Catherine of Saxony-Lauenburg (1513–1535)

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Depiction of the Queen on her sarcophagus

Katharina von Sachsen-Lauenburg (born September 24, 1513 in Ratzeburg , † September 23, 1535 in Stockholm ) was Queen of Sweden and first wife of Gustav I. Wasa .


Katharina was born in Ratzeburg as the daughter of Duke Magnus I († 1543) and his wife Katharina von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel . Her older sister Dorothea had been with Duke Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, later Christian III , from 1525 . married from Denmark and Norway.

The Protestant raised princess was married after several years of negotiations on her 18th birthday in 1531 in Stockholm to the Swedish King Gustav I. Wasa. With this connection, Gustav Wasa established dynastic ties with the old Folkung family , from whom Katharina descended through her maternal grandmother, Katharina von Pomerania. In this way he created important political contacts with the North German Protestant principalities, which supported him in his efforts to reform. The search for a bride had previously proven to be very difficult - the preparations for Dorothea of ​​Denmark , Sophie of Mecklenburg , Anna of Pomerania and Hedwig of Poland failed, because Sweden had only been an independent kingdom since 1523 and Gustav Wasa, the first king of it Family, heavily in debt.

However, the couple may not have had deep feelings for each other, their marriage was constantly accompanied by conflicts. However, she fulfilled her dynastic duty and in 1533 gave birth to a male heir to the throne by the name of Erik, who later became King Erik XIV.

Sepulcher Chapel in Uppsala

Katharina is described as cold and callous and she complained about everything that was Swedish. She had never learned the Swedish language either. Gustav Wasa learned only a little German himself, which made communication between the spouses very difficult. During a visit by her brother-in-law, the Danish King Christian III, in 1535, she accused her husband of attempting to murder Christian. During a dance performance a few days later, Katharina, who was again pregnant, had to stay in bed due to illness and died that same evening, one day before her 22nd birthday. She was laid out in the Storkyrkan in Stockholm and buried in Uppsala Cathedral. The splendid tomb is located in the Gustavian choir behind the altar, together with that of Gustav Wasa and his second wife.

Many rumors circulated in the period that followed that Gustav Wasa had killed his wife with a silver hammer or had her murdered; these were particularly fueled by his political enemies. Katharina's family, however, never initiated or applied for an investigation; During a later examination of Katharina's skull, no injuries were found.


  • Lars O. Lagerqvist, Nils Åberg: Kings and rulers of Sweden . Vincent Publications
  • Lena Lidbeck: Kungar och drottningar i Sverige . Rabén & Sjogren

Web links

Commons : Katharina von Sachsen-Lauenburg  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
  • Peter Godzik (Ed.): Reformation and Marriage Policy - Duke Magnus von Sachsen-Lauenburg as opponent of the Ratzeburg bishop and father-in-law of the Lutheran princes in the north , 2006, p. 22 ff. (Online at (PDF file; 390 kB)
predecessor Office Successor
Isabella of Austria Queen of Sweden
Margareta Leijonhufvud