Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg

This article is about the Queen consort of Sweden. For the earlier Duchess of Mecklenburg (d. 1450), see Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg, Duchess of Mecklenburg.
Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg

Catherine as depicted on her tomb
Queen consort of Sweden
Tenure 24 September 1531 – 23 September 1535
Born (1513-09-24)September 24, 1513
Ratzeburg, Germany
Died September 23, 1535(1535-09-23) (aged 21)
Stockholm, Sweden
Burial Uppsala, Sweden
Spouse Gustav I of Sweden
Issue Eric XIV of Sweden
House Ascania
Father Magnus I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
Mother Catherine of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Gustav and Catherine

Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg (Katarina in Swedish) (24 September 1513 – 23 September 1535) was the first consort of Gustav I of Sweden and Queen of Sweden from 1531 until her death in 1535. She was born in Ratzeburg to Magnus I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg and Catherine, daughter of Henry IV, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.


King Gustav married Catherine for political reasons. Negotiations began in 1528. He wanted closer connections with German Protestant rulers in order to gain support for his reformation efforts and his throne. The marriage also gave Gustav closer connections to the throne of Denmark, as Catherine's older sister Dorothea was engaged to Christian, the Crown Prince of Denmark.

Catherine was 18 years old when Gustav's proposal was accepted, and she travelled to Sweden in the company of her mother. They were married on 24 September 1531. The short marriage was allegedly stormy and remained so after the birth of their son and only child, the future King Eric XIV of Sweden, in 1533. Catherine never learned to speak Swedish, and as her husband's German was less than perfect, they had difficulty in communicating and did not spend much time together. It has been claimed that Queen Catherine was not popular, was intrigant, melancholy and full of whims, and that she also complained about her husband to Count John of Hoya who was married to her sister-in-law Margaret.

During a visit by her brother-in-law Christian III, the recently crowned King of Denmark (and her sister's husband as noted above), she allegedly accused Gustav of planning to murder him. At a castle ball, she and Christian fell while dancing, which caused her to have a miscarriage. She died soon after Christian's departure, on 23 September 1535, two weeks after her fall, and was eventually buried in Uppsala Cathedral after Gustav died in 1560.

After her death, rumors about the cause of it were spread by Gustav's enemies, claiming that he had killed Catherine with a silver hammer he used to summon servants. No formal accusation was made by Catherine's family, and an analysis of her remains, made during the 20th century, showed no damage to her skull or to the rest of her skeleton.



Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg
Born: 24 September 1513 Died: 23 September 1535
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Isabella of Burgundy
Queen consort of Sweden
Succeeded by
Margaret Leijonhufvud
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