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Date: A.D. 1650

Obverse: Portrait laureate head left - CHRISTINA REGINA (Engravers Initials below bust)

Reverse: Hand of God emerging from clouds holding crown - AVITAM . ET . AVCTAM

Engraver: Erich Parise

Oil on copper portrait of Queen Christina by the Dutch painter David Beck around 1650.

Portrait of Queen Christina by the French painter Sebastien Bourdon who served as her first court painter beginning in 1652.

Portrait of Queen Christina as a young girl, possibly around 1638 making her around twelve years old.

Portrait bust of Christina by Giulio Cartari c. 1681 eight years before her death.

Portrait of Christina c. 1685 at the age of 60, a few years before her death.

Another portrait of Christina in her old age showing her standing full length.

Christina's father Gustavus Adolphus, the King of Sweden, was known as the "Lion of the North" and known posthumously as Gustavus Adolphus the Great. Gustavus was closely attached to his daughter and she had a great admiration for him. He arranged for her to succeed him and ordered her education should be that of a prince.

Christina's mother, Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg the Queen consort of Sweden. She never felt at home in Sweden and had a rocky relationship with her daughter. She is described as being tempestuous, excessive, neurotic and jealous.

Axel Oxenstierna count of Södermöre: A member of the Swedish Privy Council, Lord High Chancellor of Sweden and Governor-General of Riga and Prussia. A highly influential man under the reigns of Gustavus Adolphus and Christina, he served as Regent and mentor for Christina, oversaw her education and abdication. Under him Sweden saw modernization and the Instrument of Government of 1634, Sweden's first constitution.

Karl X Gustav of Sweden, Christina's cousin, who was raised in the Swedish court with her. He was at one time a prospective husband for Christina but her steadfast objection to marriage put an end to this. He was instead named as her heir and appointed commander of the Swedish forces in Germany.

Ebba Larsdotter Sparre was a noblewoman, maid of honor to the Queen, a close confidant and one of the very few women Christina took interest in. A celebrated beauty, she was nicknamed La belle comtesse or The beautiful countess.

This is a silver medal to commemorate the coronation of Queen Christina of Sweden in 1650. The obverse shows the laureate head facing left of Christina with the inscription CHRISTINA REGINA (Queen Christina). Below the bust of the queen are initials which identifies the engraver Erich Parise. The reverse shows the hand of God emerging from the clouds holding a crown to show the divine nature of her right to rule. Below is the inscription AVITAM ET AVCTAM or HEREDITARY AND EXTENDED.

The official number of this edition total was 3094 medals of this size, of which 125 were distributed to select individuals and 2699 were thrown out to the people. Many of the surviving tossed medals clearly bear circulation wear as is visible on this example which shows that they were later used as means of payment. However, the commemorative donations were not minted in given weights corresponding to coins but were traded at their silver value.

The coronation of Queen Christina took place on October, 22 1650 and was quite a spectacle. Christina went to the castle of Jacobsdal where she entered a coronation carriage draped in black velvet embroidered in gold and pulled by three white horses. The procession to Storkyrkan was so long that when the first carriages arrived, the last ones had not yet left Jacobsdal (a distance of roughly 10.5-km or 6.5-mi). All four estates were invited to dine at the castle. Fountains at the market place splashed out wine for three days, roast was served, and illuminations sparkled, followed by a themed parade (The Illustrious Splendors of Felicity) on October 24th.

The engraver Erich Parise was of French ancestry who worked in Rome until he was employed by Mathias Palbitzki and summoned to the court of Queen Christina in 1649. There he created the Queen's coronation medal and after Palbitzki and the Queen approved the medal designs they were ordered in May of 1649 and produced in 1650. His artistry is considered a major improvement to the work done previously in Sweden in this field. The fact that he also created medals for Frederick III of Denmark and Queen Sofia Amalia suggests that he may have spent some time in Copenhagen in the latter part of the 1650s.

He was hired as an engraver at the mint in Stockholm in 1661 with a salary of 300 dalers and in 1663 he joined Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie as a glass-maker at Jakobsdal. He is last mentioned in 1666 when he died unexpectedly at Läckö in Västergötland. His employment was not without problems as he was once charged with burglary and later charged with negligence leading to him not being allowed to work without supervision. In addition to creating medals for Queen Christina, Parise also created medals for Karl X Gustav as well as a large number of medals in collaboration with Johan Rethe.

