Historical figure Cristina di Svezia

Born in: 1626  - Died in: 1689
Cristina of Sweden, or Cristina Alessandra Maria after her conversion to Catholicism, was Queen of Sweden from 1632, but with full powers only from 1650, until abdication occurred in 1654.
Daughter of King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden and Queen Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, succeeded on the throne at the age of six after the premature death of the parent. Educated by the powerful High Chancellor of Sweden Axel Oxenstierna and daughter of one of the greatest defenders of Protestantism during the Thirty Years War, caused great scandal when in 1654, at the height of a profound religious crisis, she converted to Catholicism and abdicated in favor of cousin Carlo Gustavo who became king Charles X. Fearing the reactions and revenge of the Protestants he immediately left Sweden to spend the rest of his life in various countries of Europe and then settled permanently in Rome where he worked on charitable works, art, music and theater in a cultural movement that, after his death, led to the foundation of the Academy of Arcadia in 1690.
A complex and nonconformist personality, educated in a virile way as a Prince and not a Princess, Christina of Sweden was endowed with a lively intelligence and solid humanistic and philosophical culture to which she dedicated herself especially after the peace of Westphalia which in 1648 ended the long war of thirty years. During the years of his reign, in which he did not shine for political competence and in which he neglected the affairs of the state, provoking the discontent of the country, he worked hard to make Stockholm the "Athens of the North".

She was born at the castle of Tre Kronor, and since her birth the astrologers noticed a rare conjunction of planets destined to make the maiden one of the most influential rulers of Europe. The king had already had two other daughters from his marriage, one born dead in 1620 and another, named Cristina, born in 1623 and died the following year. Therefore the third pregnancy of Queen Mary Eleonora in 1626 was followed with trepidation in the hope of finally giving an heir to the throne to Sweden. When the little princess was born, she was thought to be a male because she presented herself with a lot of hair and screamed "with a loud and shrill voice". Cristina later wrote in her autobiography that "she took a great deal of embarrassment among women when they discovered they were wrong". The king, although he hoped for the male, was nevertheless very happy to welcome the new born to the point of writing shortly after birth "He will become very intelligent, he is making us all crazy about her!" From other sources we know that Gustavo Adolfo was very attached to his daughter and she repaid him with the greatest admiration. Instead, he did not have a happy relationship with his mother, who felt guilty of not having given birth to a male.
Before Gustavo Adolfo left Sweden to go to Germany in defense of Protestantism in the Thirty Years' War, he assured his daughter's inheritance rights in case he had not returned to his homeland and therefore arranged for Cristina to receive the best education usually given to male princes. The mother, belonging to the Hohenzollern family, was of melancholy and detached temperament, and according to some she also suffered from psychological disorders. After the king's death on the battlefield on November 6, 1632, Christina became the center of attention for her mother. Gustavo Adolfo had decided that in case of his death, the daughter would have enjoyed the protection of his step-sister Caterina. This solution did not please Maria Eleonora who had banned the half-sister from the castle. In 1636 Chancellor Oxenstierna saw another solution to the matter, namely the exile to the castle of Gripsholm, in the meantime that the council of regency spoke about the possibility for her to meet regularly the daughter of just nine years. In the following three years, Cristina grew up in the company of her aunt and her family.

On March 15, 1633, Cristina officially became a queen at the age of only six years, obtaining the nickname of "Regina Bambina". Cristina had received an education proper to her status and her future role as regent: the theologian Johannes Matthiae Gothus had become her tutor and gave her lessons in religion, philosophy, Greek and Latin. Chancellor Oxenstierna discussed political strategies with her and was delighted to teach her the history of Tacitus's writings. Cristina studied happily for ten hours a day and learned Swedish, German, Dutch, French and Italian, demonstrating a unique talent not only for her age. Oxenstierna wrote proud of the fourteen-year-old queen "It is not like all other women" and that, on the contrary, she had "a bright intelligence". From 1638 Oxenstierna employed Antoine de Beaulieu's French ballet company at court, which was also Cristina's dance teacher.

