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dunThe castle has also witnessed its share of unhappy events. In 1567, Erik XIV, who was Sweden’s king until he was deposed, had become mentally unstable and had his half-brother Johan III imprisoned in Gripsholm Castle. In his delusional paranoia about being plotted against by the aristocracy, he captured three members of the very influential Sture family and imprisoned them in the dungeon at Uppsala. Before the nobility could decide their fate, the king and his guards murdered them in the night. In less than two years the king ordered Johan III to be released, but his madness had progressed to the point where a rebellion was organized. Erik XIV was overthrown and Johan III was proclaimed king.


Photo: Outside the castle dungeons.

Move forward in time 60 years and the throne belongs to King Gustav II Adolf. It was from Uppsala Castle that the king, who became known as the Lion of the North, announced that Sweden would join the Thirty Years War fighting on the side of the Protestants. In fact the king’s reign was dominated by warfare and Sweden rose during this time to become one of the great powers of Europe. Sweden’s territory expanded until it was the third largest nation in Europe after Russia and Spain. The king died in battle, leaving the throne to his then six-year-old daughter Kristina.

gunillaQueen Kristina ruled the nation until June 5th, 1654 when her wish to abdicate was accepted. She had secretly become a Catholic and wanted to pursue her religion freely and therefore decided to give the crown to her cousin, Karl X. The ceremony was held in the State Hall of the Uppsala Castle. During the ceremony Kristina wore the full regalia, which were removed from her piece by piece until nothing was left but the crown. Dressed in a white taffeta gown, she removed her crown and gave her farewell speech. She later left the country, fleeing to Rome, where she is buried.

In 1702 the great fire that destroyed so much of Uppsala also had an impact on the castle. Efforts were made to rebuild it, but it was a slow process, especially when stones from the building were appropriated to use in the Royal Palace in Stockholm. The castle was eventually rebuilt in a French classical style, with a north wing planned, but never finished due to lack of funding.



Photo: On the castle grounds, Gunillaklockan (Gunilla’s bell) was donated by Queen Gunilla in 1588, refurbished in 1759.