Margaret Leijonhufvud

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Margaret Leijonhufvud
Margareta Leijonhufvud.jpg
Painting by Johan Baptista van Uther
Queen consort of Sweden
Tenure 1536–1551
Spouse Gustav I of Sweden
Issue
John III of Sweden
Catherine, Countess of East Frisia
Cecilia, Margravine of Baden-Rodemachern
Magnus, Duke of Östergötland
Anna Maria, Countess Palatine of Veldenz
Sophia, Duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg
Elizabeth, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Gadebusch
Charles IX of Sweden
Father Erik Abrahamsson Leijonhufvud
Mother Ebba Eriksdotter Vasa
Born 1 January 1516
Died 26 August 1551
Burial Uppsala Cathedral
Queen Margaret as shown on her grave monument.

Margaret Leijonhufvud (née Margareta Eriksdotter; 1 January 1516, Ekeberg Castle, Närke – 26 August 1551) was Queen of Sweden from 1536 to 1551 as the wife of King Gustav I. She belonged to the early Leijonhufvud clan of Swedish nobility (the name meaning Lion's Head).

Biography[edit]

Marriage[edit]

Margaret Leijonhuvfud was a member of one of Sweden's most powerful noble families, daughter of Erik Abrahamsson Leijonhufvud, a man executed in the Stockholm bloodbath, and Ebba Eriksdotter Vasa (a relative of the king) and was already engaged when the king decided to marry her after the death of his first spouse Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg. Her family broke off the engagement for the sake of the king, and her fiance married her sister instead.

A story describes this: The king caught his new queen and her former fiancé together alone, with the young man, Svante Sture, on his knees before the queen. The king asked in a rage: "What is this?!" and Queen Margaret swiftly answered, " My lord Sture is asking me for the hand of my sister!" at which the king just as swiftly answered: "Granted!" Svante Sture hastily married the queen's sister Martha Leijonhufvud, a woman so dominating that she was nicknamed King Martha. It does not seem that Queen Margaret and Svante Sture ever again did anything that could be seen as improper. If they did, they were not discovered. During the first years of their marriage, Margaret's mother Ebba played a dominating role in the royal court, and it was said that even the king did not dare to oppose his mother-in-law; her influence, however, was not political.

Queen[edit]

Margaret was described as intelligent and beautiful, and the marriage was considered a happy one. Her consort was not known to be unfaithful to her. Queen Margaret is credited with influence over the monarch. Her influence was of the kind accepted for a queen consort—that of speaking to her consort on the behalf of others. She was very active in this regard and often successful, something Gustavus himself admitted, when he reduced a sentence at her request.[1] However, she is not said to have used her influence to promote any personal agenda of any kind. The influence she had was not considered more than what was traditionally suitable for a queen consort, and in contrast to queen Gunilla Bielke—who was said to meddle in politics—Margaret was not considered politically active, because she did not overstep her boundaries.[2]

Margaret allegedly had the ability to keep the monarchs temperament under control, was a calming influence on him, managed to get punishments he meted out reduced, advised him to show mercy and leniency, all of which made her popular.[3] She gave donations to the still active Vadstena Abbey, following the example of her family: her mother was also the benefactor of Vreta Abbey.[4] Margaret often used the services of a cunning woman, the peasant-wife Brigitta Andersdotter, whom she often hired to see to the health of herself, her sister Märtha and their children, and much appreciated for her skill. She devoted her life to domestic duties and family life. She remained a Catholic her entire life, and it was painful for her to make clothes and curtains of the textiles the king confiscated from Catholic convents.

The monarch trusted Queen Margaret. He gave her tasks, such as supervising the governors of royal estates and power holders such as bailiffs or landholders to prevent power abuse that could breed political unrest. In 1543, he asked her to send spies to Södermanland to investigate whether there was any truth in rumored plans for rebellion there. [5]In the early 1540s, he instructed the governors of the royal castles to keep them for her in her name until his son became of age, if he should die while his heir was still a child. In his succession order of 1544, he stated that if he should die when he successor was still a child, Margaret should rule as regent in a guardian government with representatives of the nobility. [6]

Death[edit]

Margaret was almost constantly pregnant, which devastated her health.[7] In August 1551, she and her children made an excursion by boat on Mälaren between Gripsholm and Västerås, and on their return, she took ill with pneumonia. According to the chronicle of Aegidius Girs, Margaret thanked her consort on her death bed for making her queen, regretted that she had not been worthy of it, and asked her children not to quarrel. When she died, she was deeply mourned by the king. Tradition say that an eclipse took place upon her death.