When Gustavo II Adolfo died at the Battle of Lützen on November 6, 1632 during the Thirty Years' War, Christina, the only heir, found herself a queen at the age of six. For twelve years, during her minority, Sweden was governed by a Regency government headed by the Grand Chancellor of the Kingdom Axel Oxenstierna (1583-1654).
The crown of Sweden had become hereditary with the Vasa family, but from the time of King Charles IX (ruling from 1604 to 1611) the sons and descendants of the deposed brother and nephew had been excluded from the throne. The legitimized brothers of Gustavo Adolfo had died years before; the only surviving brother was an illegitimate of his father who however had only one daughter and as such there were no male heirs descended from Gustavo I and Cristina was now considered the heir presumed to the paternal throne. Since her birth, Cristina was recognized as a male heir, and when she was crowned she obtained the title of "queen" which qualified her in her role as sovereign of the state.
In 1636-1637 Peter Minuit and Samuel Blommaert negotiated with the government the possibility of founding New Sweden, the first Swedish colony in the New World. In 1638 Minuit erected Fort Christina in Wilmington, Delaware, and the current Christina River was also discovered in the area. In December 1643 Swedish troops were engaged in Holstein and Jutland in the Torstenson War.
The National Council suggested to Cristina, who became 16, to take the reins of the government directly, but she preferred to wait eighteen, as her father had done before her. In 1644 Cristina officially ascended the throne of Sweden, even if her coronation was postponed due to the war with Denmark and therefore one of her first official acts was just to conclude a peace with that nation, managing to get the islands of Gotland and Ösel, as well as some Norwegian provinces like Jämtland and Härjedalen.
Chancellor Oxenstierna soon learned that Cristina had different political designs from her own. In 1645 he sent his second-born son, Johan Oxenstierna, to the peace congresses of Osnabrück and Münster, presenting the requests of Sweden which were a continuation of the Thirty Years' War. Cristina, however, wanted peace at all costs and sent her own delegate, Johan Adler Salvius. Shortly after the conclusion of the peace agreements, she admitted Salvius to the National Council, against the will of Chancellor Oxenstierna. Salvius was not an aristocrat but Cristina was trying at all costs for a new ruling class, not from the aristocracy of her contemporary. In 1648 Cristina obtained a seat at the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire when the principality of Bremen-Verden and the Swedish Pomeranian were definitively assigned to Sweden thanks to the Treaty of Osnabrück.

In 1649, 760 paintings, 170 marble and 100 bronze sculptures, 33,000 medals and coins, 600 pieces of glassware, 300 scientific instruments, manuscripts and books (including the Sanctae Crucis laudibus of Rabano Mauro, the Codex Argenteus and the Codex Gigas were transported to Stockholm.The collection, coming from the Prague Castle, belonged to Rudolf II of Hapsburg and was requisitioned by Hans Christoff von Königsmarck during the Battle of Prague and the subsequent negotiations of the Peace of Westphalia.
In 1649, with the help of his uncle, Giovanni Casimiro, and his cousins ​​Cristina tried to reduce the influence of Oxenstierna and declared Carlo Gustavo as his presumed heir. The following year, Cristina resisted the requests of the States General to reduce the exemption of the taxes of the noble landowners, so as to keep the local aristocracy ably tied to herself.

During the period of Christina's reign, Sweden became one of the most refined and cultured kingdoms in Europe, to the point that Stockholm was dubbed "the Athens of the North".
In 1645, in fact, Cristina invited Ugo Grozio to court to assume the position of his librarian, but he died on his way to Sweden, to Rostock. She instead named Benedict (Baruch) Nehamias de Castro of Hamburg as her ordinary Physicist. In 1647 Johann Freinsheim was called to court as a classicist. The Semiramis of the North as the queen was nicknamed, corresponded with Pierre Gassendi; Blaise Pascal gave her a copy of her pastures. To catalog her new collection, the queen asked Nikolaes Heinsius the Elder and Isaac Vossius to come to Sweden. Cristina herself also studied neostoicism, the writings of the fathers of the church and of Islam and read the Treaty of the three impostors, a work that was forbidden by many circles because it raised doubts about all the organized religions as well as being passionate about classical history and to philosophy.
In 1646 through one of Cristina's best friends, the ambassador Pierre Chanut, the queen was able to correspond with the philosopher Descartes, taking the opportunity to ask him a copy of his metaphysical Meditations. Cristina began a close personal correspondence with Descartes and invited him several times to Sweden, prompting the French philosopher to arrive in Stockholm on October 4, 1649. He took up residence at the ambassador Chanut and on December 18 of that same year he began to give lessons private to the queen, also discussing philosophy and religion. The palace was frozen and on 1 February 1650 Descartes fell ill with pneumonia and died ten days later. Other prominent personalities that populated the court of Christine of Sweden were Claude Saumaise, Pierre-Daniel Huet, Gabriel Naudé, Christian Ravis and Samuel Bochart.

