Queen Christiana (1933)




Director:     Rouben Mamoulian.

Starring:     Greta Garbo (Christina),  John Gilbert (Antonio),  Ian Keith (Magnus),  Lewis Stone (Oxenstierna),  Elizabeth Young (Ebba),  C., Aubrey Smith (Aage),  Reginald Owen (Charles),  (French ambassador),  David Torrence (Archbishop),  Gustav von Seyffertitz (General).

Many say this is Garbo's best film.  Instead of Queen Christiana of Sweden being worried about religion, here she is worried about her lover (John Gilbert).



I just watched part of the movie (1/4/2005).  This is the first time I have ever watched a movie with Greta Garbo.  I must say I found it very interesting to listen to her rather deep voice and her mannerisms.  She's good.  So far it looks primarily to be a love story, but I loved Queen Christina's pleas for peace rather than war.  If more of our leaders were more like Christina, perhaps we would have more peace and less war.  She was a moving force in bringing an end to the Thirty Years' War.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background:

Thirty Years' War

1618-1648  --  a coalition of Protestant forces versus a coalition of Catholic forces fights each other primarily on German soil.


1606  --  in the free city of Donauworth, Germany, the Lutheran majority barred the Catholic residents from holding a procession.  The consequent violence led to the intervention by Duke Maximilian of Bavaria (1573–1651) on behalf of the Catholics.

1608  --  leader Palatine elector Frederick IV (1583-1610) created the League of Evangelical Union, a coalition of Protestant German states. Frederick IV had control of the Rhenish Palatinate, one of the states along the Rhine River that Spain wanted to acquire. The Calvinists in Germany joined the League.  

1609  --   the Catholics responded with their Catholic League under the leadership of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria. 

1618  --  Ferdinand of Styria became King of Bohemia and Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor.  He wanted to restore the power of Catholicism.  This caused the mainly Calvinist Bohemia to revolt, which proved to be the start of the Thirty Years' War. 

1619  --  when the war spread to western Germany, for help Ferdinand II called on his cousin, Catholic King Phillip IV of Spain. 

1619 (June 10)  --  the Austrian army defeated the forces of the Protestant Union at the Battle of Sablat.

1620 (November) --  Ferdinand II decisively defeated Frederick V at the Battle of White Mountain near Prague. Bohemia would remain in Habsburg hands for three hundred years.  The defeat also led to the dissolution of the League of Evangelical Union.

1621-1625  --  fall of eastern Germany to the Catholic forces. 

1625-1629  --  Protestant Denmark entered the war.  French regent Cardinal Richelieu provided funds for a Danish incursion into Germany.

1626  --  General Tilly defeated the Danes at the Battle of Lutter. 

1626 -- born Christina Wasa in Sweden, daughter of King Gustavus Adolphus II and Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. Her mother is disappointed she is not a boy and that she is "ugly" and so pays little attention to her. Her father was perhaps the greatest military mind of his generation in Europe.

1629  --  in the Treaty of Lübeck, Christian IV of Denmark abandoned his support for the Protestants in order to keep his control over Denmark.

1630-1635  --  Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years' War.  Cardinal Richelieu of France provided funds.

1630 -- King Gustav presents Christina to the Estates as his successor. Chancellor Oxenstiern oversees Sweden until Christina reaches eighteen. King Gustav commands that Christina be trained as a prince and then leaves for battle against Ferdinand, Emperor of Austria (Thirty Years' War).

1631  --  at the Battle of Breitenfeld, Adolphus defeated the Catholic League led by General Tilly.

1632  --  General Tilly dead in battle with the Swedes, who now had the upper hand in the War.

1632 -- the Swedes won the battle, but King Gustavus was killed at the battle of Lutzen. Christina becomes the queen. She is a devoted student, studying for 12 hours a day, and most consider her to have a brilliant intellect.

1634  --  the Protestant forces defeated at the First Battle of Nordlingen. 

1635  -- the Peace of Prague ends the Swedish period.

1636  --  at nine years of age, Christina questions Lutheranism and scandalizes her mentors by saying she wants to become a Catholic.

1636-1648  -- period of French-Swedish Intervention in the 30 Years' War. 

1640 -- Queen Christina participates in the governance of Sweden.

1644 -- Christina comes of age and is crowned again as queen.

1644  --  Ebba Sparre (Belle), an aristocratic girl, Christina's age, becomes a court lady in waiting.  Christina was very fond of her and used her as a confidant.

????   --  Christina was very fond of Magnus de la Gardie, a Swedish diplomat, but he did not return her affection.  He married one of her only female friends, Maria Eurphryosyne. (Upset, she forced the couple to France for a year, but maintained both friendships.)  Later she turned against Magnus for lying and taking advantage of her good will. 

1645  --  Swedish marshal Lennart Torstensson defeated the Imperial army at the Battle of Jankau near Prague.

1648  --   the Swedes (commanded by Marshal Carl Gustaf Wrangel) and the French defeated the Imperial army at the Battles of Zusmarshausen and Lens.

1648 -- Christina becomes the main force ending The Thirty Years' War.

1648  --  negotiations between Ferdinand III (Holy Roman Emperor), the French, the Spanish, the Dutch, the Swiss, the Swedes, the Portuguese and representatives of the Pope resulted in the Peace of Westphalia.  There would be no more full-scale wars over religion in Europe. 

1650 -- Christina invites Descartes to Stockholm, but the poor fellow dies and Christina is blamed because of her demands on Descartes without consideration of his poor health.

1651 -- Christina clandestinely confesses profound skepticism about Lutheranism.

1652  --  Jacob de la Gardie died; his wife Belle lived with Christina, but they separated permanently after Christina abdicated. (It is said by some that Belle was no longer interested in Christina once she was no longer queen.)

1652  --  Christina liked Don Antonio Pimentel de Prado, a general and Spanish envoy to Sweden.  He became her confidante.  (Some scholars believed the two were lovers, but today most scholars think that Christina was a virgin throughout her entire life). He was a friend to Christina because he could help her in any future request from the King of Spain for a conversion to Catholicism and abdication of the throne and because he was very supportive of her desires and goals.

Christina was horrified by childbearing and refused to allow pregnant women near her.  She for one did not want to be a "field for a man to plow."

1652 -- Christina has a nervous breakdown.

1654 -- Christina decides to abdicate and leaves Sweden to tour Europe.

1654  --  Christina had nominated her cousin Charles Gustavus Palatine to be the next king.  And so he became King Charles.  They remained friends and she supported his reign. 

1655 -- She converts to Catholicism, but some say she was skeptical of all religion.

1655  --  Cardinal Chigi elected Pope Alexander VII, who. died in 1667.  The Pope gave the famous convert luxurious suites in Vatican City.

1657 -- Christina attempts to seize Naples and become Queen, but her plans are revealed to the Pope. She has her betrayer killed in her presence. After these actions, the Pope turned against Christina and so Christina had to find accommodations elsewhere.

1660 -- She visits her estates in Sweden.

1660  --  death of King Charles at age 38. 

1662  --  Belle dead at an early age.

1677  --  death of Pope Alexander VII.  (He and Christina reunited before his death  -- although he still was critical of her.)

1667 -- returns to Sweden in an unsuccessful attempt to rule Poland. She settles permanently in Rome.

1680 -- Christina supports the arts and philosophy.

1689 -- Christina dies and is buried in Rome.


Torrey Philemon (Tracy Marks).. 1999.  http://www.windweaver.com/christina/people.htm




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