|December 8, 1626 Christina Wasa
is born in Sweden to King Gustav II Adolf
and Maria Eleonora.
Astrologers predict she will be a boy, and when she is born with a caul over her pelvis, she is believed at first to be a boy. Her mother rejects her because she is ugly and a girl; her father decides immediately, that she, his only child, should be raised as a prince, and declares, "I hope that this girl with be worth a son to me."
1630 King Gustav, usually absent because of Sweden's battles in the Thirty Years War, declares Christina as his successor. He selects a group of tutors to supervise her education and appoints his loyal Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna to oversee the rulership of Sweden until her coming of age.
1632 King Gustav is killed at war. His widow (Christina's hysterical mother), retreats into morbid grief, and is unfit to supervise her upbringing. At age five, Christina is crowned queen, but also subjected to years of Lutheran sermons which she despises, and prolonged funereal customs. She also begins her twelve hour a day, six day a week study and sports regime.
1635 Oxenstierna returns from his five year absence due to his regency duties and begins daily tutoring Christina in statesmanship. Christina is also very influenced by the biographies of her heroes - Alexander, Caesar, Scipio and Cyrus.
1636 Christina at age nine begins actively questioning Lutheranism, and scandalizes her mentors by indicating her desire to become a Catholic. Later in life, she refers to age nine as the age at which she began to think for herself and make her own decisions.
1638 Unhappy years, many illnesses, surrounded by her mother's
favorites - dwarves and hunchbacks.
Christina at age 8
Christina at age 15
|1640 Queen Christina at age thirteen
is admitted to council meetings, and begins to govern Sweden. Both of her
tutors, Axel Baner and Gustavus Horn, as well as her aunt, her foster mother,
die when she is thirteen. Her mother moves to Denmark.
1641 By age fifteen, Christina writes and speaks five languages. She befriends theologian John Matthie, and begins questioning religion. She says of herself later that at this age she was "occupied by political affairs, study, sport and exercise. No diversion or pleasure ever made me waste a moment from either my studies or my duty." After only 3-4 hours sleep a night, she rises at 4am to begin her studies. She also engages in intense exercise, especially riding and bear-hunting, her favorite sports.
1643-44 Christina becomes infatuated with Charles Gustav, whom she is expected to marry. They write numerous love letters, but she helps procure him an appointment in Germany, and they are separated for two years.
December 1644 At age eighteen, Christina comes of age and is officially coronated Queen of Sweden. She allows others to believe she will be marrying Charles, while already, even at her coronation, she is secretly planning her abdication and telling confidantes that she does not wish to marry. Because of her pro-France attitudes and commitment to peace, Christina is increasingly at conflict with Oxenstierna. She also becomes attached to Ebba Sparre, (Belle), an aristocratic young girl new at her court.
1645 Christina surrounds herself with bohemian adventurers, and falls in love with Magnus de la Gardie, an attractive and extravagant charmer and lady's man. When Charles returns from Germany, Christina's love for Charles cools, but they remain friendly and respectful of each other for the rest of their lives, and he always wishes to marry her. Christina helps create the first Swedish newspaper.
1646 Christina becomes interested in Catholicism and issues of religious preference, but must keep her interest secret because Catholicism is illegal in Sweden. She begins to question Descartes through letters written by Chanut, the new French ambassador to Sweden, who becomes a lifelong friend. She actively supports her theologian friend, Matthiaes, who is criticized for his unionist book supporting a theological approach that unifies Protestant religions. She secretly begins to think of abdication.
1647 Experiencing a crisis of belief, Christina begins an intensive five year study of the world's religions. Christina takes an active stand in support of theologian Matthias' unionist views in regard to various sects of Protestantism. Magnus, who never reciprocated Christina's love, marries one of her only women friends, Maria Euphrosyne. She sends them both away for a year but later resumes both friendships. She will continue for many years to rescue Magnus from debt due to his excessive spending.
|1648 Christina helps to end the Thirty Years' War
and to negotiate the Peace of Westphalia. She assembles a group of
scholars and libertine thinkers at her court. Her attraction to Italy and
art increases as she and receives over 600 artistic masterpieces - many
from the Italian Renaissance - from plundered Prague. She later views this
year as a significant turning point in her life.
1650 Beck paints portrait of Christina (top of next page). Christina invites Descartes to Sweden, but schedules meetings with him only at 5am at mid-winter in Sweden. Descartes contracts pneumonia and dies.
Christina at age 21
1651 Christina begins secret meetings with Jesuits to learn about Catholicism, seek answers to her philosophical and religious questions, and privately confess her doubts about Lutheranism. She announces but later retracts her decision to abdicate, and secretly plans to convert to Catholicism. After a disagreement, she stops favoring Magnus de la Gardie.
1652 Don Antonio Pimentel de Pradol, Spanish general and envoy to Sweden, arrives and becomes the focus of Christina's attention. . She is now seeking the support of the King of Spain (while attempting to remain allies with France, Spain's enemy, and mediate between them), and planning to move to Rome after she abdicates.
1653 Christina endorses the Hapsburg king of Hungary as Roman emperor. Christina secretly begins sending more of her valuables outside Sweden. Pimentel and Christina are believed to be lovers, and are engaged in many secret negotiations preliminary to her abdication, as he is her primary confidante in regard to her future plans. (NOTE: Pimentel is the Spanish ambassador who is the focus of the fictionalized Queen Christina film.) Belle marries, but continues to live with the Queen.
1654 Christina abdicates on June 6, and names her cousin,
Charles Gustav as her successor.
Hastily, she leaves Sweden, dons men's clothing, and on horseback, begins
her long travels through Europe, accompanied by several of her male supporters.
She keeps her impending conversion secret, in order to remain safe and
protect her Swedish assets. Her only regret appears to be leaving Belle
copyright 1999 by Torrey Philemon (Tracy Marks)
Images were scanned by Torrey Philemon and may not be reproduced.
Christina on horseback painting was created by Sebastian Bourdon.
This site was originally created for The Ancient Sites Celebration of Women.
Ancient Sites community folded March 30, 2001.
The web sites of Tracy Marks as TorreyPhilemon of Ancient Sites
are now being moved to other locations.