Cristina was very interested in theater and ballet and she was delighted in these two disciplines. Among her favorite shows are those offered by Pierre Corneille. In 1647 the Italian architect Antonio Brunati had built for her the first court theater in Stockholm.
The court poet Georg Stiernhielm wrote for her several plays in the Swedish language such as Den fångne Cupid eller Laviancu de Diane who was represented at court with Cristina in the part of the goddess Diana, protagonist of the story. She took the opportunity to repeatedly invite foreign companies such as the Italian troupe in 1652 where Vincenzo Albrici was present and the Dutch one with Ariana Nozeman and Susanna van Lee in 1653. Among the artists employed at court we remember Anne Chabanceau de La Barre, named court singer.

Ebba Sparre married in 1652 a brother of Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie. Rich and complex personality, with great intelligence, extraordinary temperament and a strong sense of his role, naturally absolutist, towards the age of twenty he began to run into a collision course with the Chancellor and the Regency, who were now aiming to give her husband , possibly in the lap of its noble cousins, in order to assure Sweden a true king.
But Cristina, despite being ready to fall in love, always had a strong rejection of marriage, not resigning herself to the idea of ​​moving into second line with respect to those who, marrying her, would become king of "her" kingdom. And in the Senate, who was urging her back to marriage in 1649, she replied clearly: "... marriage involves subjection to which I do not feel capable of undergoing, and I can not foresee when I will be able to overcome this repugnance." His second cousin, Carlo, was infatuated with her and the two had a secret affair in his youth, but it lasted until 1642 when the young man was called to serve in Germany for three years in the wake of the Swedish army.

Cristina had a love affair with Ebba Sparre, a court lady, to whom all contemporaries praised the astonishing beauty. To her he addressed numerous love letters that today ascertain the relationship between the two. In a letter written during the exile, in Pesaro, March 27, 1657, Cristina wrote to Countess Sparre:
"If you have not forgotten the faculty you have for me, you will remember that it is already twelve years that I am possessed by being loved by you. Finally, I am yours in a way that it is impossible for you to lose me, and it will be nothing but the end of life that I will cease to love you "
Probably to escape these pressures, Cristina declared her cousin Gustavo Adolfo as hereditary prince on March 10, 1649. The nobility rejected this decision, while the other social states - clergy, bourgeoisie and peasants - welcomed the news. Cristina was officially crowned on Sunday, October 20, 1650, with great pomp, and the parties lasted until January 9th. For the coronation, Cristina left with the procession from the castle of Jacobsdal from which she came out with a triumphal carriage entirely covered with black velvet embroidered in gold and pulled by six white horses. The procession was directed towards the Storkyrkan where the consecration took place in the church and it was so long that when the first carriage of the procession reached Storkyrkan, the last one came out of the gate of the castle of Jacobsdal. That evening, members of the four social states were invited to dine at the castle in amazement to see fountains spraying wine and fireworks.

In a century and a nation of triumph for Protestantism, Queen Christina was always an ambiguous character and at the same time countercurrent for the time. Among her first reforms, inspired by her guardian Johannes Matthiae, the queen proposed a new arrangement for the Swedish national church in 1644, but the provision was rejected as overly Calvinist. Cristina, who in the meantime had become queen, strenuously defended her vision of things from the attacks of Chancellor Oxenstierna, but the proposal was however canceled. In 1647 it was the turn of the Swedish clergy who proposed the introduction of the Book of Concord (in Swedish: Konkordieboken), a book which defined the correct Lutheranism against heresy, thus defining a model Protestant theology. Matthiae was strenuously opposed to this project and Cristina was also aware of the same to the point that the book was not introduced in Sweden.
The Catholic Church, which had considered the Lutheran Gustavus Adolphus II among his most dangerous adversaries, and considered it of great importance to bring back some of the Protestant rulers to the fold, solicited the act of abjuration of the young queen with difficulty and obstinately, putting them side by side, as early as 1650, the Portuguese Jesuit António Macedo, who entered Sweden as a translator to the ambassador of Portugal. The queen was impressed by the discussions on Catholicism she had with the Portuguese Jesuit and invited two other Jesuits to come to Sweden on a secret mission in the spring of 1652, under a false name. Paolo Casati, one of the two envoys, recognized in a letter to his father general in Rome that the queen had a good chance of converting to Catholicism. Specifically, the queen agreed with Catholicism on the vision of sin, the immortality of the soul and free will. Although she grew up to follow Swedish Lutheranism, around May 1652 Cristina officially decided to become a Roman Catholic. The two priests related these intentions to Cardinal Fabio Chigi and King Philip IV of Spain who sent the Spanish diplomat Antonio Pimentel de Prado to Stockholm.

After reigning for almost twenty years, working at least ten hours a day, Cristina was now exhausted in the soul and body, with a nervous crisis in place and with problems of high pressure that led her to have problems of sight and neck . In February 1652 the French doctor Pierre Bourdelot arrived in Stockholm to treat her. Unlike most of the doctors of his time, he was not inclined to practice salassi, prescribing instead much rest, hot baths and healthy breakfasts, opposing the ascetic life that Cristina led.

