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Blanche of Namur (1320 – 1363) was queen-consort of Swedenmarker and Norwaymarker, as the spouse of King Magnus Eriksson. She was the eldest daughter of John I, Marquis of Namur and Marie of Artois.

Biography

It is unknown how it came that the king of Sweden and Norway married a woman from Namurmarker. In June 1334 he travelled from Norway to Namur to propose. In Namur they got engaged and Magnus returned to Sweden in the fall of 1334. Blanche left Namur in the fall of 1335 and the wedding took place in October or early November 1335, possibly at Bohus castle. As a wedding gift Blanche received the province of Tunsbergmarker in Norway and Lödöse in Sweden as fiefs; Tunsberg was exchanged in 1353 to Bohusmarker, Marstrandmarker, Elvyssel, Ranerike and Borgsyssel. Blanche's coronation took place in July 1336, possibly 22 July, in the Great Churchmarker in Stockholm.

Together they had two sons, Eric and Haakon. It was agreed that Eric should inherit Swedenmarker and Haakon Norwaymarker. When Haakon became Haakon VI of Norway in 1355, Eric rebelled against his father and was elevated to co-ruler of Sweden.

Queen Blanche is one of the most known of Swedish/Norwegian medieval queens. Apparently, she was very politically and socially active and noticeable as a person and not only as a queen, as many stories and songs were written about her.Her husband was rumored to be homosexual; he had an official favorite, Bengt Algotsson, Duke of Finlandmarker - although their relationship have never confirmed to be sexual - but she seems to have had a good relationship with him, and exerted political influence. In 1345, her brothers Louis and Robert was made vassals to her spouse. On her seal, she is called "Queen of Sweden, Norway and Scania"; she is not wearing a veil on the seal which was unusual for married women in this age.

In Sweden, Queen Blanche is also remembered for the song: "Rida rida ranka, hästen heter Blanka" ("Ride ride ranka, the name of the horse is Blanka"), which can be seen at the famous historical painting by Edelfeldt of her and her son, where it is illustrated.

Her political influence made her controversial and exposed to much criticism and slander. In 1359 she was accused by people of having poisoned her daughter-in-law, Beatrice of Bavaria, and her own son, the co-ruler, King Eric; on his deathbed, her son said, that the same person who gave him life, had now taken it from him - it is possible that he himself believed that he was poisoned by her, but there is no proof that this happened. Historians now believe that both her son and her daughter-in-law died of the plague. She was disliked, as was her husband, by Saint Birgitta, who accused her of being unfaithful; Bengt Algotsson was pointed out as the lover of both the king and the queen.

miniatyr


She spent her last years, from 1359 until her death, at the Tønsberg Castlemarker in Norway and ruled the south-east of this country. It seems she spent her last years in economic difficulties. On 9 April 1363, her son Haakon married Margaret, daughter of Valdemar IV of Denmark. Shortly after the wedding Blanche fell ill and died. The cause of death and the place where she is buried is unknown.

References

  • [76585]Wilhelmkina stålberg: Anteqningar om svenska qvinnor (Notes on Swedish women) (Swedish)
  • http://susning.nu/Blanka_av_Namur
  • Herman Lindvist: Historien om alla Sveriges drottningar (History of all the queens of Sweden) (Swedish) (2006)


Succession


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