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Isabella of Austria (also known as Isabella or Elisabeth of Burgundy, of Habsburg,of Denmark or of Castile) (18 July 1501–19 January 1526), Archduchess of Austriamarker, Infanta of Castile and Princess of Burgundy by birth and Queen of Denmarkmarker, Swedenmarker and Norwaymarker by her marriage to King Christian II, was the daughter of Philip I and Joanna of Castile and the sister of Emperor Charles V. She was born at Brusselsmarker.


Isabella spent her childhood in the Netherlandsmarker under the tutorage of the regent of the Netherlands, Margaret of Austria. Her fortune, her succession rights, and her connections made her a valuable pawn in the royal marriage market. The king of Denmark had first intended to marry Eleanor of Austria, but the Habsburgs considered Eleanor too valuable for the throne of Denmark, and therefore, Isabella was selected for the Danish king.

On 11 July 1514 Isabella was married by proxy to King Christian II of Denmark with Emperor Maximilian, her grandfather, standing in for the king. She remained in the Netherlands, but was said to have fallen in love with her spouse at the sight of his painting, and asked to be taken to Denmark. A year after the wedding, the Archbishop of Norway was sent to escort her to Copenhagenmarker. The marriage was ratified on 12 August 1515 (she was 14 years old).


Isabella was crowned Queen of Denmark and Norway and given the name Elisabeth, but the relationship between her new family and king Christian was quite cool during the first years of the marriage. The King's Dutch mistress, Dyveke Sigbritsdatter, had been with him since 1507, and he was not about to give her up for a teenager. Dyveke's mother, Sigbrit Willoms, was also influential at court, and Isabella was given less influence than both of them.This angered the Emperor, and caused some diplomatic strife between him and King Christian, but the matter was resolved when Dyveke died in 1517, and Isabella's relationship with her husband improved vastly over the next few years; her relationship with Sigrit Willoms improved as well, and both women acted as political advisers to the king.

In 1520, Christian took the throne of Sweden, thereby making Isabella Queen of Sweden. After taking Stockholm, he asked the Swedish representatives to turn over the city of Stockholm and the regency of Sweden to Isabella if he himself should die when his children were minors. She was to be the last Queen of Sweden who was also Queen of Denmark during the Kalmar union, but she did in fact never visit Sweden. She was pregnant when her spouse became king in Sweden, and she did not follow him there. Her husband was deposed as king of Sweden the year after.

When King Christian was deposed in 1523 by disloyal noblemen supporting his uncle Duke Frederick, the new king wanted to be on good terms with her family. He wrote her a personal letter in her native German, offering her a dowager queen's pension and permitting her to stay in Denmark under his protection while King Christian fled to the Netherlandsmarker.But Isabella wrote back to Duke Frederick in Latin, stating that : "ubi rex meus, ibi regna mea", that is "where my king is, there is my kingdom".


Isabella left Denmark with her husband and their children after the deposition of her spouse in 1523 and travelled to the Netherlands. Isabella and Christian travelled around Germany in their efforts to gain help for reinstalling Christian to the throne. Isabella made her own negotiations with her relatives, and also followed her spouse on his travels. They visited Saxonymarker in 1523 and Berlinmarker in 1523-24. In Berlin, Isabella became interested in the teachings of Luther, and felt sympathy for Protestantism. She never converted officially however. When she visited Nürnbergmarker in 1524, she received communion on the Protestant way, which so enraged her birth family, the Habsburgs, that Christian decided that she, for political reasons, should hide her Protestant views in the future.

In the spring of 1525, Isabella caught some kind of serious illness, which worsened after she travelled through a storm later that year and lasted all summer. Ex-Queen Isabella died at Ghent at twenty-four years of age. She received both Protestant and Catholic communion, but the Habsburgs declared that she had died a convinced Catholic. Her religious sympathies and whether she was a Protestant or a Catholic after 1524 has been debated. At her deathbed, she gave the cause of her husband's reinstallment in to the hands of the regent of the Netherlands, Margaret of Austria.


By Christian II of Denmark (1 July 1481 – 25 January 1559; married in 1521)
Name Birth Death Notes
Johann or Hans 21 February, 1518 1532
Philip Ferdinand (twin) 4 July, 1519 1520
Maximilian (twin) 4 July, 1519 1519
Dorothea 10 November, 1520 31 May, 1580 married in 1535, Frederick II, Elector Palatine and had no issue.
Christina c.1522 c.1590 married in 1533, Francesco II Sforza and had no issue, married secondly in 1541,Francis I, Duke of Lorraine and had issue.
Stillborn son January 1523 January 1523
Isabella's most famous daughter was the Christina, Duchess of Milan made famous in Holbein's portrait, painted when Henry VIII of England was looking for his fourth wife. Her other daughter, Dorothea of Denmark, married Frederick II, Elector Palatine.


It is said that the daughter of Denmarkmarker's Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, Princess Isabella, was named after her.


  • (Danish)
  • Herman Lindqvist: Historien om Sverige ("The History of Sweden")


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