However, Cristina reigned over a poor country, where wars had strengthened the aristocracy, increased in number by the need to cover the increased court expenses with the creation of new nobles, while the court's own annuities had been reduced by the sale of land to the new aristocrats. These, for their part, imposed higher and higher taxes on peasants who have become accustomed to a very low taxation for a long tradition. The same Cristina had then lost much of her popularity for having hanged Arnold Johan Messenius who had publicly accused her of being the new Gezabele and that the queen suspected was plotting to dethrone her. Instead of dedicating herself to government works, the queen also spent much of her time in theater and dance parties.
Among his last acts of government, in 1653, Christina of Sweden founded the Order of Amarante, a military chivalric honor and Antonio Pimentel was named first knight; all the members had to make a solemn promise not to marry or in any case not remarry after being widowed.

Finally, in February 1654, Christina of Sweden officially announced her proposal to abdicate to the Council. Oxenstierna took on the task of examining the affair that lasted for some time. The crux of the matter was that the queen asked for 200,000 real thalers a year, which instead were paid to land rents and fiefdom of the village of Norrköping, the islands of Gotland, Öland and Ösel and the royal residences in Mecklenburg and Pomerania. His debts were extinguished by the state treasury.
Conversion to Catholicism was in any case not the only reason for its abdication, as over time the queen had conducted a policy little appreciated by Swedish government circles. In the last ten years she had created 17 counts, 46 barons and 428 minor nobles. In order to provide these new peers with an adequate prerogative, he sold some properties of the crown for an annual amount of 1,200,000 Swedish thalers. Among the honors there were also people from the bourgeoisie like Lennart Torstenson and Louis De Geer for their war merits as well as the banker Johan Palmstruch. These donations often took place on behalf of the queen and were not even registered, causing a fief to be assigned by mistake to two feudal lords at the same time.
Of course we know that in the end Cristina, courted by Catholic intellectuals like Blaise Pascal, obtained guarantees that seemed sufficient to maintain their royal status, February 23, 1654 announced their irrevocable abdication in favor of his cousin Carlo Gustavo (despite the opposition of the Senate), regaining their freedom. During the abdication ceremony held at the Uppsala Castle, Christine wore her full ceremonial gifts that she took off one by one. For Brahe, who was in charge of removing the crown from the queen's head, she refused out of respect for her beloved sovereign and therefore she had to make the gesture herself. Remained dressed in a simple white taffeta, Cristina made her speech to the participants in a trembling voice, greeted the group and left the throne to Charles X, who in contrast was dressed in black. For Brahe he recalled in his writings that the queen "appeared to be beautiful as an angel." Charles X, who was later crowned on that same day, again proposed to Cristina to marry him but he refused laughing and left Sweden forever.

In order to leave the country without drama or disorder, Cristina also concealed her true goal with her cousin, and crossed Sweden in disguise, on horseback, dressed as a man under the false name of Count of Dohna and with a small escort with the friend and poet Bernardino de Rebolledo, telling himself direct to Denmark. At the time of crossing the border, he dismissed his Protestant chaplain, who was heading for Rome.
He moved temporarily to the Netherlands, where he attended the first opera staged in the country, Ulysses on the island of Circe by Gioseffo Zamponi. Cristina went here to visit Johann Friedrich Gronovius and Anna Maria van Schurman. In August of that year, Cristina arrived in the southern Netherlands and took a permanent residence in Antwerp, staying for four months in the rich residence of a local Jewish merchant. During her stay, the former Queen of Sweden was honored by the visit of some prominent personalities of her era such as Archduke Leopold Guglielmo of Austria, Prince of Condé, French ambassador Chanut, and the governor of Norway, Hannibal Sehested. During her free afternoons, Cristina devoted herself to horse riding and every evening organized parties and banquets with music and dancing. Cristina again began to spend more than she could and had to sell many of her carpets and many pieces of silver and jewelery in her suite. Since his financial situation continued to be in red, the Austrian Archduke invited her to his palace in Brussels, where on December 24, 1654, Cristina made her first profession of Catholic faith, in the presence of faithful friends Pimentel and Raimondo Montecuccoli . However, this conversion was not made public as the former queen feared that in this case the Swedish government could refuse her pension. The pope and the king of Spain could not help her because publicly she was not yet a member of the Roman church and as a result Cristina was forced to sell part of her book collection and statues to pay off her debts.
In September of that same year, Cristina left Brussels for Italy with a follow-up of 255 people and 247 horses. The papal messenger, the librarian Lucas Holstenius, also a convert, waited for the march to Innsbruck to lead the former queen to the papal state. On 3 November 1655, Cristina decided to make her own official profession at Catholicism in the Hofkirche in Innsbruck and then write to Pope Alexander VII and to her cousin Charles X. To celebrate her official conversion, the first de 'Argia by Antonio Cesti. Archduke Ferdinand Charles of Austria, who had offered to pay for the festivities, was reduced almost on the pavement by the needs of the former Swedish sovereign and was relieved only by the departure of the group on 8 November of that year.

