At the time of her father's death, Kristina was only five years old which meant that a regency government ruled the kingdom.
During her rein, the Peace of Westphalia was concluded in 1648 and Sweden gained extensive areas of land in northern Germany.
Kristina came of age in 1644. She was an intellectual and cultural queen, and internationalised the Swedish court. Her most famous guests included the French philosopher René Descartes.
In 1654, she abdicated in favour of her cousin Karl (X) Gustav. Her decision to relinquish the throne was due to her desire to become a Catholic. She converted in Innsbruck in 1655, therefore officially joining the Catholic Church. Kristina moved to Rome, where she became an influential personality. She died in 1689 and was buried in St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Queen Kristina depicted as Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare. Portrait by Justus (Joost) van Egmont (1601–1674). The painting hangs in the Audience Chamber at Gripsholm Castle, and is part of the Swedish State Portrait Collection. Photo: Nationalmuseum