Margaret Leijonhufvud

Margaret Leijonhufvud
Painting by Johan Baptista van Uther
Queen consort of Sweden
Tenure 1536-1551
Spouse Gustav I of Sweden
John III of Sweden
Catherine, Countess of East Frisia
Cecilia, Margravine of Baden-Rodemachern
Magnus, Duke of Östergötland
Anna Maria, Countess Palatine of Veldenz
Sophia, Duchess of Saxe-Lauenburg
Elizabeth, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Gadebusch
Charles IX of Sweden
Father Erik Abrahamsson Leijonhufvud
Mother Ebba Eriksdotter Vasa
Born 1 January 1516
Died 26 August 1551
Burial Uppsala Cathedral

Margaret Leijonhufvud (née Margareta Eriksdotter; 1 January 1516, Ekeberg Castle, Närke – 26 August 1551) was a Swedish queen consort of King Gustav I, Queen of Sweden from 1536 to 1551. She belonged to the early Leijonhufvud clan of Swedish nobility (the name meaning Lion's Head).


Margaret Leijonhuvfud was a member of one of Sweden's most powerful noble families, daughter of Erik Abrahamsson Leijonhufvud, a man executed in the Stockholm bloodbath, and Ebba Eriksdotter Vasa (a relative of the king) and was already engaged when the king decided to marry her. The engagement was broken off for the sake of the king, and her fiancé was married to her sister instead.

There is a story that describes this: The king caught his new queen and her former fiancé together alone, with the young man, Svante Sture, on his knees before the queen. The king asked in a rage: "What is this?!" and Queen Margaret then swiftly told him: " My lord Sture is asking me for the hand of my sister!", at which the king just as swiftly answered: "Granted!", and Svante Sture was hastily married to the queen's sister Martha Leijonhufvud, a woman known to be so dominating that she was nicknamed "King Martha". It does not seem that Queen Margaret and Svante Sture ever again did anything that could be seen as improper; if they did, they were not discovered. During the first years of their marriage, Margaret's mother Ebba played a dominating role in the royal court, and it was said that even the king did not dare to oppose his mother-in-law; her influence, however, was not political.

Margaret was described as intelligent and beautiful, and the marriage was considered a happy one; her husband was not known to be unfaithful to her. She devoted her life to domestic duties and family life. She remained a Catholic her entire life, and it was painful for her to make clothes and curtains of the textiles the king confiscated from old Catholic convents, but it does not seem that she ever used any influence to promote her own beliefs in politics, in religion or otherwise. She allegedly had the ability to keep his temperament under control, was a calming influence on him, managed to get punishments he meted out reduced, advised him to show mercy and leniency, all of which made her popular. She gave donations to the still active Vadstena Abbey, following the example of her family: her mother was also the benefactor of Vreta Abbey. Margaret often used the services of a cunning woman, the peasant-wife Brigitta Andersdotter, whom she often hired to see to the health of herself, her sister Märtha and their children, and much appreciated for her skill. She was almost constantly pregnant, which devastated her health. In August 1551, she and her children made an excursion by boat on Mälaren between Gripsholm and Västerås, and on their return, she took ill with pneumonia. When she died, she was deeply mourned by the king.

Grave monument to Gustav and Margaret over their crypt in Uppsala Cathedral


Abraham Kristiernsson (Leijonhufvud)
Erik Abrahamsson (Leijonhufvud)
Birgitta Månsdotter (Natt och Dag)
Margaret Leijonhufvud
Erik Karlsson (Vasa)
Ebba Eriksdotter (Vasa)
Anna Karlsdotter (Vinstorpa)


  1. John III (Johan III) (1537–1592), Duke of Finland, King of Sweden 1567-1592
  2. Catherine (1539–1610), wife of Edzard II, Count of East Frisia
  3. Cecilia (1540–1627), wife of Christopher II, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern
  4. Magnus (1542–1595), Duke of Västanstång (western Östergötland) and Count of Dal (Dalsland), mentally ill
  5. Karl (1544-1544)
  6. Anna Maria (1545–1610), wife of George John I, Count Palatine of Veldenz
  7. Sten (1546–1547)
  8. Sophia (1547–1611), wife of Duke Magnus II of Saxe-Lauenburg, who was nephew of Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg
  9. Elizabeth (1549–1597), wife of Christopher, Duke of Mecklenburg-Gadebusch
  10. Charles IX (Karl IX) (1550–1611), Duke of Södermanland, Närke, Värmland and northern Västergötland, Regent of Sweden 1599-1604, King of Sweden 1604-1611


Margaret Leijonhufvud
Born: 1 January 1516 Died: 26 August 1551
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg
Queen consort of Sweden
Succeeded by
Katarina Stenbock

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