The arrival of the former Queen of Sweden in the Papal States was truly triumphant. In her journey Cristina made stops in Ferrara, Bologna, Faenza and Rimini. As evidenced by the chronicles, for example, of his passage to Forlì, welcomed by Governor Fulvio Petrocci, together with Cardinal Legato Acquaviva, as well as many gentlemen of Romagna and public festivities. In Pesaro, Cristina met the Marquis Santinelli, a well-known poet whose admiration of the writings.
Finally, in a Rome now free from the dominion of Olimpia Maidalchini, Queen Cristina was welcomed with great honors and feasts by the new pope Alexander VII Chigi, who had just replaced Innocenzo X Pamphili, and by the Roman nobility. On 20 December of that same year, the former sovereign reached the Vatican on board a litter specially designed for her by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, of which she became a great friend, often visiting the artist in her studio. In his honor, it was Bernini himself who restored the famous Porta del Popolo, on which the inscription praising "his happy and auspicious entrance" in the city on December 23, 1655 ("Felici faustoque ingressui") can still be read. it is placed under the heraldic symbol of the Chigi surrounded by the bundles of spikes of the Vasa.
Arrived in the Basilica of San Pietro, the former sovereign knelt in front of the altar and, on Christmas day, received all the sacraments at the hands of the Pope himself. In honor of the pontiff and of the Madonna, Cristina took the additional names of Alessandra Maria. His status as one of the most notable converts to Catholicism in his time and his talent as a woman. Among other things, his arrival in Rome fell during the period of celebrations for the anniversary of Alexander VII, an opportunity for wonderful festivities that kept it occupied until it officially opened in Palazzo Barberini, where Cristina was welcomed by a crowd of 6000 spectators as well as a procession of camels and elephants dressed in the oriental and with

Cristina settled in Palazzo Farnese, which belonged to the Duke of Parma, right in front of the Church of Santa Brigida, another Swedish woman who had chosen to live in Rome. Cristina decided to open a palace academy on 24th January 1656, called the Royal Academy, with the obligation for the participants to adhere to music, theater, literature and languages. Every Friday the former sovereign opened the palace to the wealthiest visitors and entertained them with intellectual discussions. One of the members of the circle was Francesco Negri, a Franciscan native of Ravenna who was the first to reach the North Cape in Norway, an expedition that he carried out on behalf of the queen, to whom he sent continuous letters along his path. Another Franciscan to take part in the academy was the Swedish Lars Skytte, who, under the name of Father Lorenzo, served as confessor of the Queen for eight years. He had been a pupil of Johannes Matthiae, and his uncle had been a teacher of Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. As a diplomat in Portugal he had converted and asked to be transferred to Rome when Cristina arrived.
As Cristina had feared, the publication of her profession of Catholic faith, slowed the inflow of its prerogative from Sweden and Cristina began to live on offers and loans, to the point that his servants had to use the doors of the building to heat the large rooms , without which these damages would be debited to her.

The twenty-nine year old Cristina was still very attractive and this often led to the birth of many gossip about him, as for his friendship with Cardinal Decio Azzolino, who had been secretary of the ambassador in Spain and responsible for the correspondence of the Vatican to the European courts . He was also the leader of the Flying Squadron, a movement of free thinkers within the Catholic Church. Cristina and Azzolino were so united that at a certain point due to the respectability of both, the pope had to intervene and asked the cardinal to limit his visits to the former sovereign while maintaining his friendship and then his whole life. In a letter to Azzolino, Cristina wrote in French that she did not want to be offended either to God or to the cardinal with her close bond, but that this "does not prevent me from loving her until death, and since God's piety prevents me from being my lover, I relieve her from being my servant, as I am from being his slave. "
The strange relationship of the couple that by now had become that of two desperate lovers separated by the respective conditions and conventions of the time, often pushed Cristina to particular and extreme gestures. Once the couple had made an appointment at Villa Medici near the Pincio, but the cardinal did not come to the appointment. Cristina then rushed to the ramparts of Castel Sant'Angelo and fired one of the fortress's cannons, throwing a ball at the gate of Villa Medici, whose mark is still visible today.
Having once again exhausted the funds at her disposal, Cristina resolved to visit France where she was treated with great respect by Louis XIV, while scandalizing the refined court of Versailles with her simple ways and masculine appearance.
Anna Maria Luisa d'Orléans, duchess of Montpensier, wrote about her in this period: "she surprised me a lot: she applauds the parts that she liked about the performances, thanking God for the skill of the actors, she throws herself on her chair, cross your legs and place your arms on the armrests in an unpretentious manner, assuming postures that I saw only assume by Travelin and Jodelet, two famous court buffs ... It is in all respects an extraordinary creature ".
The attempt to ascend the Neapolitan throne and the murder of the Marquis Monaldeschi.