Christina Augusta was born at castle Tre Kronor in Stockholm Sweden on December 18, 1626 to King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. King Gustav and Queen Maria Eleonora had tried three times before to have a child but were unsuccessful. Maria Eleonora gave birth to a daughter who was stillborn in 1621, another daughter who did not survive a year, and a son that was also stillborn. King Gustav also had an illegitimate child, also name Gustav, by his mistress the Countess Anna Sofia who was ineligible to be counted as a legitimate heir to the throne. The couple had high hopes that on their forth attempt they would be successful in producing an heir to the throne of Sweden.

Gustav and Eleonora were hopeful for a male heir and astrologers predicted the birth of a son. The birth was a difficult but successful one but they were surprised with the physical state of the baby when it arrived. By all accounts (including her own) Christina was covered in hair, born with lanugo which covered her much of her body. She had a large nose, a strong deep voice and, while it is hard to believe a midwives could mistake the gender of the baby they delivered, they reported to the King that it was a boy. When they supposedly realized their mistake they feared telling the king so it was tasked to Gustav's half sister Catherine to inform him to which he replied "She is going to be clever, for she has taken us all in." Although he was disappointed that it was not a boy, this did not last long. He named her Christina after his mother and announced her birth the same way he would a male heir. Maria Eleonora, already possessing a volatile temperament, was not informed for several days after as she was in a disturbed mental state from the birth. When she was told and looked upon Christina she is said to have screamed "Take her from me, I will not have such a monster!"

Christina would enjoy a good relationship with her father for the small amount of time they had together but it was decidedly less so with her mother. Variously described as tempestuous, excessive, neurotic, hysterical and jealous, her mother's sanity was in question from early on in her marriage to King Gustav. From the beginning she did not like Sweden and never felt at home there. It did not help that her husband was always away fighting in wars putting his life in danger and instilling a fear in her of him dying and never returning home. A relative stranger in a strange land, feeling isolated and alone, it is clear she battled depression leading to anxiety, mood swings, and volatile behavior that seemed to get worse as time went on, especially after the birth of Christina whom she had little contact with.

Beginning as a child Christina was seen as having more masculine features, mannerisms and tastes. When she was young she favored what was viewed by most at the time as games and sports for boys like fencing, horse riding and hunting. Nor does she dispute her dislike of being in the company of her female couriers in her memoirs and makes it quite clear as to where this dislike stemmed from. She writes of her distaste "for all the things that females talked about and did" and compares herself favorably to them by reason that she was more masculine than they.

Early on King Gustav secured Christina's right to succeed him and entrusted her care, safe keeping and education to his able Chancellor Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna while he was away. Maria Eleonora hated these times when her husband was absent on military campaigns and the very real possibility that he may lose his life was a constant fear that weighed heavily on her already increasingly fragile emotional state. Before leaving for Germany to fight on the side of Protestant forces in the Thirty Years' War, he made arrangements for a regency. Although he admitted that his wife was "a miserable woman", still he included her in the regency council but confessed to Oxenstierna that "If anything happens to me, my family will merit your pity, the mother lacking in common sense, the daughter a minor - hopeless, if they rule, and dangerous, if others come to rule over them."

On November 6, 1632 Maria Eleonora's fears came true. During the Battle of Lützen, one of the most decisive battles of the Thirty Years' War, King Gustav was separated from his troops while leading a calvary charge and was shot multiple times. His horse was shot as well making it hard to control and he found himself behind enemy lines where he was again shot and stabbed by enemy soldiers, fell from his horse and was dragged for a time until he freed himself. There he was shot one last time in the head and his body was was later found stripped of everything but his shirt. At the relatively young age of 37 King Gustavus Adolphus was dead and Christina, aged six, succeeded her father. Queen Eleonora insisted that the King not be buried until she could be buried with him. His heart was hung above her bed and the coffin was left open in a room where she could visit it from time to time. Chancellor Oxenstierna eventually put an end to this and the king's body was finally interred on June 22, 1634.

