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Christina of Sweden


ReignNovember 6, 1632-June 6, 1654
(Government November 8, 1644)
CoronationOctober 20, 1650
Royal motto "Columna regni sapientia"
("Wisdom - the support of the realm")
Royal HouseVasa
PredecessorGustavus Adolphus of Sweden
SuccessorCharles X of Sweden
Date of BirthDecember 8, 1626
Place of BirthStockholm
Date of DeathApril 19, 1689
Place of DeathRome
Place of BurialSt. Peter's Basilica, Rome

Christina, or Kristina, (1626-1689), Queen of Sweden from 1632 to 1654, was the daughter of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. She succeeded her father as the heir presumptive to the throne of Sweden upon his death at the Battle of Lützen (November 6, 1632) during Sweden's intervention in Germany in the Thirty Years' War.

She was born in Stockholm on December 18, 1626 and the birth occurred during a rare astrological conjunction that fueled great speculation on what influence the child, fervently hoped to be a boy, would have later on the world stage. Reportedly she was so hairy and large that the midwives in fact prematurely called out that a boy had been born. This information was however quickly corrected on closer inspection.

Queen Christina's mother, Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, came from the Hohenzollern family. She was a woman of quite distraught temperament, and her attempts to bestow guilt on Christina for her difficult birth, or just the horror story itself, may have prejudiced Christina against the prospect of having to produce a heir to the throne.

Her father gave orders that Christina should be brought up as a prince would be trained. Even as a child she displayed a precociousness that astonished Descartes who was summoned to tutor her.

National policy was directed during the first half of Christina's reign by her guardian, regent and adviser Axel Oxenstierna, chancellor to her father and until her majority in 1644 the principal member of the governing regency council. As ruler, Christina resisted demands from the other estates (clergy, burgesses and peasants) in the Riksdag of the Estates of 1650 for the reduction of tax-exempt noble landholdings.

Christina came under the influence of Catholics and then abdicated her throne on June 16, 1654 in favour of her cousin Charles Gustavus in order to either practice openly her previously secret Catholicism, or to profess the same publicly so as to be at the center of scientific and artistic revolution of the renaissance. (The sincerity of her conversion has been disputed.) Upon conversion she took a new name Maria Christina Alexandra and moved to Rome, where her wealth and former position made her a centre of society. She left her large and important library to the Papacy on her death (April 19, 1689).

See also

Note that the birth date is December 8 in the Julian calendar, which was in effect in Sweden at the time, corresponding to December 18 in the Gregorian calendar. Also, the death of her father occurred on November 16 according to the Gregorian calendar.

Preceded by:
Gustav Adolphus
List of Swedish monarchs Succeeded by:
Charles X Gustav