Dorothea of Brandenburg

Dorothea of Brandenburg
Dorothea of Brandenburg
Queen of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Wends and the Goths, Duchess of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn and Dithmarschen, Countess of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst
Contemporary portrait of Queen Dorothea
Queen consort of Denmark
Tenure 1445–1448 (first time)
1449–1481 (second time)
Queen consort of Norway
Tenure 1445–1448 (first time)
1450–1481 (second time)
Queen consort of Sweden
Tenure 1457–1464 (first time)
1457–1464 (second time)
Spouse Christopher III of Denmark
Christian I of Denmark
Margaret, Queen of Scots
Frederick I
House House of Hohenzollern
Father John, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
Mother Barbara of Saxe-Wittenberg
Born c. 1430/1431
Died 10 November 1495
Burial Roskilde Cathedral
Religion Roman Catholicism

Dorothea of Brandenburg (Germany, 1430/1431 – Denmark, November 10, 1495) was the consort of Christopher of Bavaria and Christian I of Denmark. She was queen of Denmark (1445–1448 and 1449–1481), Norway (1445–1448 and 1450–1481) and Sweden (1447–1448 and 1457–1464) two times each. She also served as regent in Denmark during the absences of her spouse.



Dorothea was born in 1430 or 1431 to John, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, and Barbara of Saxe-Wittenberg (1405–1465). She had two sisters: Barbara (1423–1481), who became the Marchioness of Mantua, and Elisabeth (14??-1451), who married Joachim I Mlodszy, Duke of Pomerania (14??-1451).

On 12 September 1445, Dorothea married Christopher of Bavaria, the King of Denmark from 1440 to 1448, Sweden from 1441 to 1448 and Norway from 1442 to 1448. The wedding was held in Copenhagen. She was crowned queen of the three kingdoms on 14 September 1445.

After Christopher's death, Dorothea married the next elected king of Denmark, King Christian I, on 28 October 1449. In 1457, she became queen of Sweden for the second time, and was crowned in Uppsala Cathedral.


Dorothea was given control over fiefs in all three Nordic kingdoms with a value of 45,000 Rhine guilders, as well as an additional collection of fiefs valued at 15,000 guilders in Oberpfalz. When she was widowed in 1448, there were marriage negotiations with Albert VI, Archduke of Austria, and King Casimir IV Jagiellon, but when Christian of Oldenburg was chosen as the new king of Denmark, it was agreed that he should marry her instead.

As a widow, Dorothea's many fiefs were considered a problem. At her second wedding, she renounced her existing fiefs in Denmark and Norway, which were replaced with Kalundborg and Samsø in Denmark and Romerike in Norway. Her claim over her territories in Sweden, however, was something she would not give up. For the rest of her life, she fought to regain control over them. In 1451, war erupted between the countries over her inheritance. She gained control over Närke and Värmland in 1457, but lost them in 1464. In this affair, she requested the assistance of the popes from 1455, and she succeeded in having the Swedish regent Sten Sture the Elder excommunicated. This disrupted separate political negotiations with Sweden for many years, and her son, John, King of Denmark, who became king of Sweden in 1497, had the excommunication rescinded as soon as she died in 1495. She also fought with her uncle, Frederick II, Elector of Brandeburg, over the inheritance left after her father, John, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, died in 1464.

Dorothea served as regent during the absence of her spouse. She was granted the slotsloven, which meant she had the right to command all the castles in Denmark. She was a powerful political figure due to her strong economic position, both with regard to her husband and her son. She even acquired fiefs from her husband when she lent him money he could not pay back. In 1460, her spouse acquired Holstein and Schleswig, but only on the condition that he could pay his creditors: Dorothea paid the fee demanded of Christian, and made it possible for him to make these territories a part of Denmark. She acquired a large economic influence in Holstein and Schleswig, and by 1470 she was the de facto ruler of those lands. In 1479, she acquired Holstein and in 1480 Schleswig from her husband as a security for a loan he was unable to pay back, and at the time of his death, she ruled the duchies as her own territories. Her eldest son John opposed her grant of Schleswig-Holstein to her younger son Frederick. The dispute was not solved until 1487, when she divided Schleswig-Holstein between her sons.

In 1475 and 1488, Dorothea visited the reigning popes (Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII) in Rome and her sister Barbara in Mantua. In 1488, she also met Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III in Innsbrück. She was described as cold, practical and frugal. As a widow, she stayed mainly at Kalundborg castle. She died on 25 November 1495, and is interred next to her second husband in Roskilde Cathedral.


  • Oluf of Denmark (1450–1451)
  • Canute of Denmark (1451–1455)
  • John (1455–1513), Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden
  • Margaret (1456–1486), married King James III of Scotland in 1469
  • Frederick I (1471–1533), King of Denmark and Norway



  • Åke Ohlmarks: Alla Sveriges drottningar (All the queens of Sweden) (Swedish)
  • Herman Lindvist: Historien om alla Sveriges drottningar (History of all the queens of Sweden) (Swedish) (2006)
  • (in Danish)
  • Anne J. Duggan: Queens and queenship in medieval Europe

External links


Dorothea of Brandenburg
Born: 1430/1431 Died: 10 November 1495
Royal titles
Preceded by
Philippa of England
Queen consort of Denmark
Queen consort of Sweden
Queen consort of Norway

Succeeded by
Catherine of Bjurum
Vacant Queen consort of Denmark
Succeeded by
Christina of Saxony
Preceded by
Catherine of Bjurum
Queen consort of Norway
Queen consort of Sweden
Succeeded by
Christina Abrahamsdotter

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