the ‘Girl King’. There are written records of Christina having a masculine manner, in her stride, way of doing things, her voice and even her approach in dealing with others.

Although it was cultural custom to marry, Christina resisted against much debate and argument.

Her first cousin, Charles seemed to adore Christina and although they were secretly engaged nothing seems to have developed from it. The one outcome was that since there would be no heir to the throne, that Charles would take her place one day. There are letters showing that the queen held great affection for many people and in particular a certain woman which has led to speculation that the queen may have been bisexual.

The beginning of Christina’s questioning into religion may have been influenced by her tutor, Johannes Matthiae. This tutor had a softer approach and attitude than many belonging to the belief in Lutheranism.

In 1651, the queen requested permission to abdicate. In Sweden it was forbidden to convert to Catholicism and for Christina to do so she would need to release her role as Sweden’s queen. After about twenty times of applying for her abdication, it is known that she slept little during her reign as queen and may have over worked herself. Symptoms of hypertension, neck and eye pains led a French doctor named Pierre Bourdelot to prescribed rest, warm baths and healthy meals unlike many of the contemporary doctors that prescribed blood-letting.

The number of noble families doubled during her reign, as Christina was fond of awarding citizens promotions and land. Her lavish lifestyle also caused contention and propelled her time for abdication.

Christina is remembered at times as wearing male clothing. Secretly in 1654, Christina converted to Catabolism but only made it public a year later. After Charles, the new King of Sweden, died;Christina was keen to resume as queen but her new religion was frowned on, as the Swedes could not accept a Catholic queen and she soon left Sweden.

Christina died (linked to pneumonia) at the age of 62, in Rome Italy on 19 April 1969, while never having been married or bearing children. Her legacy of supporting the theatre and music has gained her the reputation of being the protector of actors, musicians and performers. The former Queen of Sweden is one of the few women who have been buried in the Vatican grotto (where the tombs of popes are kept).

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