Hedwig of Holstein

Hedwig of Holstein

Hedwig of Holstein on a seal
Queen consort of Sweden
Tenure 1276–1290
Coronation 29 June 1281
Born before 1264
Died c. 1325
Burial Riddarholm Church
Spouse Magnus III of Sweden
Issue Ingeborg, Queen of Denmark
Birger of Sweden
Eric, Duke of Sudermannia
Valdemar, Duke of Finland
Richeza Magnusdotter
House House of Schauenburg
Father Gerhard I, Count of Holstein-Itzehoe
Mother Elisabeth of Mecklenburg

Hedwig of Holstein[1] or Helvig[2][3][4][5][6](Swedish: Helvig,[7] German: Helwig) (1260–1324) was a Swedish queen consort, spouse of King Magnus III of Sweden. She was the child of Gerhard I, Count of Holstein-Itzehoe (died 1290) and Elisabeth of Mecklenburg (died 1280).


Hedwig was married to Magnus Ladulås in 1276, and was granted the fief of Dåvö in Munktorp in Västmanland. Magnus succeeded in preventing a Danish-Holstein alliance by marrying her. However, he had obtained a dispensation for their marriage only after the wedding.[8]

Her father was captured during the Folkunge party revolt (Folkungaupproret) by rebellious noblemen in Skara in 1278 and the queen was also targeted. The actions of the rebels were well timed; they coincided with her journey through Sweden. She sought refuge in the convent in the city.[9]

Hedwig was crowned Queen of Sweden in the city of Söderköping on 29 June 1281; this is the first confirmed coronation of a queen consort in Sweden. It included the prayers for her fertility, which was the matter of great importance.[10] She founded the Greyfriars convent (Gråmunkekloster) in Stockholm and several other churches and convents. As a queen, however, she is not very much heard of, despite the fact that she held the position for fourteen years, she lived a discreet life, both as a queen and as a dowager queen. She took a prominent part in processions which accompanied the inauguration of bishops, celebrations of a feast day and the installation of relics, such as the Mass for Saint Erik in 1277.[11]

After the death of her spouse in 1290, Hedwig acted as one of the executors of the will of the King. In 1291, she withdrew to her estate Dåvö in Västmanland. She is not known to have taken any political role, formal or informal, during or after the reign of her spouse. She was described as a noble, loyal and peace-loving mother figure, tormented by the conflicts between her sons. She acted as a foster mother for her son's future bride, Martha of Denmark, who spent a lot of her childhood in Sweden as the future Queen of Sweden after 1290. In 1302, she was present at the coronation of her son.

As dowager queen, she governed Fjärdhundraland, which was given to her as dower (mourning gift).[12]

Queen Hedwig is buried in Riddarholm Church in Stockholm, with her husband and her daughter Richeza.


Hedwig's wedding took place at Kalmar castle the 11 November 1276 with king Magnus III Ladulås of Sweden. They had the following children: [13]



  1. Philip Line, Kingship and state formation in Sweden, 1130-1290, BRILL, 2007, 9004155783, p. 390.
  2. Lagerqvist & Åberg in Kings and Rulers of Sweden ISBN 91-87064-35-9 pp. 20-21
  3. Article in Nordstjernan 2013-12-11
  4. Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia 1993 p. 108
  5. Biographical data from Nordic Academic Press pp. 1&3
  6. The Chronicle of Duke Erik: by Eva Osterberg ISBN 9789185509577 pp. 67, 240, 252, 258 & 260
  7. Lars O. Lagerqvist & Nils Åberg in Kings and Rulers of Sweden ISBN 91-87064-35-9, 2002 pp. 20 & 21
  8. Philip Line, Kingship and state formation in Sweden, 1130-1290, BRILL, 2007, 9004155783, p. 135.
  9. Philip Line,
  10. Philip Line,
  11. Philip Line,
  12. Philip Line,
  13. Philip Line,



Hedwig of Holstein
Born: 1260 Died: 1324
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Sofia of Denmark
Queen consort of Sweden
Succeeded by
Martha of Denmark
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