Princess Estelle meets noblewoman Kristina Gyllenstierna’s statue at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on Saturday, 7 November 2020.

Photo: Sara Friberg, Royal Court of Sweden

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel accompanied Princess Estelle.

Kristina Gyllenstierna is also Princess Estelle’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother.

Noblewoman Kristina Gyllenstierna was born around 1494 and married Sten Sture The Younger.

Photo: Sara Friberg, Royal Court of Sweden

Leader of the Swedish Resistance

It was exactly 500 years ago since Christian II of Denmark, known as Christian the Tyrant, began the Stockholm Bloodbath, three days after he was crowned King in Sweden.

Sten Sture the Younger was appointed Regent of Sweden in 1512 when Sweden was part of the Kalmar Union and broke away in 1513.

They ruled as monarchs with Sten working to keep Sweden independent from Denmark, as it refused to accept Christian II as their king.

Christian II of Denmark was not happy about this so he invaded in January 1520.

Sten the Younger was mortally wounded at the Battle of Bogesund on 19 January and died on the frozen lake Mälaren on 3 February, whilst on his way back to Stockholm, leaving Kristina a widow with five children.

Kristina received support from the common people and the Sture party to lead the resistance against the Danes.

She held the important strongholds of Stockholm, Västerås, Kalmar and Nyköping and all of Finland.

The Swedish nobility elected Christian II as their monarch in March.

Christian II besieged Stockholm Castle (also known as Tre Kronor) and began peace negotiations, promising amnesty for Kristina and her supporters.

She surrendered and handed the keys over to King Christian.

Stockholm Bloodbath

As a sign of friendship, Christian invited the Swedish nobles to join in the three-day festivities which followed his coronation on 4 November, including a meeting in the throne hall at the Royal Palace, on the evening of 7 November 1520.

Danish soldiers closed and guarded the doors were closed as King Christian complained the Swedes had deposed Archbishop Gustav Trolle.

Christian II of Denmark.

Kristina explained the Riksrådet had removed the Archbishop with the country’s best interests in mind, as he was a traitor. She also argued no individual could be convicted of the decision.

However, all those behind the decision were put on trial and sentenced to death.

Kristina was imprisoned, declared dead to the world, whilst the men were taken out to Storgoget where they were all beheaded within two days, known as the Stockholm Bloodbath.

In 1521, Kristina was taken to Copenhagen for three years before her release and allowed to return home to Sweden after Frederik I of Denmark and her nephew, now Gustav I of Sweden, deposed Christian II.

Kristina’s nephew ruled as Gustav I of Sweden from 1523.

Later Life

Kristina married Johan Turesson Tre Rosor, Gustav’s cousin, in 1527 and spent some time at court, including responsibilities for the royal children when his second wife Margaret Leijonhufvud died and his third marriage to Catherine Stenbock in 1552.

She died on 5 January 1559, aged 64, at Hörningsholm Castle. Kristina is buried in Trosa Country Church.

Kristina Gyllenstierna’s statue, as defender of Stockholm, now stands at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

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