Queen Christina of Sweden

Queen Christina of Sweden

Queen Christina of Sweden

Queen Christina of Sweden

Christina was the only legitimate heir to her father. Gustavus Adolphus, who died in battle, and she assumed the crown at age 6 but did not rule until 18.

Extravagant and fond of books, manuscripts, science and art, she is considered one of the most learned women of the 17th century. For example, she corresponded with Rene Descartes who died in Sweden in 1650 while tutoring her.

With her interest in religion, philosophy, mathematics and alchemy, she attracted many scientists to Stockholm, wanting the city to become the “Athens of the North”. 

She eventually abdicated her throne, converted to Roman Catholicism, and moved to Rome. When she died there in 1689, her coffin was placed in the Vatican grotto, one of just three women buried there. 

Christina’s financial extravagance brought the state to the verge of bankruptcy, and the financial difficulties caused public unrest after ten years of ruling. At the age of 28, the “Minerva of the North” relinquished the throne to her cousin and moved to Rome.  Pope Alexander VII described Christina as “a queen without a realm, a Christian without faith, and a woman without shame.”

Notwithstanding, she played a leading part in the theatrical and musical community and protected many Baroque artists, composers, and musicians.

Being the guest of five consecutive popes, and a symbol of the Counter Reformation, she is one of the few women buried in the Vatican grotto. Her unconventional lifestyle and masculine dressing have been featured in countless novels, plays, operas, and film.

Document signed by Queen Christina in Stockholm:  October 10, 1645. 

Queen Christina of Sweden: 2 Page Document, Signed, Page 1
Queen Christina of Sweden: 2 Page Document, Signed--Page 2

The artifact is a document, signed, in Stockholm, on October 10, 1645. 

It is a two-page manuscript, hand-written in Swedish on both the front and back of one long sheet of watermarked laid-paper, and is signed by the Queen as “Christina” in black ink above a paper-covered wax seal.

The document is 12 1/4 x 7 7/8 inches and is well preserved overall with a dark and bold signature of the queen.

In the document Christina, the enigmatic Queen of Sweden from 1632-1654, generously offers retiring military commander, Jacob Muller, a large parcel of land in Upsala County along with barrels of grain and an income for life.

****One of the ironic points of the document here offered is that Queen Christina seemed, on many occasions, to give the same lands and revenues to more than one person, causing massive debt to the government.

Full Translation of the Signed Document of Queen Christina

We, Christina with God’s Grace Crowned Queen of the Swedes, the Göthes, and the Wendes and Arffurstinna (female dauphin) and Great Duchess of Finland, Duchess of Estland and Letland, Mistress of Ingermanna Landh, let it be known that we, by favour and grace, and in respect of the long and faithful and courageous service, which both our most noble and saintly dear father, in a Christian and glorious remembrance, and thereafter us, and the Crown of Sweden, our faithful servant and Captain, the honest and powerfully Ujacob Muller served us for many wars, and [he] has been and has proven that he serves furthermore both us and the Crown as long as he lives and is able, is duty bound, to have and after we let him (effterlatit] that we herewith and through the power of this our open letter, hereby bequeath and

give to him a half of our and the Crown’s farm gardh) in Upsala county, Ulleraker’s municipality and Bondkyrka parish and Bartoga village, the Olofs aker, with all its appurtenances, to own and use, and enjoy, free of all and any obligations, and of the uncertain larger values in his lifetime, and his wife, should she survive him, as long as she is a widow and sole provider.

And because he now has retired(?), due to the daily obligations caused by age and weakness of strength, from the company (unit of the army of the Uplandz Regiment he has hereto commanded on foot, his own son Hans Müller abandoned and allowed [the word (eftterlåtit) means allow/toleratel. Thus We have with grace acknowledged his long service and (we) have granted him in his old age, and given him Jacob Müller thirty barrels of grain, and an accrued interest income which the Landzhöffding (Governor of the Upsala lähn (Upsala county) has collected, which he shall yearly receive, but it is also understood that this our gracious gift is for as long as said Jacob Müller lives only. Let it be known that we [us]recognize our duty and obligation to all the debt which, for our part, we wish and shall, perform and allow, especially and even more so seenkannerligen] Landzhöffdingen (the Governor) in the forementioned Lähn (area), the present one, and those appointed after [him], and others which this may concern, that they not bring obstacles to the often mentioned Capitein Müller or his wife, or any detriment/harm whatsoever. Furthermore, We have this with our own hand signed and Our Seal affixed. Date, Stockholm 10th October in the year 1645

*the first digit in the date might have been a “2” which has been turned into a “1”

In February 1689, the 62-year-old Christina fell seriously ill after a visit to the temples in Campania, and received the last rites. She suffered from diabetes mellitus.  Christina seemed to recover, but in the middle of April she developed an acute streptococcus bacterial infection, then contracted pneumonia and a high fever. On her deathbed she sent the pope a message asking if he could forgive her insults. She died on April 19, 1689 in Palazzo Corsini.

Christina’s sarcophagus is in the extensive papal crypt at the Vatican.

Christina had asked for a simple burial in the Pantheon, Rome, but the ceremonies instead lasted for four days.

 In similar fashion to the popes, her body was placed in three coffins – one of cypress, one of lead and finally one made of oak.

The funeral procession on May 2  led from Santa Maria in Vallicella to St. Peter’s Basilica, where she was buried within the Vatican grottos– one of only three women ever given this honor (the other two being Matilda of Tuscany and  Sobieska).

In 1702 Clement XI commissioned a monument for the queen, in whose conversion he vainly foresaw a return of her country to the Faith and to whose contribution towards the culture of the city he looked back with gratitude. This monument was placed in the body of the basilica and directed by the artist Carlo Fontana.

Additional Information about Queen Christina & This Document


An excellent manuscript document boldly signed Christina at the conclusion, Stockholm, October 10, 1645, by the only legitimate heir of soldier-king Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The enigmatic ruler writes,

There is an excellent wafer Royal Seal attached below the monarch’s signature.

One of the curiosities of 17th century history, Christina was characterized as “mannish” in part for her keen mind and interest in books, religion and science. Many of the leading minds of her time corresponded with her. She was visited by the French philosopher Rene Descartes who came and promptly died  after a short visit. She decided early on not to marry and chose to abdicate (several times), finally making it official in 1654; she was heavily subsidized by the government. She eventually wound up in Rome, converted to Roman Catholicism (more in style than substance) and was regarded by the Vatican as its most successful and noteworthy convert.

She entertained lavishly, many hosts were almost bankrupted when she was their guest. She became a generous patron to many of Italy’s artists and scientists. She finally died in February 1689 after an extraordinary life. Despite her wishes, she was given a lavish funeral and was buried at St. Peter’s Basilica, one of only three women accorded this distinction.

One of the ironic points of the document here offered is that Queen Christina seemed, on many occasions, to give the same lands and revenues to more than one person, causing massive debt to the government.

Monument to Queen Christina in St. Peter's Basilica
  • Date May 8, 2020
  • Tags Notable Individuals, Queen Christina of Sweden