Christina, later adopted the name Christina Alexandra, was Queen regnant of Sweden from 1633 to 1654, using the titles of Queen of Swedes, Goths, and Vandals, Grand Princess of Finland, and Duchess of Ingria, Estonia, Livonia and Karelia. She was the only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolph and his wife Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. As the heiress presumptive, at the age of six she succeeded her father on the throne of Sweden upon his death at the Battle of Lützen. Being the daughter of a Protestant champion in the Thirty Years' War, she caused a scandal when she abdicated her throne and converted to Roman Catholicism in 1654. She spent her later years in Rome, becoming a leader of the theatrical and musical life there. As a queen without a country, she protected many artists and projects. She is one of the few women buried in the Vatican grotto.
Christina was moody, intelligent, and interested in books and manuscripts, religion, alchemy, and science. She wanted Stockholm to become the Athens of the North. Influenced by the Counter Reformation, she was increasingly attracted to the Baroque and Mediterranean culture that took her away from her Protestant country. Her unconventional lifestyle and masculine dressing and behaviour would feature in countless novels and plays, and in opera and film.