Famous Rulers in History Queen Christina of Sweden Part 3

About the famous Swedish Queen Christina, history and biogaphy of her reign and rule of Sweden.

Famous and Infamous Rulers in History


In 1641, when she was 14, she fell in love with her cousin, good-looking, dark-haired Charles Gustavus. By 1643 they were writing each other romantic, clandestine love letters. She suggested they write in code and use Marie Euphrosyne as a go-between. Yet evidence suggests that even then she was averse to marriage. Oxenstierna said that when she was 17, she was against matrimony for reasons of modesty or sive ex alia causa ("some other reason"), which might have been a delicate way of referring to her alleged lesbianism. In any event, in the end she refused to marry Charles Gustavus. Throughout her life she was involved in affairs which almost always ended up being "passionate friendships" and were probably unconsummated: with Magnus de la Gardie (son of her father's old sweetheart, falsely rumored to be her half brother), a handsome, fair-haired cosmopolitan, who married Marie Euphrosyne, so that at one blow Christina lost two childhood intimates; with Ebba Sparre, her beautiful lady-in-waiting, whom she called Belle and wrote love letters to for many years; with the charming Cardinal Decio Azzolino, a church politician with a fat face, big nose, and subtle Italian mouth (he refused to return her passion and drove her wild with his obvious interest in pretty actresses). In addition, she was accused, probably unjustly, of having sexual designs on a nun and of encouraging the advances of Spanish Gen. Don Antonio Pimentel de Prado. She longed for perfect, spiritual love and did not want to be a "field for a man to plow." Childbearing horrified her. She could as easily "bear a Nero as an Augustus," she said, and refused to allow pregnant women near her. She called them cows.

Religion also dominated her life. She was interested in Catholicism as early as the age of nine, and as an adolescent went through a crisis of belief. Her religious conflicts directly affected her political life at a time when religion and politics were inextricably mixed and when science and religion were in philosophical confrontation; in fact, her leaning toward the Roman Catholic Church was undoubtedly one of the reasons for her abdication from the throne of Protestant Sweden.

Rise to Power: Christina began her reign in 1644, when she was 18, as had been decided when she was elected queen in 1632.

In Power: The stagnating Thirty Years' War, which was still going on when Christina took charge, was bleeding Sweden dry in every way. Ten percent of the population was in the army. She applied most of her energy to ending that complicated war, which involved an alliance of France and Sweden against Spain and Germany (among other things), and she applied it in Machiavellian ways. Christina was adept at subtle diplomacy--Bishop Terseus called her double-tongued--and enjoyed games of duplicity, which she played with great skill.

In August, 1645, the Peace of Bromsebro was signed with Denmark, such a diplomatic victory for the Swedes that the Danish king, it was said, threw the treaty papers in the face of one of his ministers, who had helped to negotiate it.

Later, in 1648, after long-drawn-out negotiations in which Christina played an important role, the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War, was concluded at Munster and Osnabruck, leaving Sweden in command of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea coast of Germany.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Parliament was pushing her to marry so that there would be an heir to the throne. (There had been two attempts on her life, which added to the urgency.) She stalled, making half-promises to Charles Gustavus that she would marry him, provided she was pushed against the wall, but accusing him of having "romantic fantasies" when he told her he was in love with her. Her game plan, which eventually succeeded, was to name Charles Gustavus her successor.

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