Thieves stole priceless Swedish crown jewels from Strängnäs Cathedral, west of Stockholm, on Tuesday, 31 July 2018.

Stolen: The two crowns and orb (centre front). Photo: Swedish Police/Polisen

They took two crowns and a royal orb (riksapple) before making a quick getaway in a small motorboat moored just below the church.

The two crowns were the 17th Century funeral regalia of Karl IX who reigned from 22 March 1604 until 30 October 1611, and his second wife Queen Christina of Holstein-Gottorp.

They were initially buried with the royal couple, but they were later exhumed and put on display in the cathedral.

Strängnäs Cathedral was open with staff on duty, but it closed after the theft as the police

Police suspect the suspects left the church riding two black women’s bicycles, which were found near the jetty.

It is believed the two bikes were also stolen prior to the heist.

Police pursued the thieves but, so far no arrests were made.

However, the Swedish Police Authority are still continuing their search and now calling for witnesses to come forward with any information.

Monument above the family crypt of Karl IX of Sweden at Strängnäs Cathredal Stockholm. Photo: Jacob Truedson Demitz

About Karl IX and Queen Christina

The youngest son of King Gustav I and his second wife, Margaret Leijonhufvud, was born 4 October 1550 at Stockholm Castle and given the Duchy of Södermanland.

Karl IX of Sweden. Unknown artist.

Sweden was in the middle of intense religious strife between Catholics and Protestants, which eventually led to the Thirty Years’ War.

He first married Anna Marie of Palatinate-Simmern in 1579 until her untimely death in 1589, aged 28.

On 8 July 1592, Karl married his second wife Christina of Holstein-Gottorp on 8 July 1592 and produced five children, with three surviving until adulthood.

Christina of Holstein-Gottorp, Queen of Sweden (1573-1625). Unknown artist. NMGrh 425

His older brother Johan III died in November 1592 but the Swedish throne went to his nephew and Habsburg ally, Sigismund III Vasa. Sigismund was also King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania until 1632.

However, Sigismund was deposed by the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) in 1599, following his defeat at the Battle of Stångebro and forced to agree to harsh terms.

The Swedes eventually elected Karl IX as King who ruled from 1604 until his death at Nyköping on 30 October 1611, aged 61. His 17-year-old son succeeded him as Gustav II Adolf with Queen Christina acting as Regent until came of age.

Queen Christina died at Gripsholm Castle on 8 December 1625, aged 52.

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