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Philippa of England

Philippa of England
Philippa as imagined and painted by Swedish artist Reinhold Callmander in the 1890s[1] on a window above her grave at Vadstena
Queen consort of Denmark,
Sweden, and Norway
Tenure 1406–1430
Born (1394-06-04)4 June 1394
Peterborough Castle, Northamptonshire
Died 5 January 1430(1430-01-05) (aged 35)
Burial Cloister Church at Vadstena, Linköping
Spouse Eric, King of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway
House House of Lancaster (by birth)
House of Griffins (by marriage)
Father Henry IV, King of England
Mother Mary de Bohun
Philippa's grave at Vadstena Abbey

Philippa of England (4 June 1394 – 5 January 1430), also known as Philippa of Lancaster, was Queen of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway from 1406 to 1430. She was the consort to Eric of Pomerania, who ruled the three kingdoms. Queen Philippa served as de facto regent of Sweden in 1420 and regent of Denmark and Norway from 1423 to 1425.[2]

She was the daughter of King Henry IV of England by his first wife Mary de Bohun and the younger sister of King Henry V.


  • Early life and marriage 1
  • Regencies 2
  • Death 3
  • Ancestry 4
  • References 5
  • Other sources 6

Early life and marriage

Philippa was born to Henry Bolingbroke (later King Henry IV of England) and his wife Mary de Bohun, at Peterborough Castle, Peterborough. In 1401, King Henry suggested to Queen Margaret I of Denmark that an alliance be formed between England and the Kalmar Union, with a marriage between the heir to the English throne and Catherine, sister to the heir of the Nordic thrones. Margaret could not agree to the English conditions for this marriage; instead, Philippa was engaged to Eric, and formally proclaimed queen in 1405.

She was married on 26 October 1406 to Eric of Pomerania in Lund Cathedral. Philippa was actually the first documented princess in history to wear a white wedding dress during a royal wedding ceremony: she wore a tunic with a cloak in white silk bordered with grey squirrel and ermine.[3] Philippa was given large parts of Sweden as her dower. During the first years of their marriage the couple lived in Kalmar in Sweden, and Philippa was to spend much of her queenhood living in Sweden. It had been decided that she would be granted personal fiefs in only one of the three kingdoms, and that was to be Sweden. Her head lady-in-waiting was the Swedish noblewoman Lady Katarina Knutsdotter, granddaughter of Saint Bridget through Märta Ulfsdotter, former lady-in-waiting of Queen Margaret I of Denmark herself. She was a benefactor of Vadstena Abbey, where she was a frequent guest.


During King Eric's periods of absence abroad, Philippa was effectively Regent. In Sweden, where she spent a lot of her time, she appears to have been de facto ruler even when the King was in residence. Eric evidently had great trust in Philippa. Both ancient and modern authors give a favourable account of her rule. It is even said that in certain matters she was more efficient than her husband. However, scholars have largely accepted this judgment of the Queen without going into detail.[4]

In 1422, Philippa presided over the Swedish council in order to solve a dispute between Swedish noble factions. During her husband's stay abroad from 1423 to 1425, she was Regent of the three Kalmar Union kingdoms. Among other acts, she made a treaty with some members of the defence of Copenhagen against the Hanseatic League, a heroic feat later recounted by Hans Christian Andersen in Godfather's Picture Book (1868).[5] At the time of her death in 1430, she was in Sweden on a diplomatic mission. She is described as one of few royals of the Kalmar Union who was actually popular outside Denmark. She was loved by the people of Copenhagen for rallying the citizens to fight the Hanseatic fleet in Copenhagen Harbor. She also did many other deeds for the citizens of Copenhagen by helping the poor and providing for widows and orphans.


The queen bore a stillborn boy in 1429. She died on 5 January 1430 and was buried in the Cloister Church at Vadstena, close to Linköping in Östergötland, Sweden. After her death Eric replaced her with Cecilia.



  1. ^ Marie-Louse Flemberg in Filippa, Engelsk prinsessa - nordisk unionsdrottning ISBN 978-91-7359-072-3 p 350
  2. ^ (Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership)Norway Heads of State and Territorial Leaders
  3. ^ The History of Matrimony
  4. ^ (Flemberg, Marie-Louise)Queen Philippa as a benefactor of the Birgittines
  5. ^ (Hans Christian Andersen)Godfather's Picture Book

Other sources

  • Lars-Olof Larsson (2003), Kalmarunionens tid (2006)Swedish
  • Åke Ohlmarks: Alla Sveriges drottningar (AWE/Geber; 1976) Swedish
  • Herman Lindvist: Kungar och drottningar, oden och aventyr i Sveriges forflutna (1996) Swedish
  • Anne J. Duggan: Queens and queenship in medieval Europe (2008)

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

Philippa of England
Born: 4 June 1394 Died: 7 January 1430
Title last held by
Helvig of Schleswig
Queen consort of Denmark
Title next held by
Dorothea of Brandenburg
Title last held by
Margaret I of Denmark
Queen consort of Norway
Title last held by
Richardis of Schwerin
Queen consort of Sweden
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