The Making of a Queen: The Education of Christina of Sweden

Few European royals, male or female, writes M.L. Clarke, have enjoyed a better education than Christina.

Among those whom the accident of birth has brought to the throne there have been few more striking characters than Queen Christina of Sweden. She was unconventional and outspoken, careless of dress, masculine in manner, given to intrigue and dissimulation and also to displays of imperiousness and ruthlessness; at the same time she had the capacity for hard work and a strong intellectual curiosity, combined with a love of art, music and the theatre, of the elegancies of contemporary culture as of its solid learning.

Her career was as unusual as her character. In 1632, when she was still under six years of age, her father Gustavus Adolphus was killed in battle and she succeeded to the throne. She ruled for ten years from 1644, when she attained her majority. Then in 1654 she carried out a plan she had long meditated; she abdicated, abandoned Lutheranism, the religion of her country, for Roman Catholicism, and moved to Rome, where she spent the rest of her life.

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