The king of Spain at the time also reigned over the Duchy of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily. The French politician Mazzarino, also Italian, had tried to free Naples from the Spanish government by fomenting the intolerant local population, but his 1654 expedition had failed for this purpose. Therefore, Mazzarino considered Cristina as a valid queen for Naples, even more than the local population did not want Italians on the Neapolitan throne. In the summer of 1656, Cristina sailed from Ostia to Marseilles and from there to the carriage to Paris to discuss the matter with the French prime minister, even though the official cause of her trip was the negotiation of an emolument to be agreed with the king. of Sweden.
On 22 September 1656 the agreement between Cristina and Louis XIV was ready. The French king would have promoted Cristina as a monarch for the Neapolitans and she would have to prevent further aggression from Spain in the future. The next day the queen left Paris for Pesaro, where she settled for a while awaiting the arrival of the French. What prompted Cristina to accept the challenge of this new throne were once again financial needs: with the possession of the kingdom of Naples, in fact, the queen would be financially independent of the king of Sweden and able to negotiate peace between France and Spain . Mazzarino, in any case and for greater security, had proposed an alternative method to ensure peace between the two countries, namely the marriage between Louis XIV and his first cousin, Maria Teresa of Spain, a union that took place in 1660 and that made therefore fade the project of Cristina as Queen of Naples.
In the summer of 1657, Cristina returned to France, officially to visit the papal city of Avignon, but in reality to leave Rome infested with the plague. In October of that same year, apartments were assigned to the Castle of Fontainebleau. It was during this period that she committed an act that will cast a shadow on her figure, that is, the execution of the Marquis Giovanni Rinaldo Monaldeschi, his head groomer.
For two months, Cristina had suspected Monaldeschi not to be loyal and had her secret mail checked secretly, which revealed to her that he was plotting against her. One day Monaldeschi was called to agree with the queen in a gallery of the building in order to discuss some issues related to justice and when the two came to the voice "betrayal" the Marquis had no doubts reiterating that the traitors were to be punished with death and it was at this point that the queen extracted evidence of her infidelity contained in her letters. Le Bel, a priest who resided in the castle, heard the marquis's confession in the Galerie des Cerfs and broke into the room to dissuade the queen from applying such a strong sentence, but Cristina proved inflexible and although the marquis wore a chainmail , he was chased for the rooms for four hours until he was killed, pierced by two servants of the queen. Cristina, astonished and disgusted by the attitude of the deceased noble, decided in any case to devote herself to her burial in the local church of the castle, paying the masses for a year for the salvation of his soul to the local abbey. Le Bel wrote about this event: "She was sorry to have been forced to this execution, but she was convinced that justice came first of all in the crime of betrayal and she herself asked God for forgiveness".

Mazzarino advised Cristina to blame the blame for this killing to Santinelli, who would then be dismissed from the court, but she insisted that she was solely responsible for the death of the Marquis. Cristina then wrote to Louis XIV of the incident that just two weeks later she went to visit her friend at Fontainbleau without warning. In Rome, the population was divided, as Monaldeschi was still an Italian nobleman killed abroad and some did not believe it was possible that the queen was involved in this barbarism.
The killing of Monaldeschi, according to the laws in force at the time, was in any case legal since Cristina had the right of judgment on the members of her court, as also claimed by Gottfried Leibniz. Moreover, then, as emphasized by many of his contemporaries, the sense of state and duty was very strong in Cristina and this led her to perform acts out of the ordinary, for better or for worse, to the point that she continued to be considered queen reigning for the rest of his life. When her friend and confidant Angela Maddalena Voglia was sent to a convent by order of the pope so as to take her away from a possible relationship with a cardinal of the Sacred College, Angela managed to escape from the monastery where she was vexed by the local abbot and found shelter near Cristina . At this point Cristina felt entitled to issue a sentence of death to the abbot, which did not compete, but the religious managed to save himself by running away. [32] While in France, the former sovereign was willing to visit England, but had no encouragement to do so from Oliver Cromwell. He returned a short time later to Rome to resume his passion for the arts and the sciences.