Because Christina was a minor, Sweden was then governed by a Regency Council. Although she was called "Queen," the official title she held as of her coronation by the Riksdag in February 1633 was officially "King". Although she had previously shown little interest in her daughter, with the death of King Gustav, Maria Eleonora began to take much more interest in her daughter. King Gustav had stipulated before he passed that on the event of his death Christina should be placed in the care of his half sister Cathrine of Sweden and his half brother Carl Gyllenhielm would serve as regent. Angered by this arrangement Maria Eleonora banned Catherine from the castle prompting Oxenstierna to exile the widow to Gripsholm castle. After the death of Catherine in 1638, Oxenstierna and the Regency Council decided that they should appoint two women to serve as the head lady-in-waiting and two as royal governesses, or foster mothers, so that Christina would not grow attached to any one woman as a mother figure or favorite. This seems to have been effective because she makes little mention of these women in her memoirs and, in fact, seems to have have formed very few close relationships with other women in general.

During this time of her minority Christina continued her education which she excelled at, developing a life long passion for academics and the arts. Her tutor was the theologian Johannes Matthiae Gothus who gave her lessons in religion, philosophy, Greek and Latin while Chancellor Oxenstierna took it upon himself to teach her about government and politics. She was intelligent and exceptionally studious eventually becoming fluent in German, Dutch, Danish, French, Italian as well as Arabic and Hebrew. During this time Sweden began efforts to colonize North America founding New Sweden in 1638.

Upon reaching the age of majority in 1644, Christina officially became Queen and sole monarch although her coronation was postponed because of the ongoing war with Denmark. During her regency, Oxenstierna had continued Sweden's involvement in the Thirty Years' War but he and the new queen clashed on how to proceed and she began to move out from under his influence. Oxenstierna wished to continue Sweden's involvement while Christina sought peace. Oxenstierna sent his son Johan to the Peace Conference in Westphalia while Christina sent her own delegate, Johan Salvius to sue for peace. In the end the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648 ending the wars of religion in Europe.

The coronation gown of Queen Christina

The crown of Queen Christina, originally made for her mother. It was made in Stockholm in 1620 by the German goldsmith Rupprecht Miller

Soon after becoming Queen Christina exhibited certain tendencies and held certain views that would pose a problem with different sections of the population and slowly erode what was, in the beginning, very strong popular support for her rule as the daughter of the great hero king Gustavus Adolphus. As with all hereditary monarchs there is an expectation that they marry and produce an heir. In 1642 Christina made an informal agreement to wed her first cousin Karl Gustav. They had both been raised in the Swedish court where they had grown close. Karl Gustav was drawn away occasionally to go on campaign but by 1646 he was regularly present at the court as a prospective husband for the queen. Once she became queen it became clear she was not only against marriage to Karl Gustav, but she was against the very institute of marriage itself, stating in her memoirs that she felt "an insurmountable distaste for marriage." It is suggested that it may have been a combination of a true distaste for marriage combined with the example of Queen Elizabeth I who also never married that emboldened her to make the controversial decision to announce on February 26, 1649 that she would not marry and that Karl Gustav would instead be made her heir. Her refusal marry, and her choice of Karl Gustav as her heir, drew harsh criticism from the nobility however they eventually accepted Karl Gustav and the three other estates (clergy, burghers, and peasants) seemed to accept both with little objection.

Christina remained a devoted academic and patron of the arts once she became queen which monopolized most of her time and drove her to spend lavishly in order to surround herself with art, books, manuscripts as well as writers, academics, philosophers, artists, and actors. In 1648 she commissioned 35 paintings from the artist Jacob Jordaens for her ceiling in Upsala Castle. In 1649 she commissioned or bought 760 paintings, 170 marble statues, 100 bronze statues, 33,000 coins and medallions, 60 pieces of fine crustal, 300 scientific instruments, manuscripts and books. She hired agents to search out and obtain more art, books and manuscripts for her collection and she spent much of her time reading and visiting with scholars such as Claude Saumaise, Johannes Schefferus, Olaus Rudbeck, Johann Heinrich Boeckler, Gabriel Naudé, Christian Ravis, Nicolaas Heinsius, Samuel Bochart, Pierre Daniel Huet, Marcus Meibomius and René Descartes. She spent much of her time watching and acting in plays.

