Margaret Sambiria

For other people with the same name, see Margaret of Denmark (disambiguation).
Margaret Sambiria

Margaret Sambiria, in Danish: Margrethe Sambiria or Sambirsdatter, (1230?–1282) was the Queen consort of Christopher I of Denmark, and acted as regent for Eric V of Denmark. In Danish she is also known as queen Margrethe Sprænghest.


She was born around 1230 to duke Sambor II of the ruling Samborides family of Slavic (Wendish) Cassubians and his wife, Matilda of Mecklenburg.[1] They held a lordship (then treated as duchy or principality) of Pomerelia.

Her paternal grandparents were Mestwin I (Mściwój) of Pomerelia and his wife Swinislawa. Yet more interesting from Danish viewpoint were Margaret's maternal grandparents, who were Henry Borwin II, Lord of Mecklenburg, and his wife Lady Kristina from Scania, who according to newest research was a daughter of the mighty Danish Galen clan, magnates in Eastern Denmark, and related to the Hvide clan of Zealand.

Margaret received her first name, then yet relatively rare in North Germany and Poland (Margaret is actually a Greek name) in honor of her maternal Scandinavian relations (where the name Margaret came in the late 11th century with the family of Inge I of Sweden), presumably of her aunt (countess of Schwerin) and great-aunt (princess of Rugia).

Queen consort

She was, in 1248, married to prince Christopher, the youngest son of Valdemar II of Denmark and Berengária of Portugal. Her husband ascended the throne of Denmark in 1252[1] as Christopher I of Denmark by the then succession custom which followed so called agnatic seniority and Margaret was crowned together with him.


Her husband died on 29 May 1259 (rumored to have been poisoned). Their son and heir Eric V of Denmark was a child and Margaret was made regent,[1] a position she held until 1264.

Eric's succession overrode the rights of the descendants of earlier monarchs, counter to the dictates of agnatic seniority. However, since the reputations of the sons of Abel of Denmark were tainted by acts of fratricide and murder, it was relatively easy to ignore their claims to the throne. Even so, during his reign, Christopher I made sure that his own son succeeded. The accession of Christopher's son, Eric V led to serious rivalry for generations, yet Christopher's line was able to successfully retain their claim to the Danish throne.

Margaret quarreled with Jakob Erlendsen and her husband's nephew Eric Abelson, as well as with the counts of Holstein. After a loss in Lohede in 1261, Margaret, together with her son, the young Eric V were imprisoned by the Count of Holstein. They soon managed to escape with help from Albert of Brunswick.[2]

In 1263, an unresolved rivalry between Eric V and the adherents of the former king of Denmark, Abel, forced Margaret to write Pope Urban IV, asking him to allow women to inherit the Danish throne. This would make it possible for one of Eric's sisters to become reigning Queen of Denmark in the event of Erik V's death (he had no children yet). Urban IV acquiesced.

In 1270 she founded and donated money to the Abbey of the Holy Cross in Rostock.[1]

In her own time, Margaret had a reputation as a competent and enlightened regent. Her nicknames, "Sprænghest" (Burst-horse) and "Sorte Grete," (Black Greta)[1] reveal a strong-willed, energetic personality. She died in December 1282 and was buried in the church of the Cistercian Doberan Abbey on the Baltic Sea coast of Germany.[3][4]


Margaret and Christopher had three children:



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Pyl, Theodor (1884). "Margaretha, Duchess of Eastern Pomerania" (in German). Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften and the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  2. 1 2 Unverhau, Henning (1990). "Margarethe Sambiria of Pomerelia" (in German). Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  3. "Burial Churches of Danish Sovereigns"., ARB. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  4. "Tour through the Minster". Münster Bad Doberan. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
Margaret Sambiria
Born: 1230 Died: 1 December 1282
Danish royalty
Preceded by
Mechtild of Holstein
Queen consort of Denmark
Succeeded by
Agnes of Brandenburg
Preceded by
Erik V of Denmark
as King of Denmark ruling in Estonia
Lady of Estonia
from 1271 with Erik V of Denmark as Duke of Estonia
Succeeded by
Erik V of Denmark as Duke of Estonia
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