Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Monday, April 13, 2015

Christina of Holstein-Gottorp, Regent of Sweden

Christina of Holstein-Gottorp, queen consort and regent of Sweden (born 13 April 1573)


Although she is not well known in the United States, Queen Christina, the consort of Charles IX of Sweden, was a younger contemporary of Elizabeth Tudor of England. She was not yet born when John Knox denounced the "monstrous regiment of women," but she might well be added to his list of those female "monsters" who wielded political power when so clearly it was against nature and God for them to do so--such, at any rate, was Knox's opinion.

Christina of Holstein-Gottorp was the daughter of Adolf, the first duke of Holstein-Gottorp and his wife, Christine of Hesse. For those of you, like me, who might not know what (or where) Holstein-Gottorp is, the hyphenated name refers to parts of two duchies, Schleswig and Holstein; the combined territories, comprising Holstein-Gottorp, were ceded to Adolf, the third son of the king of Frederick I of Denmark, after Frederick's death. The remaining territories within these duchies were ruled by the king of Denmark.

Christina of Holstein-Gottorp,
c. 1610
While her husband went to war in 1605, Christina acted on his behalf as regent of Sweden. After Charles IX's death in October of 1611--and following his 1604 decree about who should control Sweden in case of his death--Christina once again was regent, this time for the new king, her son, still a minor.

Her tenure as regent was not long, however, because the boy-king, Gustavus Adolphus, was sixteen, and the age of majority was seventeen--his birthday was two months later, in December. 

Still, Christina seems also to have continued to act unofficially as an important adviser for Gustavus Adolphus, and she was, as well, regent for her younger son, Charles-Phillip, duke of S√∂dermanland, from 1611 until his death in 1622. 

But she still wasn't done with minding young members of her family--after Charles-Phillip's death, the dowager queen became the guardian of his daughter--her granddaughter, Elizabeth Carlsdotter, born posthumously after the death of Charles-Phillip. Though Charles-Phillip had been married secretly--so maybe Christina wasn't as effective as regent as she might have been . . . 

Christina of Holstein-Gottorp died in 1625.

There's not much info about this Queen Christina out there, at least in English--for this post, I had to use Google translate in order to read the entry in Swedish Biographical Dictionary, supplemented by Wikipedia!!!! Sorry, readers!