Grave monument to Margaret, Gustav and his first consort Catherine (far side) over their crypt in Uppsala Cathedral

Ancestors[edit]

 
 
 
Abraham Kristiernsson (Leijonhufvud)
 
 
Erik Abrahamsson (Leijonhufvud)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Birgitta Månsdotter (Natt och Dag)
 
Margaret Leijonhufvud
 
 
 
 
 
Erik Karlsson (Vasa)
 
 
Ebba Eriksdotter (Vasa)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anna Karlsdotter (Vinstorpa)
 

Children[edit]

  1. John III (Johan III) (1537–1592), Duke of Finland, King of Sweden 1567-1592
  2. Catherine (1539–1610), wife of Edzard II, Count of East Frisia
  3. Cecilia (1540–1627), wife of Christopher II, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern
  4. Magnus (1542–1595), Duke of Västanstång (western Östergötland) and Count of Dal (Dalsland), mentally ill
  5. Karl (1544-1544)
  6. Anna Maria (1545–1610), wife of George John I, Count Palatine of Veldenz
  7. Sten (1546–1547)
  8. Sophia (1547–1611), wife of Duke Magnus II of Saxe-Lauenburg, who was nephew of Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg
  9. Elizabeth (1549–1597), wife of Christopher, Duke of Mecklenburg-Gadebusch
  10. Charles IX (Karl IX) (1550–1611), Duke of Södermanland, Närke, Värmland and northern Västergötland, Regent of Sweden 1599-1604, King of Sweden 1604-1611

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Karin Tegenborg Falkdalen (2010). Vasadöttrarna (The Vasa Daughters). Falun: Historiska Media. ISBN 978-91-85873-87-6 (In Swedish)
  2. ^ Karin Tegenborg Falkdalen (2010). Vasadöttrarna (The Vasa Daughters). Falun: Historiska Media. ISBN 978-91-85873-87-6 (In Swedish)
  3. ^ Wilhelmina Stålberg, P. G. Berg : Anteckningar om svenska qvinnor (Notes of Swedish women) (in Swedish)
  4. ^ Carl Silfverstolpe: Vadstena klosters uppbörds- och utgiftsbok (The account-book of Vadstena Abbey) (Swedish)
  5. ^ Karin Tegenborg Falkdalen (2010). Vasadöttrarna (The Vasa Daughters). Falun: Historiska Media. ISBN 978-91-85873-87-6 (In Swedish)
  6. ^ Karin Tegenborg Falkdalen (2010). Vasadöttrarna (The Vasa Daughters). Falun: Historiska Media. ISBN 978-91-85873-87-6 (In Swedish)
  7. ^ Wilhelmina Stålberg, P. G. Berg : Anteckningar om svenska qvinnor (Notes of Swedish women) (in Swedish)

References[edit]

  • Herman Lindqvist (2006). Historien om alla Sveriges drottningar (History of all the queens of Sweden) (in Swedish). Norstedts Förlag. ISBN 91-1-301524-9. 
  • http://runeberg.org/sqvinnor/0021.html
  • Carl Silfverstolpe: Vadstena klosters uppbörds- och utgiftsbok (The account-book of Vadstena Abbey) (Swedish)
  • Wilhelmina Stålberg, P. G. Berg : Anteckningar om svenska qvinnor (Notes of Swedish women) (in Swedish)
  • Karin Tegenborg Falkdalen (2010). Vasadöttrarna (The Vasa Daughters). Falun: Historiska Media. ISBN 978-91-85873-87-6 (In Swedish)
Margaret Leijonhufvud
Born: 1 January 1516 Died: 26 August 1551
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg
Queen consort of Sweden
1536–1551
Succeeded by
Katarina Stenbock