Christina of Sweden, Queen (Stockholm 1626 – Rome 1689)

The daughter of Gustav Adolph was educated by himself and, after his death, by his chancellor Oxenstierna very carefully, but nearly as a royal male would have been. Under the latter’s regency until 1644, afterwards she personally and very well dealt with state affairs. After the Peace of Westphalia she devoted herself to beloved philosophical and literary readings and called the most renowned men of cultural of the time (Grotius, Descartes) to Stockholm, but she neglected ruling which went to her favourites with discontent of the country. She had a deep religious crisis that induced her to convert to Catholicism (1654) and to abdicate in favour of her cousin Charles Gustav (king Charles X). She soon left Sweden for fear of the Protestants’ vengeance. She went to Holland, Austria, and then to Italy: in Rome (since 20 September 1655) she was welcomed with much honour and curiosity. She resided in the Palazzo Farnese and, after socializing with cardinal Azzolino, she started plotting to have the crown of Naples, then she also thought, with the support of the Holy See, about the crown of the kingdom of Poland: all fantasy plans that caused her mistrust and bitterness, as well as the hostility of her country. After a new wander through Europe, with short period of stay in Sweden (1660 and 1667), Christina came back to Rome where she dwelt in Palazzo Corsini, that became the milieu of a remarkable cultural activity which gave birth to the Arcadia. She was buried in St. Peter’s. Her library was bought for the Vatican Library (the Reginense Fund); while her collection of paintings was purchased by Livio Odescalchi, and then (1722) by Philip of Orleans; the collection of drawings is nowadays in the Teylers Museum of Haarlem (the Netherlands).

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