Decartes at the Court of Queen Christina, a painting by Pierre-Louis Dumesnil the Younger showing Christina at court surrounded by artists and academics while sitting at the table arguing with René Descartes.

She hired the Italian architect Antonio Brunati to build her a small theater in a room of her palace and would invite theater troops to come and perform there and she would often take part as an actor. Her collection of art, which included the looted treasure of Prague Castle that house the great collection of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II, and her other pursuits were impressive but costly. While it is not rare for a monarch to spend lavishly on personal pursuits, there is the expectation that he or she will also busy themselves with the primary task of governance. She seemed much less interested in the business of government and was accused by Arnold Johan Messenius, son of the historian Johannes Messenius, of "bringing everything to ruin." He said she was a "Jezebel" that "cared for nothing but sport and pleasure." For this Messenius was beheaded with his 17-year-old son, an extreme act which seriously weakened popular support for her rule.

When she did turn her attention towards government, her actions often resulted in further accusations of self-indulgence and fiscal irresponsibility. Often it appeared she was quite tone deaf to popular opinion. In 1650 she was presented with a chance to support a policy that would reduce the number of tax-exempt noble estates. While this was very popular with the clergy, burghers and peasants, she chose not to implement it. Instead she more that doubled the ranks of the Swedish nobility from 300 to 600 noble families rewarding royal favorites and political allies with state lands and income. During a ten year period she approved the creation of 17 counts, 46 barons, and 428 lesser nobles which required the sale or mortgage of crown properties resulting in a loss of income of about 1,200,000 rikstalers.

Christina largely occupied herself with her studies and other personal pursuits to the point of obsession and at the expense of sleep, personal health and hygiene. She seldom slept, possibly three to four hours a night, and she seldom combed her hair. She dressed in a hurry and wore men's shoes for sake of comfort and convenience to the point that her disorderly and disheveled appearance was the norm. Working at least ten hours a day, her health began to decline. At the age of twenty five she suffered from pains in her neck and back, failing eyesight and high blood pressure leading to a possible nervous breakdown and causing her to suddenly collapsed in 1652. Christina had admired the Catholic Church and the merits of celibacy since the age of of nine and after long discussions with Jesuit scholars she decided to convert to Roman Catholicism. This was just another mark against her, a queen of an overwhelmingly protestant kingdom, whose father died fighting against Catholic forces during the Thirty Years' War, flirting with the idea of converting to catholicism.

After taking some time to recuperate from her break down, she founded the Order of Amarante, an order of Swedish Knights reserved for those who "participated in the Queen's most intimate pleasures", with the requirement that all members must remain unmarried. The order was named after the Spanish diplomat Antonio Pimentel de Prado who was sent to Stockholm by Philip IV. After his arrival he quickly became the Queen's friend and confidant and together they planned her abdication. At this time she had already begun stripping her castle of much of its treasures (about 6000 manuscripts, paintings, statues and tapestries) and shipping them to Antwerp, with the help of her new order, before she made the announcement to the council of her plans to abdicate in 1654.

Christina asked for 200,000 rikstalers a year as pension but instead received the income of select Swedish estates, towns and holdings to provide her income for the rest of her life. With this secured Christina abdicated the throne of Sweden on June 6, 1654 during a ceremony where her royal regalia was removed from her piece by piece. She gave a farewell address thanking everyone and left her crown to her cousin and successor Karl Gustav who was dressed in black. Karl Gustav would be crowned later that day becoming King Karl X Gustav and Christina left Sweden within a few days time.

From Sweden Christina traveled to the Southern Netherlands and stayed for a time in Antwerp continuing to spend large sums of money. There she entertained royal visitors like the the Prince of Conde' Louis II and Leopold Wilhelm of Austria. She went on rides and held parties where she and her entourage and royal visitors would watch plays and listen to music. She soon found herself low on funds and was forced to sell some of her treasure and accepted the hospitality of the Archduke to stay with him in his palace in Brussels where she officially converted to the Catholic faith. After securing a loan and selling more of her belongings to settle her debts there she left for her final destination of Rome with an entourage of 255 people, stopping off in Innsbruck to publicly announce her conversion.

