Sophia of Minsk

Sophia is my 23rd great grandmother on my maternal maternal side.

Sophia of Minsk, 1140-1198.

She was a Danish queen consort by marriage to King Valdemar I of Denmark, and a landgravine of Thuringia by marriage to Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia. Let’s just say that she was very used to being royalty. Sophia was the daughter of Richeza of Poland, Dowager Queen of Sweden, from her second marriage to a man called “Valador” King in Poloni Land. The identity of her father is uncertain.

Sophia spent a part of her childhood in Denmark, where her mother had been married to a Danish prince in her first marriage, and returned with her daughter when her second marriage was terminated. Sophia was the half sister of Canute V of Denmark, the son of her mother by her first marriage: after her half brother became king of Denmark in 1146, her mother returned to Denmark with her daughter Sophia, who thus spent part of her childhood in Denmark at the court of her half brother the king.

In circa 1149, her mother married Sverker I of Sweden, in her third marriage. She took her daughter with her to Sweden, where Sophia subsequently spent the rest of her childhood at the Swedish royal court.

In 1154, at the age of circa fourteen, Sophia was betrothed to Valdemar as a symbol of alliance between Sweden and Denmark: she was at this time described as a pretty girl with promise of becoming a beauty. In the marriage contract, she was secured an eighth of her half brother King Canute V’s estates in Denmark.

Sophia departed Sweden for Denmark after the conclusion of the engagement in 1154, but as she was not yet regarded old enough to marry by Nordic standards, she was sent to reside with a foster mother named Bodil until she was old enough to live with Valdemar.

The wedding between Sophia and Valdemar was conducted in Viborg in 1157, three years later.

Queen Sophia was described as beautiful, dominant and cruel. According to traditional myth, she murdered Valdemar’s mistress Tove and injured his sister Kirsten, but this is not confirmed.

She was widowed in 1182.

She had the following children;

Sophia, Countess of Orlamünde

King Canute VI of Denmark

King Valdemar II of Denmark

Ingeborg, Queen of France

Helena, Duchess of Lüneburg

Richeza, Queen of Sweden

Not only was Sophia royal, but she made a bunch more royals.

And weirdly they have her skull on display…