Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg

Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg

Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg, "Katarina" in Swedish, (24 September 1513 – 23 September 1535), was the first consort of Gustav I of Sweden and Queen of Sweden from 1531 until her death in 1535. She was born in Ratzeburg to Magnus I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg and Catherine, daughter of Henry IV, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.


King Gustav married Catherine for political reasons. He wanted closer connection with German Protestant rulers in order to gain support for his reformation efforts and his throne. The marriage also gave Gustav closer connections with the throne of Denmark because Catherine's older sister Dorothea was engaged to Christian, the Crown Prince of Denmark.

Catherine was only 18 years old when she accepted Gustav's proposal and they married on September 24, 1531. The short marriage was stormy and full of conflicts, and remained so even after the birth of their son, later Eric XIV of Sweden in 1533. Catherine never learned to speak Swedish, which made her alone and unhappy.

During a visit of her brother-in-law Christian the recently-crowned King of Denmark, she accused Gustav of planning to murder Christian. She died soon after Christian's departure, September 23, 1535 and was buried in Uppsala Cathedral.

After her death rumors about the cause of death were spread by Gustav's enemies. They said that Gustav had killed Catherine with a large hammer. It is still unclear if Gustav ended her life, though no formal accusation was made by Catherine's family.


* Alf Henriksson (1963). "Svensk Historia". Bonniers
* [ Article in the Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon]
* Herman Lindquist, "History of the queens of Sweden"


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