Queen Regnant of Scandinavia. When widowed, she ruled as Margaret I of Denmark 1387-1412 and also of Norway and Sweden from 1388, with Fullmighty Lady Householder and Guardian Fru Husbonde och Fullmäktig Förmyndare as her only formal title. Earlier, she had been Queen as her husband’s consort in Sweden (1363-1364) and in Norway (1363-1380). Belonging to the old Estrith Dynasty of Denmark, and its last member, she was the youngest daughter of King Waldemar IV Otherday of Denmark and his Queen Haelwig, née a Princess of Schleswig-Holstein. At the age of 10 she married king Hacon VI of Norway, son of King Magnus VII of Norway who also was Magnus IV of Sweden. She was a tireless traveler around her extensive realm and a successful negotiator, and through the centuries has more and more been considered a master politician and diplomatic genius, definitely the greatest public woman the north has ever known. Her son Olaf, born in 1370, was elected king Oluf II of Denmark in 1375 following the death of Waldemar, though Margaret ruled as his regent. When her husband died in 1380, their boy also became Olav IV of Norway. After his sudden and dynastically disastrous death in 1387 the Danish nobility proclaimed his mother the kingdom's ruler for life. The following year, she became regent of Norway, and then the Swedes, having dethroned their King Albert, elected Margaret as ruler there too, hoping she would help them break the power of some wealthy landowners. She immediately chose her sister's grandson Boguslaw of Pomerania as her heir and adopted him and his sister Catherine, giving the 6-year-old boy the more Nordic name of Eric. In Kalmar, Sweden, he was crowned King of the Union of the Kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1397, but Margaret stayed on as the actual boss of the Union of Kalmar, which she had conceived and founded brilliantly. Sweden stayed in it, albeit tumultuously, until 1523, whereas the union between Denmark and Norway lasted until 1814. Queen Margaret treated for a long time with London to get her adoptee King Eric the Pomeranian married to English Princess Philippa (which eventually succeeded) and Eric's sister to the Prince of Wales (which did not). In 1410 Margaret tried to reinstate Danish over-lordship over Schleswig, which caused a war with the Counts of Holstein. To be at the scene of the action as usual, she sailed to the front where she was afflicted with the Black Plague and died on a vessel anchored at Flensborg. Originally her body was interred next to her father and son at Sorø Abbey, but the chancellor and Bishop of Roskilde had her body moved to Roskilde Cathedral where her white funerary monument remains a masterpiece of contemporary sculpture. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark dedicated an an equestrian statue of her predecessor and namesake in Roskilde in 2006. There is also a monumental statue of her and Eric in Viborg.
Bio by: Benny Chordt Hansen