From there she made her grand entry into Rome where there was great celebrations and she was welcomed by Pope Alexander VII who gave her confirmation and the second name of Alexandria. There she made the Palazzo Farnese her new home and a place for art, poetry, music, philosophy and literature called the Academy of Arcadia. There she developed a close relationship with the Cardinal Decio Azzolino, not without speculation as to the nature of their relationship. She also discovered that the revenue from Sweden would not be provided because of her conversion to Catholicism.

Sometime around 1656 Christina hatched the idea that she would ally herself with France, at that time ruled by a young Louis XIV, against Philip IV of Spain in their conflict over the control of the Kingdom of Naples. Her plan was to lead French troops as they took Naples and install herself as Queen there. In this way she could support herself free of Sweden or other benefactors and leave the Kingdom to France upon her death. In a meeting with the young King Louis at Compičgne in September of 1656 he agreed to her plan and she returned to Italy to await his instructions. Possibly impatient that no action was being taken she returned to France in October of 1657 but was ordered to halt at Fontainebleau and told to take up residence in the Palace of Fontainebleau for the time being. There she ordered her household staff to execute her master of the horse, the Marchese Gian Rinaldo Monaldeschi, a member of a powerful noble family of central Italy.

Christina suspected Monaldeschi of disloyalty and secretly took possession of his correspondence which she claims showed he betrayed her trust. Christina never produced the documents which she claims were handed over to a priest for safe keeping, nor did she reveal what exactly Monaldeschi had written that drove her to have her domestic staff clumsily chase him around until they finally killed him with a blow to the neck. Le Bei, the priest she handed the documents over to, claims it concerned her amorous affairs with either Monaldeschi or some other person. She returned to Rome but her reputation and popularity there was severely damaged after the execution of the Italian nobleman. The Pope wanted no further contact with her saying she was "a woman born of a barbarian, barbarously brought up and living with barbarous thoughts." In Rome she moved into the Palazzo Riario which was the place she would call home for the rest of her life.

In February 1660 Karl X Gustav suffered from a prolonged illness and died prompting Christina to return to Sweden that summer saying that if his young son and heir passed away she would retake the throne. Christina's attempts at regaining power proves that Oxenstierna was correct when he told her she would regret her decision within a few months. Of course as a Catholic there was no chance she would be welcomed back as Queen in Sweden and, in fact, she was asked to submit to a second renunciation of the throne and the title of Queen which she still employed. Christina left Stockholm for Hamburg where she attempt to finally get her finances in order leaving it to the banker Diego Teixeira to send her a monthly allowance and to cover her still outstanding debts in Antwerp.

On her return to Rome in November of 1662, she found she was decidedly less welcome in that city and she faced many complaints and allegations leading her to return to Sweden 1666 but there she was informed of a decree that limited her from entering or settling anywhere but in Swedish Pomerania. Christina instead chose to return to Hamburg. Pope Alexander VII died in 1667 and was succeeded by Clement IX who had been a regular guest at her palace and held a much better opinion of her. On this news she threw a great celebration that angered the population of the city resulting in an attempt to arrest her, forcing her to escape the party and the city in disguise. Upon hearing that John II Casmir had abdicated the Polish-Lithuanian throne, Christina again saw a way of regaining power. As a member of the House of Vasa she was eligible to run as a candidate for that elective monarchy. She failed to garner support in the election and was back in Rome by November of 1668.

Back in Rome she started a theater and was forced to deal with the changing attitudes of a number of different Popes. Some like Clement IX enjoyed her company and the theater, others like Innocent XI saw the theater as a negative moral influence and closed it down. She began her Autobiography, much of which survives today, and she continued to act as a patron to artists, poets actors and musicians. She saw the custom of chasing Jews through the streets during carnival as shameful and pressured Pope Clement X to prohibit the practice and on August 15, 1686 she declared that all Jews were under her protection.

