January 1, 1516 birth of Margaret Leijonhufvud, consort of Gustav I.
Margaret was a member of one of the most powerful noble families in Sweden. Her father was a victim of the Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520, when the new king Christian II executed over 100 people on his visit to the city. Her mother was Ebba Eriksdotter Vasa. Ebba's father was first cousins with Erik Vasa, making Ebba second cousins of her future son in law.
They were fortunate that her father had placed her and her mother and siblings for safety at Västerås Abbey before he had attended the coronation. As they were in sanctuary at the time, they were not taken prisoner and sent to Denmark as the families of others executed at the blood bath were. Ebba was even able to retain control of the family's estates which would normally have been confiscated when her husband was executed for heressy. She would have been educated like other noblewomen of her time in reading, writing, economics and math. She would have learned German. Little known of her childhood, she likely would have spent time in a convent for religious education as most women of her station did prior to marriage.
Her mother's cousin Gustav Vasa became king Gustav I in 1523. The blood bath that had led to the death of her father among 81 other nobles, led to Sweden's eventual leaving of the Kalmar union, and electing Gustav as king.
She could have likely have been a lady in waiting to Gustav's first wife Catherine, due to her position. Her sister Brita had married one of the king's favorite courtiers, and the royal couple was at her wedding.
Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg died in 1535. She had born her husband only one heir, a son Eric who was 2 when she died.
The king needed a new wife to provide him at least a spare to secure the throne. It was believed best his new wife be chosen from among the Swedish nobility to secure his throne. Margaret was chosen due to her family's power as well as her mother's relation to the king.
They were married October 1, 1536. The bride was 20 and the groom was 40. Ebba played a dominant role at court in those early years. And Margaret's brother in laws were all knighted and given positions at court. They attended important events and held some political sway as well.
Along with running the royal household, she over saw the estates that she had been given.
Margaret had a good amount of influence on her husband. And was said to be a good influence, she calmed his temperment. She helped get leniency and mercy for many people who came before her husband.She gained political roles from her husband including correspondence with the French court through the sister of the French king (her brother in law was ambassador to the court). She over saw a number of the royal estates as well.
In August 1551 she took a boat excursion with her children and sadly would come down with pneumonia. Her health was never strong thanks to her constant pregnancies during her marriage. Her death at Tynnelsö Castle is said to have devastated her husband.
She is buried at Uppsala cathedral. She is buried with her husband and all 3 of his wives. She is one of those included on the tomb with him.
Her husband would marry for a third time to Katarina Stenbock in 1552. He would die 8 years later and be succeeded by his son Eric from his first wife Catherine, who was Eric XIV. He had no children with Katarina.
She bore her husband 10 children. All but 2 sons made it to adulthood:
-John: deposed his older half brother and became John III. He married twice, Catherine Jagellonica of Poland and later Gunilla Bielke. He had 3 children with Catherine and one son with Gunilla (as well as children with his mistress). His eldest son became Sigismund III.
-Catherine: married Edzard II, Count of East Frisia. They had 10 children.
-Cecelia: She married Christopher II, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern and had six children together. She also bore a daughter four years after being widowed, who was sent to a convent. Through their son Edward they are the ancestors of they are the ancestors of Elizabeth II, Juan Carlos, Wilhelm Alexander and many others.
-Magnus: Duke of Ostergotland. He never married but he had three known daughters from three different women.
-Karl: died in infancy
-Anna: married George John I, Count Palatine of Veldenz.She had 11 children with her husband. She served as regent for a time after her husband died.
-Sten: died in infancy
-Sophia: Married Magnus II, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg. Magnus was a brutal mercenary who abused his wife and spent her fortune. He was eventually exiled by her brother and her lands placed in her name alone, and custody of their one child Gustav granted to her.
-Elizabeth: married Christopher, Duke of Mecklenburg. They only had one daughter Margaret.
-Charles: succeeded the throne as Charles IX of Sweden. He succeeded the throne after his nephew Sigismund was forced to abdicate. He married twice, first to Anna Marie of Palatinate-Simmern and later Christina of Holstein-Gottorp. He had six children with his first wife but the only one to survive past five was a daughter Catherine. He had four children with Christina, the youngest three who made it to adulthood. He was succeeded by his eldest son by Christina Gustav II Adolph.