Ulvhild Håkansdotter – Thrice a Queen

Alvastra Abbey (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Ulvhild Håkansdotter was born circa 1095 as the daughter of Haakon Finnsson. The name of her mother was not recorded. She came from somewhere in Norway. Nothing is known of her youth.

Her first marriage was to King Inge II of Sweden, and the wedding was held around 1116/1117. King Inge ruled together with his brother Philip Halstensson, but he died around 1118, leaving Inge as the sole ruler. Some time before 1129, King Inge died after drinking “an evil drink,” with some suggesting that it was Ulvhild who poisoned her husband. In any case, she and Inge had not had any children, and the throne passed to Ragnvald Knaphövde.

Ulvhild moved to Denmark, rather than returning to Norway. Perhaps a marriage was already in the works as she married King Niels of Denmark, shortly after the death of his wife, Margaret Fredkulla. Niels was considerably older than Ulvhild, and the situation in Scandinavia was anything but stable. Sweden had taken a “man of low origins” called Sverker as their new King, and he “clandestinely brought her from her husband and made her marry him.”1 This probably took place between 1132 and 1134. As a previous Queen of Sweden, Ulvhild was an important asset and could provide some form of legitimacy for Sverker.

With Sverker, she went on to have four children, including his successor Charles. During her second period as Queen of Sweden, she was known to be a benefactor to the church. She founded the abbeys of Alvastra and Nydala. Her death is unknown, but it happened some time between 1143 and 1150. Even her place of burial is unknown, though it is thought to be Alvastra Abbey.


  1. Saxo Grammaticus, Danmarks krønike. København; Asschenfeldt’s Stjernebøger, 1985, II, pp. 81.

About Moniek Bloks 2745 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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