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Christina Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric Hardcover – 5 Apr 2004
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'A stunning debut and an absorbing page-turner. Veronica Buckley writes with immense style, vitality and great humanity. The fascinating tale she weaves is as compelling as the most riveting of novels.'
'Christina's was a grandiose and reckless life, and Veronica Bukley narrates it with great authority and skill. It is a remarkable debut for an author whose previous occupations have been in the oil and music industries. This biography is filled with tragedy, farce and absurdity as popes, regents, mavericks, losers, philosophers and soldiers all involve themselves in Christina's wayward and eccentric progress, not very many enriching themselves in the process. As lives go, it certainly ain't dull, not for a minute'.
Geordie Greig, Literary Review
The groundbreaking new biography of one of the most progressive, influential and entertaining women of the seventeenth century, Christina Alexandra, Queen of Sweden. In 1654, to the astonishment and dismay of her court, Christina Alexandra announced her abdication in favour of her cousin, Charles. Instrumental in bringing the Thirty Years War to a close at the age of 22, Christina had become one of the most powerful monarchs in Europe. She had also become notorious for her extravagant lifestyle. Leaving the narrow confines of her homeland behind her, Christina cut a remarkable path across Europe. She acted as mediator in the Franco-Spanish War and, in return for financial support, was received into the Roman Catholic Church despite the fierce condemnation of her protestant countrymen. Christina settled in Rome at the luxurious Palazzo Farnese where she established a lavish salon for Rome's artists and intellectuals. More than once she was forced to leave Rome while one scandal or another died down; she was painted a lesbian, a prostitute and even a hermaphrodite. Her most impassioned affair was with a well-connected Cardinal.Later, when financial support from the Pope and the Spanish crown dried up, Christina began to court French favour, eventually even plotting with them to overthrow the Spanish at Naples, where she hoped to be installed as queen. Despite her political vacillations and a lifelong refusal to restrain her appetites, Christina ended her days in Rome relatively free from disfavour and financial strife. At the express order of the Pope, she was buried, with full ceremony, in the walls of St Peter's Basilica, one of only two women to be so honoured. Reminiscent of Amanda Foreman's Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Claire Tomalin's Jane Austen: A Life, Buckley combines a personal approach with a lively interest in the social and historical world of seventeenth-century Europe to bring this remarkable personality to life. See all Product description
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I loved this book, the finely drawn detail of it and the grand sweep of it. Buckley cleverly links up Christina's actions and writings with possible and likely motivations, and makes her real and believable (although sometimes, like the author apparently did, I found myself shouting at the book "WHY? Why would you do such a silly thing when all you had to do was......" )It was almost like Christina had flashes of really good ideas, noble causes and geniune concerns and then lost the plot. Again and again.
The horrible murder of Mondaleschi was a black stain on Christina's character yet I felt she got swept away in the moment somehow, and then realised what she had done. Or maybe not - the infuriating woman could be callous sometimes and stupid as well. I don't know why I liked her but the more I read the more she interested me.
The doubts about her sexuality seem unlikely to me, she clearly liked woman and I am sure she was a lesbian, however the author allows us to make our own judgements on that score. Her sexual orientation made her appear to be a feminist but she wasn't really, she actually thought women were soft and rather silly things and wished in many ways she could have been a man.
This is a highly readable and absorbing book about an interesting life, I recommend it to anyone who likes history, biography or just a really good read!
Queen Christina is perhaps - next to her hero father Gustav Adolf - the best known Swedish monarch. Her reign - as a child queen and as a short lived effective ruler - covers partly the time when Swedish power in Europe was at its height. The very daughter of the protestant hero king abdicating and turning into a Roman Catholic is itself a remarkable story. Her personality and her life style after the abdication were the talk of European courts and often provactive to scandalous.
This story has however been told many times. So ist is quite extraodinary that the author manage to shed new light into the personality of the Queen mainly by comparing reality with the very own view the Queen held about events and especially about her very own person. This is a remarkable achievement and very very interesting indeed to read about. So step by step a description of the Queen emerges properly not a flattering, but always an interesing one. She was a person who could not put into a box; one cannot describe her by using stereotypes. She was very special, but that includes not being very easy or in her case not even very likeable. Her very own perspective of her talents, abilities and political judgement did not correspond with the realities. I was wandering whether Sweden was indeed much better off without her as monarch...
Judge for yourself and and above all enjoy this book. It is written in a wonderful style. I would love to give more than just 5 stars as it is really difficult to write a interesting biography with a new persepctive about a personality about whom so many biographies have already been written. The author succeeded brilliantly!
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