Tora Torbergsdatter

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Tora Torbergsdatter
Spouse(s) Harald Hardrada
Noble family Giskeætten
Father Torberg Arnesson
Mother Ragnhild Erlingsdatter
Born 1025
Giske

Tora Torbergsdatter (born 1025 – year of death unknown: fl. 1066) was a Norwegian royal consort. She was the mother of two kings of Norway. It is possible, but unconfirmed, that she was also queen of Denmark or Sweden.[1]

Tora Torbergsdatter was born on Giske in Møre og Romsdal, Norway. She belonged to the Giskeætten, a powerful family from Giske in Sunnmøre. She was the daughter of Torberg Arnesson (ca. 1000–1050) and Ragnhild Erlingsdatter, maternal grandchild of Erling Skjalgsson and niece of Finn Arnesson and Kalv Arnesson.[2][3]

Tora married King Harald Hardrada in 1048. The marriage can largely be explained by politics and alliance building. The chiefs of the Giske family played a key role in power politics. The relationship between Tora and Harald Hardrada created strong ties with the royal family. King Harald had previously married Elisaveta Yaroslavna during the winter of 1043–44. However, the marriage between Harald and Elisaveta is only documented by the poet Stuv Blinde, and there are no documents about her stay in Norway. It is therefore possible that Elisaveta stayed in Russia, or that she died on her way to Norway. However, that would mean that the daughters of Harald, Ingegerd and Maria, who are attributed to her, must have been Tora's, which is not considered likely, as Maria was engaged to Øystein Orre fra Giske, who would have been her uncle had she been the daughter of Tora.[4] It is therefore possible that Tora was Harald's concubine.[4]

In 1066, Harald invaded England, where he died. Tradition says that Elisaveta and her daughters followed Harald to England, where Maria died, as it was said, at the news of her father's death. Afterward, Elisaveta and her second daughter Ingegerd returned to Norway with the Norwegian fleet. Elisaveta was to have stayed at the Orkney islands during this trip. In reality, however, the oldest of the sagas claim that it was Tora and not Elisaveta who accompanied Harald on the trip, which is also considered more likely, as she was the cousin of the Jarl of Orkney.[4]

According to Adam of Bremen, the mother of King Olav Kyrre remarried either King Sweyn II of Denmark or an unnamed Swedish king (possibly King Haakon of Sweden) as a widow, but this is unconfirmed, and it is also unknown whether this refers to the actual mother of Olav Kyrre, which would mean Tora Torbergsdatter, or his stepmother, which would mean Elisiv.[4]

Tora became the mother of both King Olav Kyrre and King Magnus II Haraldsson.

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