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The Hidden Stories of Women Buried in the Vatican: Uncovering the Legacy of Three Powerful Figures

Very few people know that three extraordinary and very powerful women are buried within the Basilica of the Vatican in Italy. Amazing, isn't it!?

Let me introduce you the ladies. They are:

Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689.) Painting by Ferdinand Voet. © The Uffizi Gallery in Florence. When I last visited the Uffizi Gallery, they informed me kindly that the painting was not on display.

Countess Mathilda of Tuscany, Italy (1046-1115). I took this photo of a huge banner of Mathilda on Malta. She was celebrated as a Saint, equal to all the other Catholic male Saints, during their celebrations in August. I was so amazed when I saw this, especially because she is depicted with the Papal Crown, the Keys to St. Peters Church (Vatican) and the holds a scepter, telling us she is a ruler. It's an extremely powerful presentation of Mathilda that Malta is giving us here. You will find, that she is also referred to as Matilda of Carnossa.

Queen Maria Clementina Sobieska, Poland (1702-1735) Ownership © Blairs Museum

I know a lot about Queen Kristina and Mathilda of Tuscany (both mentioned in my book The Hidden Camino.) They were both incredibly intelligent, tough, wealthy and powerful women. They ruled in their own right for sure. To this very day, books about Queen Kristina are still being published regularly as the legacy, independence and power of her life are still echoing throughout the halls of Europe. It's not uncommon either, that historians get into fights about her intelligence, strong leadership and sexual identity.

Sadly, only few books have been written, in English, about Mathilda of Tuscany. I think, that had Mathilda been a man, she would have been recognised in history, as one of the most famous and brilliant rulers of the Middle Ages. She may even have achieved Sainthood. In my opinion, the best book written about Mathilda of Tuscany is "The Book of Love" by Kathleen McGowan, but you can also watch this lecture.

Maria Clementina holds the title Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland via her mariage to James Francis Edward Stuart. She was a Polish noblewoman by birth and one of Europe's wealthiest heiresses. She is known for her 'ascetic life style', independence but died at the young age of 32 in Rome. She was exceptionally powerful in her time and very close to the Pope. Again, very little is written about her and her legacy seems to have faded out with time.

It was, and still is, most unusual for the Vatican to allow women of any position to be buried within their world. I therefore think it's worth looking into the legacy of these three extraordinary women all toghether. I mean, when it comes to Queen Christina and Mathilda of Carnossa, their enormous political power and influence that reached into the very top of the Vatican, is just exceptional.

Now you know where to look, please don't forget to visit them next time you're in Rome. I promise you will not regret it! You can even start exploring these amazing women yourself. I know you will love it.

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If you would like to know about Mary Magdalene, Women as spiritual leaders and Herstory, click on the links below:

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