Princess Cecilia of Sweden

Cecilia of Sweden.
Swedish Royalty
House of Vasa
Arms of the House of Vasa.svg
Gustav I
Erik Johansson, Cecilia Månsdotter
Eric XIV, John III, Catherine, Cecilia, Magnus, Anna Maria, Sophia, Elizabeth, Charles IX
Eric XIV
Sigrid, Gustav
John III
Sigismund, Anna, John
Władysław IV, John II Casimir, John Albert, Charles Ferdinand, Alexander Charles, Anna Catherine Constance
Charles IX
Catherine, Gustav II Adolf, Maria Elizabeth, Christina, Charles Philip
Charles X Gustav
Gustav II Adolf
Princess Cecilia of Sweden

Cecilia of Sweden, (Swedish: Cecilia Gustavsdotter Vasa) (Stockholm, 16 November 1540 – Brussels, 27 January 1627), was Princess of Sweden as the daughter of King Gustav I and his second queen, Margareta Leijonhufvud, a Swedish noble and Margravine of Baden-Rodemachern through marriage with Christopher II, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern. She was regent of Baden-Rodemachern in the 1580s.

Early life

As a child, she had a delicate health and was often sick, but as an adult, she became healthy, beautiful, and energetic. Princess Cecilia is often talked about as the "Black Sheep" of her family; she was a controversial person, the centre of many scandals throughout her lifetime. Several negotiations were made to arrange a marriage, but the scandals she was involved in prohibited the plans for several years. In 1559, at the wedding in Vadstena between her eldest sister Princess Catherine and Edzard II of Ostfriesland, her brothers observed a man climbing into her window several nights in a row, and when they decided to investigate the matter the following night, they caught the brother of the groom, John II of Ostfreisland (1534-1591), in Cecilia's bedroom without any hose (pants) on. This caused a great scandal; after having refused to marry Cecilia, the count was thrown in jail for a year, and some sources indicate that he was castrated. Cecilia herself was so beaten up by her father that she accused him of having ripped her hair off. Her brothers printed a coin which pictured her as Susanna in the bath, indicating that she was as innocent as the legendary Susanna of the Bible.

Princess Cecilia was involved in a few other incidents, also considered to be scandalous. People gossipped about what technique of contraception she used, claiming that she spat in the mouth of a toad to avoid pregnancy. Her half-brother king Eric XIV wrote a new protocol of movement of the court when he caught her having a nightly party in her private appartements.


In 1564, she was married to Christopher II, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern (1537 - 1575). Immediately after the wedding she travelled to England in an attempt to convince Queen Elizabeth I to marry her half-brother King Eric XIV. While there she delivered her first child, Edward, who was carried to his christening by Elizabeth. Among her lady-in-waitings were Helena Snakenborg, who was to stay at the English court.

She stayed in England for about a year, and learned to speak English. During her stay at the English court, she wasted so much money that she attempted to escape from her creditors, but she was caught in Dover in 1565 and a great deal of her jewellery and wardrobe was confiscated by the creditors. She was pregnant at this point, and when she finally reached Rodemachern (now Rodemack) her son was born handicapped, for which she blamed her creditors for the rest of her life.

Countess of Arboga

In 1571 Cecilia and her family, as protestants, felt threatened by the religious war in the Netherlands and the troops of the Duke of Alba nearby and moved to Sweden. When she arrived, she was told that an English merchant, John Dymosh, had arrived in the country recently; this was one of her old creditors from England, and Cecilia took revenge by confiscating his ship and having him put in jail; he remained there five years.

Cecilia was given the city of Arboga as a fief and she lived there ruling the city under the title Countess of Arboga. She supported herself by its taxes, by financing a fleet of pirates on the sea to plunder foreign ships and hiding the profit from her brothers; she also engaged in mining and merchandise. After her husband's death in 1575 she converted to Catholicism to secure the domains of her sons, which had been captured by Catholic troops. At this time, Elizabeth I of England for some reason offered her the hand of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, but Cecilia was advised to decline by her brother king, John III of Sweden, which she did.

In 1578 Cecilia became involved with the Spanish ambassador, Francisco de Eraso, to give her fleet of pirates to the Spanish King in exchange for the post of governor in Luxembourg or some other Spanish province. She was suspected of plotting against her brother the King, John III of Sweden, as the Spanish ambassador often visited her, and one night, she was captured visiting his house incognito in Stockholm. She left Sweden in 1579 and returned to Rodemack, where she gave birth to the child of Francisco de Eraso, a girl she called Caritas and left in a convent.

Later life

Princess Cecilia now gave her sons in the custody of the Jesuits for education, while she, as a Catholic, took the responsibility of the estates of Baden-Rodemachern as regent. As regent within the Holy German Empire, she had the right to a seat at the empirical German-Roman assembly, a right she also used. She met the pope on several occasions and travelled between the Catholic courts of Europe. Her siding with the Catholics made her the target of Protestant propaganda, who accused her of hosting a brothel in Brussels (1594). She had many problems being hunted by creditors, nearly killed by one of them and chased into the house of the archbishop of Trier in Luxembourg in 1610. She died at a very advanced age for that time and is buried under the floor in the church in Rodemack.



Johan Kristiersson (Vasa)
Erik Johansson (Vasa)
Birgitta Gustafsdotter (Sture)
Gustav I of Sweden (Vasa)
Måns Karlsson (Eka)
Cecilia Månsdotter (Eka)
Sigrid Eskilsdotter (Banér)
Cecilia of Sweden (Vasa)
Abraham Kristiernsson (Leijonhuvud)
Erik Abrahamsson (Leijonhufvud)
Birgitta Månsdotter (Natt och Dag)
Margareta Leijonhufvud
Erik Karlsson (Vasa)
Ebba Eriksdotter (Vasa)
Anna Karlsdotter (Vinstorpa)


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