CHRISTINA QUEEN OF SWEDEN (1626 - 1689)
A victim of ignorance of the facts concerned with SEX and GENDER
Soon after birth a he was Christened as Christian but a week or so later, he was declared to be a "she" and the name became Christina. Her father, King Gustav of Sweden is recorded as saying - I hope … that this girl will be worth as much as a boy to me … she should be clever, since she has deceived us all.” Her father ordered that Christina should not be educated by her mother but by a council of royal advisors. As expected, when she reached to age of 18 years, she ascended the throne. She controlled the court well and is given credit for fostering the peace treaty or 1648 that ended the "Thirty Years War". Her ambition was to advance sciences and arts in Sweden - in this she mostly failed. She also openly announced that she decided not to marry. In secret she convered to Catholicism which combined with the other events led her to abdicate her throne in favor of her cousin. She left Sweden traveling dressed as a man toward Antwerp where she announced publicly her converion to Catholicism. It was then that the Pope Alexander VII invited her to be a permanent guest of the Vatican in Rome were she arrived the 22nd of November of 1688. She entered Rome through a magnificent gate decorated by Bernini. She was then 28 years old.
In Rome, Christina became a sensation, a patron of fine arts and an outspoken critic of some of he abusive policies by the Papacy. Pope Alexander VII described her as “a woman without faith – a woman without shame (I found no reliable reference to attest this assertion). When she died in 1689, her wish for a simple burial was not honored. The Papacy preferred to launch a publicity stunt – she was embalmed and displayed for several days to he general public. Eventually she was buried in the "GrottI Vaticane" and her sarcophagus rests now in the Papal Crypt in the Vatican. Only two other women were burried in the Vatican grounds.
There are many books and articles concerning Christina but unfortunately, these focus mostly on her sexuality instead of her achievments as one of the most learned women of her times and expert champion of fine arts. It is self-evident that even today, the nature of unusual sex orientations are poorly understood which renders reports and interpretations of Christina's sexuality dubious. One expeption are her own statments and those of a French physician, Pierre Bourdelot (1610-1685) who was consulted to aliviate Christina's severe anxiety about her personal sexual orientation. "... I despise everthing belonging to my sex ..." it is quoted she said but I found no direct reference to verify this point - Dr. Bourdelot asserted “she could overcome her problem by accepting the maculine traits nature had given her ..." in Ann Med Hisstory Number 9, 1937 and cited by D. Riesman in "Bourdelot, A physician of Quieen Christina of Sweden ..."
Christina became a sensation in Rome. She became a champion of fine arts and her collection was one of the best. She also demanded free speech and often was critical of Vatican's abuses of Jews and others. These aspects are omited here but there are additional comments iincluded in the presentations of companion images.