Swedish King. He ruled from the death of his father Magnus III in 1290 until his own dethronement in 1318 and was of the Bielbo Dynasty, a grandson of the great Duke Birger of Sweden. His Swedish kingdom then included Finland and from 1293 the Vyborg area of Russia. As he became King at the age of ten, a regency under his powerful marshal, Lord Thurchetel (Torgils Knutsson), had to run the country until Birger came into his own around 1298. He then married Margaret, also called Martha, a daughter of Denmark's king. Soon Birger's brothers, Eric and Waldemar, who had been made dukes, also were to be found with him in the King's Council. There they increased their own standing by inducing the king to execute his marshal. Birger's reign was dominated by nasty conflicts with the dukes in one of the many horrific dramas between brothers in the histories of most monarchies. His brothers had the king imprisoned in 1306, and Birger, after being freed, invited both dukes to the infamous Nyköping Banquet in 1317, after which the dukes were incarcerated at the castle there, never to be seen alive again. (A pageant still takes place there to mark the event.) By the following year, the king's fratricide had lost him all of his standing, and he and Queen Martha had to flee, first to the large island of Gothland and then to her native Denmark, where he lived anguished for another 3 years. Their son Prince Magnus, the innocent 20-year-old heir to the throne who had remained in Sweden, was beheaded in 1320 on the little Isle of the Holy Spirit where the parliament buildings now stand in Stockholm. This has been considered one of the saddest events in Swedish history, and King Birger's reign was one of its classic tragedies. A memorial commemoration of King Birger is a small monumental bust of him in the Church of St. Nicholas of Örebro, Sweden.
Bio by: Count Demitz