Charles VII of Sweden

Charles VII

King Charles as shown on his seal
King of Sweden
Reign 1161–1167
Predecessor Magnus II
Successor Canute I
Born c.1130
Died 12 April 1167
Spouse Christina Hvide
Issue Sverker II
House Sverker
Father Sverker I
Swedish Royalty
House of Sverker
Sverker I
Prince John
Charles VII
Princess Ingegerd
Charles VII
Sverker II
Boleslaw, Kol
Sverker II
Princess Helena
John I
John I

Charles VII (actually Charles I)[1][2] or Carl, Swedish: Karl Sverkersson, (c. 1130 – 12 April 1167), was ruler of Gothenland, and then King of Sweden from c. 1161 to 1167, when he was assassinated.

He is the first historically known king of Sweden by the name of Karl, but use of Charles VII is widespread (see notes).


The son of Sverker I, Charles had rivalled Eric IX of Sweden (whom later generations dubbed martyr and saint) and held some power in Gothenland ("jarlship") already during Eric's reign. It has been claimed that Eric's murder by minions of their rival Magnus Henricson was also backed by Charles.

After the fall of Magnus, Charles received general recognition in Sweden as king. It was also during his reign that the Archbishop of Uppsala was established.

In the spring of 1167, King Charles was killed on the island of Visingsö by supporters of Knut Eriksson, head of the rival Eric dynasty, who overtook the throne. Charles was buried in Alvastra monastery.

Starting from Charles' death, his kinsmen (probably his half-brothers) Boleslaw and Kol together opposed Canute's kingship and were rival kings, recognized in some Gothenlander parts of Sweden; but the last of them was killed in 1173, after which Canute's government got recognized overall.


Charles' wife was Christina Hvide, a Danish lady, daughter of Stig Hvitaleder, a Seelander magnate, and his wife who was sister of Valdemar I of Denmark.

Their sole historically attested child was Sverker Karlsson, a young boy when Charles died, and who later was elected King Sverker II of Sweden (1195–1208/10) after the death of Charles's rival king Canute I.[3]


  1. This was the first Swedish king by the name of Charles (Karl). Charles VII is a posthumous invention, counting backwards from Charles IX (1604–11) who adopted his numeral according to a fictitious history of Sweden. Six others before Charles Sverkersson are unknown to any sources before Johannes Magnus's 16th century book Historia de omnibus gothorum sueonumque regibus, and are considered his invention. The first Swedish monarch of the name to actually use a regnal number was Charles II (later retrospectively renumbered VIII), on his queen's tombstone (1451) at Vadstena.
  2. Article Karl in Nordisk familjebok
  3. Lindström, p 267


Karl Sverkersson
Born: c. 1130 Died: April 12 1167
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Magnus II
King of Sweden
Succeeded by
Canute I
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