Helen of Sweden (13th century)

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Not to be confused with Helen of Sweden (12th century).
Princess Helen's heraldic arms
Swedish Royalty
House of Sverker
Helen of Sweden (1190s) heraldry 1725 drawing.jpg
Sverker I
Prince John
Charles VII
Princess Ingegerd
Charles VII
Sverker II
Boleslaw, Kol
Sverker II
Princess Helena
John I
John I

Helen of Sweden (c. 1190 – 1247, Swedish: Helena) was a Swedish princess and abbess, daughter of King Sverker II of Sweden and the mother of Queen Catherine of Sweden. She was Abbess of Vreta Abbey.


Helen was born in Denmark, the daughter of King Sverker II and Queen Benecicta. Her father was an exile there at that time. In 1195 or 1196, he was crowned King of Sweden. In 1208, he was deposed, and in 1210, he died in battle.

Helen was the first of the three prominent victims of the Maid Abduction from Vreta, others being her daughter Benedicta of Bjelbo and granddaughter Ingrid Svantepolksdotter. Helen Sverkersdotter, the only daughter of the deposed king, was educated at Vreta Abbey at the time of her father's death. Her relatives would not even hear the proposal of young Sune Folkason (died 1247), son of an earl who had been among Sverker's opponents in the battle in which he himself fell. Sune Folkesson was of one of the two dynasties that been rivals for the Swedish throne since 1130, and Helen was from the other, the Sverker dynasty. Sune Folkason abducted Helena and took her, according to folklore, to the Ymseborg Castle. They married, and two daughters survived from their marriage. Thus, the two Swedish dynasties were united, but only in a sideline.

In 1216, Helen's brother became King John I of Sweden. When he died childless in 1222, Helen and her daughters became heirs of the Sverker dynasty. One of her daughters, Catherine, in 1243 was married to King Eric XI, thus finally uniting the two Swedish dynasties.

Late in life, she is said to have become the Abbess of Vreta Abbey.


  • Lars O. Lagerqvist (1982). "Sverige och dess regenter under 1.000 år",("Sweden and its regents under a 1000 years"). (in Swedish). Albert Bonniers Förlag AB. ISBN 91-0-075007-7. 
  • Borænius, Magnus i Klostret i Vreta i Östergötland 1724 & 2003 s. 31