Brita Rosladin was a committed wife of a privy councillor who played a significant role within the power games of mid-seventeenth century Swedish politics.
Brita Rosladin was born in Stockholm in 1626. She was the daughter of Christina Posse and Colonel Fritz Rosladin. Her father died when she was just two years old. Four years later her mother remarried and her second husband was Ivar Nilsson Natt och Dag, the chief justice of the Swedish high court. The family carried on living in Stockholm, at least until Brita Rosladin’s step-father was appointed regional governor of Hälsingland and Gästrikland in 1641. Very little is known of Brita Rosladin’s childhood and education but contemporary sources describe her step-father as an unusually learned man.
Brita Rosladin married Sten Nilsson Bielke, a naval officer and baron. They had eight children together and lived primarily in Stockholm, although they also owned the property of Ekolsund in Uppland.
Following the appointment of her husband to the post of privy councillor in 1657, and particularly following his subsequent appointment as Lord High Treasurer of Sweden in 1672, Brita Rosladin increasingly took on a political role, becoming a significantly powerful individual within Swedish politics. It was the norm in seventeenth-century Sweden that women served as mediators to persons in positions of authority at various levels. Brita Rosladin was amongst the most powerful women to perform this role. For example, men who sought promotion or who were seeking several years’ backpay tended to send their wives to woo her attention in the hopes that she would intercede on their behalf with her husband. Similarly, foreign diplomats and other powerful individuals often also made Brita Rosladin’s audience room their first port of call when approaching the Swedish centre of power. Whilst some saw this as an opportunity in their favour others felt that the Lord High Treasurer was far too reliant on his wife’s intercessions.
Brita Rosladin died in Stockholm in 1675. According to contemporary accounts she died following a stroke she suffered one night which had been brought on by a fright caused by a burglar. She is buried in the Riddarholmen church in Stockholm beside her husband.