Gyldenstierne (noble family)

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The canting coat of arms of Gyllenstierna, and an illustration of Kristina Nilsdotter Gyllenstierna.
This painting illustrates King Charles XI together with his advisors, whereof Johan Gyllenstierna.

Gyldenstjerne, also spelled Gyldenstierne and in Swedish Gyllenstierna (English: Golden Star), is a Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish noble family divided into various branches and ranks. It is one of the oldest noble families in Scandinavia. The first known man in the family was knight Nils Eriksson of Ågård in Jutland, Denmark, who is mentioned in 1314. The family has a prominent position in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish history. It belonged to the higher nobility, and paradoxically, in Sweden it supported the absolute monarchy. The member with the highest standing was the noblewoman Kristina Nilsdotter Gyllenstierna, who as Sten Sture the younger's wife was regent consort of Sweden.

The family name appears, in the form of Guildenstern, in William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet (see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern).


The oldest known man in the family is the knight Lord Nils Eriksson of Ågård, who is mentioned in 1314. He was the father of Lord Erik Nilsson of Ågård, who had a son Lord Nils Eriksson of Ågård. With this Nils's sons Knud, Peder, and Erik Nilssøner, the family was divided into three primary branches: Restrup, Ågård, and Demstrup.

The family in Denmark became extinct in 1729.

The surname should not be confused with Gyldensteen ("Golden Stone"), the name of another short-lived Danish noble family, first recorded in 1717 and which became extinct in 1749.


The Danish knight Mogens Henriksen Gyldenstierne († 1569) was from 1527 feudal lord of Akershus, and after him came his relative Erik Olufsen Gyldenstierne († 1536). The Danish minister Alex Gyldenstierne (ca. 1542–1603) was in the years 1588–1601 Governor-general of Norway.


In the first part of the 15th century, the family came to Sweden with Erik Eriksson of Fågelvik, who after a while married the daughter of King Charles VIII of Sweden, Kristina. Among their children was Nils Eriksson Gyllenstierna, who was the father of Kristina Nilsdotter Gyllenstierna, regent consort of Sweden.

After Scania was included as a part of Sweden, a now extinct branch of the Danish family was introduced to the House of Nobility. The Vinstrop branch became barons in 1651, while four branches were given the rank of count. All these are extinct.

Nils Göransson Gyllenstierna was elevated to Lundholmen, a baronial estate in 1569. This branch of the family is still living in Sweden as baronial Gyllenstierna af Lundholm.

See also[edit]


  • A. Thiset og P.L. Wittrup: Nyt dansk Adelslexikon, Copenhagen 1904
  • Sven Tito Achen: Danske adelsvåbener, Copenhagen 1973

External links[edit]