Anna Vasa of Sweden
|Anna of Sweden|
|House||House of Vasa|
|Father||John III of Sweden|
|Born||17 May 1568
|Died||26 February 1625
|Burial||Church of St. Mary, Toruń, Poland|
Anna Vasa or Anna of Sweden also Anne (Polish: Anna Wazówna) (17 May 1568 – 26 February 1625) was a Swedish princess. She was the sister of the monarch of Poland, Sweden and Lithuania, Sigismund III Vasa, and starosta of Brodnica and Golub.
Anna was the youngest child of Duke John of Finland and Catherine Jagellonica, sister of Sigismund II Augustus of Poland. Her birth took place in Eskilstuna and was just after her family was released from captivity at Gripsholm, during which she had been conceived.
Her father ascended in 1569 to the throne of Sweden. Although her mother had raised her in Catholicism, she converted to the Lutheran faith later in 1580s. In 1587, Her brother became King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. Anna went with her brother to Poland in 1587, but was sent back in 1589 because the Polish court greatly disliked her being a Lutheran and the influence she had over her brother. After this she lived in Sweden during the reign of her father.
Anna engaged herself to marry her father's first cousin, Count Gustav Brahe who was a general in Poland. She fell in love with him as a child - he was raised at the royal court. The couple later met at the house of Brahes sister, Ebba Sparre, meetings which was considered scandalous: it was said, that Brahe had plans to take the throne through a marriage with Anna. In 1589, Brahe came to Poland, and her brother Sigismund was not averse to the idea. Although it was not the most desirable marriage proposed to her, she declined all other suitors. However, time passed and nothing came of her intended marriage. A definite explanation of this has not been found in historical sources.
When Sigismund succeeded in Sweden in 1592, he planned to make Anna the Regent of that kingdom, while he was to reside in Poland. Instead, their uncle, Charles, Duke of Södermanland, got the Swedish council to appoint himself. Duke Charles, a fierce Protestant, however, called Anna a poisoner and used that in denigration of Sigismund. In 1595, she arranged for the wedding between her lady-in-waiting Sigrid Brahe and Johan Gyllenstierna against the consent of the couple's families: this became a considered a scandal, as Brahe was engaged to another man by her family. Anna was much disliked by her uncle, the regent and future king.
When her uncle took the throne in 1598, she left for Poland to live in her brother Sigismund III's, court, where she spent the rest of her life. She was known as Anna of Svecia (Anna of Sweden) and was a Protestant member of a Catholic royal family. She did, however, return to the Swedish court on several brief occasions, among them in 1618.
Anna remained unmarried. In 1596, she was engaged to marry George John, Margrave of Brandenburg; the dowry and the date was decided, but the wedding was canceled for political reasons before it had been completed.
She was her brother's political advisor and acted as protector for the exiled Swedish loyalists and Protestants. She had to leave the court in Poland, because she insisted on staying Lutheran, but as an income she received administration of Strasburg in Royal Prussia.
Anna's appanage was Strasburg (now Brodnica), a Royal Prussian district in Poland near the Baltic, where she lived in Golub and Strasburg in the 1620s. She became very respected because of her great learning. She was interested in literature, music, gardening and medicine. She was a specialist in medicinal herbs and kept her own apothecary. By the help of an Italian assistant, she made her own experiments in herbal medical knowledge.
She was buried at the Church of St.Mary in Toruń, Poland several years after her death, as a Pope had first forbidden the burial of a Protestant in a blessed graveyard in Catholic Poland. Only her nephew, king Władysław IV Vasa, got that decree reversed. He built a beautiful black Dębnik marble tomb monument with a white alabaster figure of his beloved aunt.
|Ancestors of Anna Vasa of Sweden|
Palace of Anna Vasa in Brodnica, where she resided.
Nave of the Church of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Toruń, where she was buried.
- Herman Lindqvist: Historien om Sverige: Gustav Vasas söner och döttrar (In Swedish)
- http://runeberg.org/sqvinnor/0024.html (In Swedish)
- http://runeberg.org/sbh/a0039.html (In Swedish)