On May 15, 1658, Cristina returned to Rome for the second time, this time without triumphs. His popularity, in fact, was much reduced after the execution of the Marquis Monaldeschi to the point that the same Alexander VII remained in his summer residence and did not grant further visits to the woman of whom he had been referred to so many barbarities.
Initially Christine of Sweden resided at Palazzo Rospigliosi, belonging to Mazzarino, not far from the Palazzo del Quirinale but when in July 1659 it was the same pontiff who asked the former sovereign to leave the papal court, after a period spent in the Villa Farnesina at Lungara. (now home of the Accademia dei Lincei), she chose to settle in the beautiful Palazzo Riario at Lungara (now Palazzo Corsini alla Lungara, home of the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Palazzo Corsini), rented by the Riario in 1659, but became the its definitive residence only since 1663, whose large park (now the headquarters of the Botanical Garden of Rome) rose up to the top of the Janiculum. Once again, the lease was signed by Cardinal Azzolino, who assured the former queen of having interceded for her before the pontiff and that the latter had resolved to grant her a pension adequate to her status.
Here Cristina, who had never renounced the title of queen, installed her little court, and of Palazzo Riario made the basis of intrigues, diplomatic travels, parties and gallant adventures - but also of vast intellectual relations (culminated in 1674 in the creation of 'Royal Academy - which was the origin of the Academy of Arcadia - to which was added an Academy of Physics, Natural History and Mathematics). Inside the palace there were no prestigious collections of ancient art as in use for the time, nor paintings by artists of northern Europe, but rather in the halls of representation were the portraits of Cardinal Azzolino, Bernini, Ebba Sparre , of Descartes, of the ambassador Chanut and of Dr Bourdelot, all characters who had somehow marked his life.

In April 1660, Cristina was informed of the death of Charles X, which occurred in February of that year. The son of these, Charles XI of Sweden, was just five years old. That same summer, Cristina decided to go to Sweden to point out that her desire to abdicate six years earlier was dictated by wanting to leave her throne to Charles X and his heirs and therefore, if Charles XI was dead, the throne would be returned to his hands again. Unfortunately, her status as a Catholic sovereign would have prevented this ascent, to the point that during her stay in Stockholm she was prevented from attending or having masses celebrated according to the Catholic rite. Therefore she sought refuge in her fief of Norrköping where she was forced to sign a further renunciation of the Swedish throne, then spending a year in Hamburg to obtain the necessary finances to return to Rome, using the Jewish banker Diego Texeira to settle his debts.
In the summer of 1662, Cristina arrived in Rome for the third time, this time to follow happy years in the Eternal City. The conflict with the pope was resolved but in 1667 the former sovereign was forced to return to Sweden to settle some matters and in that same year Pope Alexander VII died. The new Pope Clement IX had been a regular guest at the palace of the Queen of Sweden in Rome. Taken by the joy of this new election, Cristina gave a big party in Hamburg where she was staying at the house of Texeira but, forgetting that this was a Protestant land, the queen soon ended the party fleeing from a secret door and then returning in Rome definitely.

The fourth and last entry of Cristina to Rome took place on 22 November 1668. Clement IX immediately went to visit the sovereign and when he died of a heart attack, Cristina wanted to visit him on her deathbed. In these years he assumed as his confessor the Portuguese António Vieira.
During this fourth period of her stay in Rome, Christina of Sweden gave orders to open a personal theater in the upper floor of the building where she lived and then continue in 1671 with the opening of the first public theater in Rome in the former prison of Tor di Nona. by its French secretary Giacomo d'Alibert. In 1672, as a last hope in the political field, he was mentioned as one of the ideal candidates for the succession to the throne of Poland after the death of John II Casimiro Vasa, but his candidacy was soon closed because of the strong clashes between the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century with Sigismund III of Sweden, his ancestor.
To this failure was added the changed papal attitude with respect to public theaters that Cristina sponsored: Clement X, once ascended to the papal throne, worried about the effects that such shows could have on public morals, forbade the opening of new theaters while with Pope Innocent XI things got even worse. The new pope, in fact, of a rigid and deeply austere nature, forbade any theatrical performance, relegated the theater of Tor di Nona to granary, although many cardinals and exponents of the Roman clergy often took part in the performances, and forbade women to act sing and dress low-cut dresses. Cristina considered these restrictions to be completely senseless, and allowed her to continue to practice theater as usual in her personal theater.
Maintaining the status of promoter of art and music, Cristina appointed Carlo Ambrogio Lonati and Giacomo Carissimi as her chapel masters, Lelio Colista was her lutenist, Loreto Vittori and Marco Marazzoli her singers and Sebastiano Baldini was a librettist. Composers at his service were Alessandro Stradella and Bernardo Pasquini; Arcangelo Corelli dedicated her first opera, Sonata da Chiesa opus 1, and Alessandro Scarlatti directed the orchestra during the three days of celebrations for the celebration of the coronation of James II of England in 1685.

