Ingeborg Magnusdotter of Sweden was born circa 1277 as the eldest child of King Magnus III of Sweden and Helwig of Holstein. She would be one of at least five siblings. Her younger brother Birger succeeded their father as King of Sweden.
Not much is known about her youth, but by 1288, she was betrothed to King Eric VI of Denmark. The wedding took place in Helsingborg in 1296, making Ingeborg Queen of Denmark. In a double alliance, her brother Birger married Eric’s sister Martha.
She probably played no role in the politics of her time and could only helplessly watch as the situation in the country of her birth spiralled out of control. Her other two younger brothers were imprisoned by King Birger, and both starved to death during their imprisonment. They had been arrested during King Birger’s Christmas celebration, known as the Nyköping Banquet. A subsequent rebellion forced Birger, Martha and their son into exile in Denmark, where they were received by Ingeborg.
Ingeborg and Eric had many children together, estimated to up to 14, though none would survive to adulthood. One tragic story tells us that after Ingeborg had given birth to a healthy son, she proudly showed him off to the people from her carriage. However, he fell from her grip when the carriage suddenly moved, and he broke his neck and died.
Shortly after this, Ingeborg entered the St. Catherine’s Priory in Roskilde. Some say she went voluntarily out of grief for the death of her son and the deaths of her brothers. Others say she was forced into retirement by her husband. In any case, Ingeborg had been a benefactor of the priory before she came there.
She died not long after entering the priory – on 15 August 1319. She was buried in St. Bendt’s Church at Ringsted, and her grave has the inscription, “I, Ingeborg of Sweden, once queen of Denmark, ask for forgiveness from anyone to whom I may have caused sorrow, to be please to forgive me and to remember my soul. I died in the year of Our Lord 1319.”1 Her husband would die a few months after her.