Christina of Sweden 1626–1689 Queen of Sweden
Christina of Sweden
Queen of Sweden
Crowned queen in 1644, Christina of Sweden was a patron* of the arts and a lifelong scholar. She became heir to the throne at the age of six after her father, King Gustavus Adolphus, died in battle. The education arranged for the young princess included traditional male subjects such as politics, mathematics, and science to prepare her to rule.
Christina took the throne at the age of 18. Early in her reign, she oversaw the peace talks that ended the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). She also gained control over Sweden's political structure, previously dominated by an unruly noble class. She was an effective ruler, and within five years had gained unlimited authority. It was at this point that Christina announced she would never marry, making the issue of succession* a problem. Christina's cousin Charles was named as her heir.
Christina presided over a brilliant court, surrounding herself with artists, musicians, and scholars. She dedicated her life to the pursuit of knowledge and regularly studied in her library, one of the largest in Europe. In 1654, at the height of her power, Christina abandoned the Lutheran church of Sweden and converted to Roman Catholicism. As a result, she had to give up the throne. She spent the rest of her life in Rome, where she maintained an influential court and continued to support the arts.
- * patron
supporter or financial sponsor of an artist or writer
- * succession
determination of person who will inherit the throne