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Queen Christina's Abdication Document, Statsrättsliga handlingar, Drottning Kristinas abdikationsakt, Uppsala, June 6, 1654. National Archives of Sweden, SE/RA/25.2/25/A, bildid: R0001305_00002. Used under Creative Commons License,

On this Day: Queen Christina of Sweden Abdicates June 6, 1654

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On this day, June 6, 1654, the Swedish Queen Christina abdicated her throne and converted to Catholicism.

Drottning Christina, 1 grafiskt blad, litografi, Litografi föreställande Kristina (1626-1689), drottning av Sverige. Konstnär: Eberharth. Photo by Flickr user Skara kommun, Oct. 19, 2011. Used Creative Commons License


Queen Christina, born Kristina Augusta in December of 1626 in Stockholm, Sweden, was the first Swedish female regent in her own right, after her father had made her crown princess and a future queen (”rätta arvfurstinna och drottning”) in 1627, in case he did not produce a legitimate son and heir to the throne.

Her father, King Gustav II Adolf (also known as Gustavus Adolphus) died at the battle of Lützen (part of the Thirty Year’s War) in 1632, when Christina was still a young child. While she became queen upon his death, her powers were managed by a five chancellor board led by Axel Oxensiterna, Chancellor of Sweden, during her minority. During this time, Sweden got its first Regeringsform, or Instrument of Government, in 1634. Christina was declared of age at 18 and ruled until her abdication. During her minority and after coming of age, she was implored by the Chancellor of Sweden to get married in order to secure the succession of the Swedish throne. Christina refused outright during a royal chancellor meeting, and named her cousin and suitor Karl X Gustav her successor, and he was formally announced as such during her coronation. The continuation of the Vasa dynasty was therefore ensured.

When Christina, years later, announced her abdication, she did not give a reason but claimed it would become clear why. Following her conversion to the Catholic faith, it has been widely accepted that this was the reason for her abdication.


Queen Christina’s Abdication Document, Statsrättsliga handlingar, Drottning Kristinas abdikationsakt, Uppsala, June 6, 1654. National Archives of Sweden, SE/RA/25.2/25/A, bildid: R0001305_00002. Used under Creative Commons License,

Upon leaving Sweden, Christina took up residency in the Vatican, where her first residence was reportedly the Tower of Winds.

As part of her abdication, Christina ensured that she would receive financial support for the duration of her life.

Queen Christina’s papers and correspondence are stored at the Swedish National Archives, where some items, such as her abdication document, pictured above, have been made digitally available for public use. A copy of the abdication document is also stored in the Vatican archives. She was well-known for her interests in the arts, and also wrote maxisms.

Queen Christina died in Rome in 1689, and is buried in St Peter’s Basilica, where a monument has been erected in her honor.

Library of Congress Collection Items

The Library of Congress collection holds several sources related to Queen Christina, including:

The importance of June 6

June 6 marks many important events in Swedish history. In 1523, Gustav Vasa was elected king on this date, creating Sweden. In 1809, the Swedish Constitution (1809 års regeringsform) was signed on June 6, marking the creation of the modern constitutional monarchy. Also, the most recent constitution (Regeringsformen av 1974) was adopted on June 6. It is not surprising that the Swedes chose June 6 as the National Day of Sweden.


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