Kristina Wasa
(Queen Kristina of Sweden 1626–1689)
The daughter of Gustav II, Kristina inherited the crown of Sweden in 1632. In 1652 she suffered a breakdown, and in 1654 abdicated, the first step in a process that led her to Catholicism and then to atheism. Her maxims are collected as Les Sentiments héroïques and L’Ouvrage de loisir: les sentiments raisonnables, addressing mainly ethical issues. But her academic interests were wide and absorbed her time even while she remained a sovereign. She is remembered in philosophy partly as the correspondent of both Descartes and Grotius . Each travelled to visit her in Sweden (Grotius in 1644 and Descartes in 1650), and both died of pneumonia as a result. Kristina's life after her abdication caused some scandal. In 1656, still believing in the divine right of monarchs (and ex-monarchs), she had a servant executed. Her apparently ambivalent sexuality has made her a figure of considerable interest to contemporary feminism.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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