Sophia of Minsk

Sophia of Minsk
Queen consort of Danmark
Tenure 1157–1182
Born 1138/41
Died 5 May 1198
Burial St. Bendt's Church
Spouse Valdemar I of Denmark
Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia
among others...
Sophia, Countess of Orlamünde
King Canute VI of Denmark
King Valdemar II of Denmark
Ingeborg, Queen of France
Helena, Duchess of Lüneburg
Richeza, Queen of Sweden
Dynasty Rurikid?
Father Volodar of Minsk?
Mother Richeza of Poland
Religion Roman Catholicism
Plaster cast of her skull

Sophia of Minsk (or Sophia of Polotsk) (c. 1140 – 5 May 1198) was a Danish medieval queen consort as the spouse of King Valdemar I of Denmark, and later a landgravine of Thuringia.


Sophia was the daughter of Richeza of Poland, Dowager Queen of Sweden, from her marriage to a man called "Valador" King in Poloni Land. Several speculations have been put forward as to exactly who her father was, but his identity is still uncertain. It is guessed to have been Prince Volodar of Minsk or Prince Vladimir of Halicz. Most probably it was Volodar (Valadar in Belarusian) of Minsk, who united the principalities of Minsk, Polotsk, and Hrodna under his rule, and had military interests in the Baltic region (for example, his military campaign in Northern Poland in 1159).

Sophia was the half-sister of Canute V of Denmark. After her mother's marriage to the Swedish king, she followed her to Sweden and was raised at the Swedish court. She was betrothed to Valdemar in 1154 as a form of alliance between Denmark and Sweden. As she had no property in Denmark, she was promised 1/8 of Canute's estates. She left Sweden and arrived in Denmark at the time of the engagement (1154), but as she was not considered old enough to marry, she was given to the custody of a woman named Bodil. She was married to Valdemar in Viborg in 1157, three years later.

Sophia is described as beautiful, dominant and cruel. According to myth, she murdered Valdemar's mistress Tove and injured his sister Kirsten, but this is not confirmed.[1] She was widowed in 1182. Sophia received a proposal from, and married, Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia in about 1184, and was escorted to the border by her son and a grand entourage. She was repudiated in 1190 and returned to Denmark.


Sophia married Valdemar I of Denmark (c. 1131–1182), and they had the following children:

After Valdemar's death, Sophia remarried to Landgrave Louis III of Thuringia. This marriage remained childless.


  1. Smith-Dampier, Eleanor. Danish Ballads, pp. 15-24 (Cambridge U. Press 1920).
Sophia of Minsk
Born: circa 1140 Died: 5 May 1198
Danish royalty
Preceded by
Helena of Sweden
Queen consort of Denmark
Succeeded by
Gertrude of Bavaria
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