Christina fell ill in February of 1689 and in April she developed an acute streptococcus bacterial infection and contracted pneumonia. She died on April 19, 1689 at six in the morning at the age of 62. She was buried within the Grotte Vaticane after a funeral precession on the second of May. Her vast collection of art, books, manuscripts and tapestries were left to her close friend and confidant Cardinal Decio Azzolino and was eventually sold and dispersed throughout Europe. Her removing her collections from Sweden was seen as a great loss to that country at the time, but in the end it proved fortuitous as the Stockholm Castle burned down in 1697 destroying almost everything within its walls, thus these treasures would have been destroyed if they had been left behind.

On the Appearance, Gender and Sexual Orientation of Queen Christina: Any examination of Queen Christina would not be complete without touching on the questions regarding her appearance, gender and sexual orientation. These questions remain mostly unresolved in an empirical sense leaving us to rely on her own memoirs, her unfinished autobiography and the many observations and opinions expressed by her contemporaries who met her or knew her. Indeed it may be that these questions are what still intrigue people and draw them to study this relatively obscure Swedish queen.

Few people who met Christina were not impressed by her unconventional looks, dress, and mannerisms. There can be little doubt that she did not conform to the conventional standards of the time for women, especially women of status like herself. On the subject of her physical features, the record begins with her birth where she was described as being hairy, in possession a large nose, black eyes and a deep low cry. As a young woman and into her adulthood people took note that she had a bent back, deformed chest, large nose and irregular shoulders. With her status as a queen it is inevitable that her appearance would be of interest to people and many accounts point to the existence of these features and abnormalities but to wildly varied degrees of severeness. Christina herself admitted to her uneven shoulders attributing it to the belief that she was dropped while still an infant causing a broken shoulder bone that healed unevenly. It was reported that during her childhood she met with many accidents that may explain some of the disfigurement reported. A beam fell on her cradle when she was a baby, she fell down a flight of stairs, and as she reported herself, a nurse maid may have dropped her on a stone floor.

By most accounts, including her own, her mannerisms are described as being masculine. This could simply be by nature or it may be that at an early age Christina began to see masculinity as a superior trait, even for a woman. As she was heir to her fathers throne, she was educated as a prince and it may be that during this education the idea of masculinity = superiority may have been instilled in her. Axel Oxenstierna, who oversaw her education, gladly remarked that at the age of fourteen "she is not at all like a female." Christina herself eschewed the company of females saying that she had "an insurmountable distaste for marriage" and "for all the things that females talked about and did." In her memoirs she compared herself favorably to her female courtiers because she was more masculine than they were. This suggest that at an early age Christina may have decided that being more masculine made her better.

This apparent masculinity and unconventional behavior would be noted by many others through her whole life. When attending a ballet with Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier, the Duchess remarked that she "surprised me very much - applauding the parts which pleased her, taking God to witness, throwing herself back in her chair, crossing her legs, resting them on the arms of her chair, and assuming other postures, such as I had never seen taken but by Travelin and Jodelet, two famous buffoons... She was in all respects a most extraordinary creature." As a child she was viewed as masculine for liking sports and games traditionally seen being for boys and as an adult it was observed that she "walked like a man, sat and rode like a man, and could eat and swear like the roughest soldiers." However John Bargrave who was a contemporary and met her ascribes this type of behavior to childishness or madness rather than masculinity.

Henry II, Duke of Guise stated that "she wears men's shoes and her voice and nearly all her actions are masculine" and several accounts note that she dressed and wore her hair as would a man. As she got older, little changed as François Maximilian Misson observed "She is over sixty years of age, very small of stature, exceedingly fat and corpulent. Her complexion and voice and face are those of a man. She has a big nose, large blue eyes, blond eyebrows, and a double chin from which sprout several tufts of beard. Her upper lip protrudes a little. Her hair is a light chestnut colour, and only a palms breadth in length; she wears it powdered and standing on end, uncombed." he states she wore "a man's jacket, in black satin, reaching to her knees, and buttoned all the way down; a very short black skirt, and men's shoes; a very large bow of black ribbons instead of a cravat; and a belt drawn tightly under her stomach, revealing its rotundity all too well."

Her perceived masculinity inevitably brought into question her gender and sexual orientation, something that she took notice of and addressed in writing stating that she was "neither Male nor Hermaphrodite, as some People in the World have pass'd me for". Through time various historians have asserted she was heterosexual, asexual, a lesbian or bisexual, but Veronica Buckley may be correct in asserting that she may have simply been a "dabbler".

