So many queens have sat on thrones and complied with all the societal expectations of their role. Only a few queens have been brave enough to go against the norm and stand out during their reign.
One of them was Queen Christina of Sweden, who defied gender and religious norms during her reign in the 17th century.
Christina was born in 1626 and was the daughter of King Gustavus Adolphus Vasa of Sweden. Her mother was a German princess, Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. She was the only heir to the throne, as she was her parents’ only surviving child.
This could explain why Christina’s father gave her the same education a boy would’ve received while she was growing up. At a young age, she had a strong interest in the arts. Christina hardly had any time to be a child, as when she was only six years old, her father died in battle in 1632, and she suddenly became Queen Christina.
However, she didn’t take the throne immediately and had to wait until she was a proper age. So, until she could assume the throne, Lord High Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, one of her father’s advisors, ruled Sweden in her place.
Although Christina did not rule right away, she was consulted on political matters at a young age. She had ambitions to improve Swedish infrastructure and make education more accessible to the lower classes.
When she took the throne, one of her biggest accomplishments was ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 and declaring that a state’s official religion should coincide with the religion of its ruler.
She quickly got to work on expanding education throughout Sweden and impressively established the first Swedish newspaper. Christina also became a patron of the arts and supported local artists, writers, musicians, and live theater, taking the stage herself as an amateur actress on several occasions.
While her political accomplishments were impressive, Christina’s nobles and subjects became fascinated and even concerned with her unconventionality. Christina was known for dressing in very masculine clothes, which was quite uncommon for a queen. She wore men’s shoes, spoke in a low-toned voice, and styled her hair like a young man.