His political and rebellious spirit led Cristina to maintain a strong decision-making capacity even after a long time since her abdication and renounces the Swedish throne. When Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes, abolishing the rights of the French Protestants (Huguenots), Cristina, strenuous Catholic, on 2 February 1686 wrote an indignant letter to the French ambassador Cesar d'Estrees, and on 15 August 1686, in response to a papal provision of Clement X who forbade Jews to go out on the streets during the carnival, he issued a decree declaring that all the Jews of Rome who had wanted to do so could stand under his special protection. Cristina signed the letter as the Queen in claim of the throne of Sweden.
Cristina remained very tolerant during the rest of her life and assumed as her private theologian the Spanish priest Miguel de Molinos, persecuted by the Inquisition for his teaching that he predicted that sin belonged to the most hidden part of man and that in fact did not depend from the free will of man. Cristina sent him food and hundreds of letters while he was locked up in Castel Sant'Angelo.
In February 1689, the sixty-two-year-old Cristina became seriously ill after a visit to the temples of Campania to the extent that it made the anointing of the sick necessary for her. At one point he seemed to recover, but in the middle of April he got even worse because of a bacterial infection that brought her Erysipelas, followed by pneumonia and a high fever. On his deathbed he sent a letter to the pope asking to forgive her for the offenses he had brought.
He died on April 19, 1689, comforted only by his cousin, the Marquis Michele Garagnani, and by the faithful cardinal Azzolino who attended his bedside until his departure. The latter became the universal heir, but died soon after (June 8, 1689), leaving the goods to his nephew Pompeo Azzolino. Among the many and precious works of the Queen's collection, Pompey sold a Venus crying Adonis by Paolo Veronese, which today, after a series of purchases and trades, is finally at the National Museum in Stockholm.

Cristina had asked to be buried in a simple tomb, but the Pope at his death insisted first of all in wanting to expose her to public veneration on a lit de parade for four days at Palazzo Riario. The queen was embalmed, dressed in white brocade and a silver mask was placed on her face, a scepter in her hands and an enameled metal crown on her head. "The queen wears her cloak, decorated with hundreds of crowns and an ermine border, silk gloves and a pair of very elegant cloth boots". [43] His body was placed in three coffins, one of cypress, one of lead and the last of oak. The funeral procession was led by the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella to the Basilica of San Pietro, where the queen was buried in the Vatican Grottoes - one of only three women to have had this privilege. This privilege was also granted in memory of the tradition that saw the burial at the Vatican basilica for the Saxon kings who went there between the ninth and tenth centuries to convert to Christianity. His intestines were placed in a separate urn.
In 1696 Pope Clement XI commissioned a monument in honor of the deceased queen, concluded in 1702, in commemoration of his prodigious conversion and gratitude that the city of Rome owed them. This monument was placed in the body of the Vatican basilica and supervised by the architect Carlo Fontana. Cristina was portrayed in a gilded bronze medallion modeled by Giovanni Giardini, supported by a crowned skeleton placed on a pillow supported by two white marble puttini sculpted by Lorenzo Ottoni. Three reliefs below the French sculptor Teudon represent three moments of his life such as his renunciation of the Swedish throne, the renouncement to Protestantism made in 1655 in the cathedral of Innsbruck and the allegory of triumphant faith on heresy.

Cristina di Svezia Visited places

Castello della Castelluccia

 Via Carlo Cavina, 40 - 123 Roma - Rome
Castle/Fortress/Tower, Wedding/Convention/Concert location

A few minutes from the center of Rome, nestled in the green hills of the Rome countryside, Castello della Castelluccia has been restored to its former glory by careful restoration and transformed... see

Offered services

Golf, Hotel, Location for Ceremonies and Conferences, Park / Labyrinth / Pond / Garden, Restaurant, Wellness Center / SPA

Time period
Middle Ages

Italy, Rome

Villa Ciconia

 Via dei Tigli, 69 - 5018 Orvieto - Terni

Located in the province of Terni, on the outskirts of Orvieto, Hotel Villa Ciconia is an elegant sixteenth century villa surrounded by a beautiful park of century-old trees. The renovation has kept... see

Offered services

Hotel, Location for Ceremonies and Conferences, Park / Labyrinth / Pond / Garden, Restaurant, Swimming pool

Time period

Italy, Terni