It is true that Christina has been presented by contemporary sources as having romantic relationships with both men and women. She has also been presented as having little interest in sex and often presented herself as such. Certainly Christina had very close and passionate relationships with women, notably Ebba Sparre whom she once referred to in public as her "bed-fellow". She had an intimate and loving relationship with Sparre and often praised both her mind and physical beauty. When they were apart she wrote passionate letters to her in which she promise eternal love. However this love may not have been of the romantic kind, and there were also men whom sources link to her as a possible romantic interest such as Cardinal Decio Azzolino. The two spent many hours together and developed a lifelong bond leading to rumors of an inappropriate affair. It was concerning enough to the Pope to spur him to relocate Azzolino to where he would no longer have regular access to her. To Azzolino Christina wrote that she would never offend God or give Azzolino reason to take offense, but this "does not prevent me from loving you until death, and since piety relieves you from being my lover, then I relieve you from being my servant, for I shall live and die as your slave." When she passed away she left almost all her worldly belongings to him.

It seems most likely that Christina was born a woman. The mistake in reporting her gender was most likely fear on the part of the mid-wives of telling their monarch and the queen that the son they so desired and expected was a girl. Although she was seen as masculine, this may have been a trait she acquired during her youth when being groomed for power, where masculinity was seen as an important trait for those who wield power. Her distaste for marriage may simply stem from her early interest in the Catholic doctrine and the idea of celibacy.

Christina was highly unconventional and somewhat of a libertine thus it may be that her love and affections were not guided by gender as much as a personal intellect, passions, and beauty of mind or body. It may be that if she were more free to openly show her true sexual orientation she would have identified more as a man, a homosexual or bisexual. But as it stands today, we only know what the sources, which often offer wildly different takes, say about her, and from them few conclusions can be drawn leaving us mostly with speculation and conjecture.

While her life was supremely interesting, in the end, like any world leader one is driven to not only assess the person but how that person faired as a leader and arguably Christina, while highly intelligent, highly educated and sharp of mind and lively spirit failed to live up to the expectations of her people, which arguably weren't that high. Regardless of gender, any monarch would be seen as a failure in similar circumstances. There is an expectation that a monarch will have great wealth, luxury and will spend in the support of culture, the arts and sciences, but monarch is also a job and there is an expectation that they will turn their attention to matters of state and use that education and wealth with wisdom to benefit the people and the kingdom as a whole. Although she was spectacularly brilliant, she was, in her neglect of her duties and her poor choices when she did bother to turn her attention to her duties, a spectacular failure.

Highly popular when she took the throne she quickly eroded that support and alienated or angered every class of Swedish society save her many favorites whom she lavished money and royal titles upon in return for their adoration. She lost all support from those who once held high regard for her because of her self centered, selfish, fickle and spend thrift ways. She spent the rest of her life trying to insert herself anywhere that would give her a crown showing she did not care about Sweden, she just cared about the power, more importantly the treasury, she had given up and desperately wanted to regain.

She has been described as tolerant, liberal and a queen without a realm. If beheading Johannes Messenius and his son for daring to speak out against her by saying she was bringing the state to ruin is tolerant, and refusing to support a measure that would reduce some of the tax exempt estates of the of the nobility all the while doubling the nobility with people who were loyal to her is liberal, then so be it. She was a queen without a realm because she was a queen without loyalty. When she abandoned her own realm she sought to be the queen of ANY realm thus showing she had no loyalty to her people, she just regretted losing the power (more correctly the treasury).

As for her sexuality, it was complicated and to make a definitive statement about it would be unwise since sources suggest she may have had amorous affairs with both women and men...or neither. Lesbian, bisexual, possible asexual...more accurately call her a well educated libertine spend thrift who wasted her potential and the good will of her people on personal pursuits and all but ignored her responsibilities bringing her nation to the brink of bankrupcy before renouncing her crown and stealing away all that treasure she amassed with state funds. If one good came from her rule it was the fact that she brought culture and academics to Sweden, at the time hardly a cultural and academic Mecca. A disaster as Queen she would have served Sweden better as a minister of culture, academics and the arts..on a tight budget and under a watchful eye of course.