Christina, Queen of Sweden reveals just how fictionalized the 1933 Greta Garbo movie Queen Christina really was. Garbo was much more attractive than the hunchbacked little queen was. She did not abdicate the throne to marry her great love; in fact, she abdicated partly because her advisors were trying to force her to marry to uphold royal tradition. The queen’s masquerading as a man in the movie is pure Hollywood improvisation. The movie’s assertion that Queen Christina hopped into bed with the Spanish Ambassador is unlikely, because most scholars believe that Queen Christina died a virgin.
Veronica Buckley’s superb book reveals the truth about the controversial queen to the scores of history and old movie buffs who only know about her from the movie. In fact, Queen Christina seems more akin to the beloved Princess Diana. Both became strong women after facing intolerable pressure to conform to the will of others, and both managed to break away from the stranglehold of royal obligations.
Christina, Queen of Sweden is a testament to Buckley’s adroitness at research and her considerable ability to make a long gone and mostly forgotten queen spring to life. The book moves at a comfortable pace and is a pleasant read. It is fascinating to learn of the queen’s contemporaries: Descartes, Louis XIV, and various popes and cardinals. This book is a great read for any well-told story lover as well as any history lover.