Sweden Heads of State

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Kingdom of Sweden/Konungariket Sverige (Restricted local suffrage for women 1862 and universal suffrage 1919)

Also see Sweden Ministers

995 Possible Regent Dowager Queen Gunhild of Poland
It is not known for sure if she was acctually married to king Erik of Sweden (who reigned circa 970-95), who might have been married to Sigrid Storråda, daughter of Skoglar Tost, or to another Slavic princess. But she was possibly regent for son, king Olaf Skotkonug. Since 996 she was a married to King Sven of Danmark and political active. In 996 she lead to an alliance between Danmark and Sweden, and lived (968/72-after 1014)

1229-34 politically influential Queen Helena Pedersdtter Strange of Sweden
Also known ass Helene or Elin, she used the same seal as her husband, King Knut II Holmgersson Långe (1229-34) on official documents, a curious fact which indicates that she may have exerted some political influence. Her husband had been regent for the under-aged king Erik XI of Sweden, and took the throne himself in 1229. After his death she married nobleman Filip Lauresson. In 1247, she witnessed her son from her first marriage rebel against the new monarch; he failed, and was executed in 1248. Her second son was executed in 1251, and the same year, her second husband died. She was daughter of the Danish knight Peder Strangesson, and lived(ca 1200- ca 1255).

1244-50 Landowner Queen Katarina Sunesdotter av Ymseborg of Sweden in Östergötland (Including the City of Söderköping), Västergötland, Småland and Södermanland (Including parts of the City of Nyköping) and in Sjælland (Zealand) (Sweden and Denmark)
1250-52 Abbess of Gudhem (Sweden)
Also known as Katarina Folkesdotter, she was a member of the Family of Bjälbo (Bjälboätten) as the daughter of Helena Sverkersdotter, daughter of King Sverker II of Sweden, and Sune Folkesson (d. 1247), Lord of Ymseborg, lawspeaker of Västergötland, who descended from the Norwegian royal family. After the death of the brother of her mother, Johan, in 1216, her mother, herself and her sisters were the cheif heirs of the Sverker dynasty. In 1244 or 1243 she married King Erik XI (1215-50) and recived an immense dower upon the marriage, some legends narrate romantically about "half the kingdom". It is not know if they had any children, but some sources indicates that a number of daughters married German princes. After her husban's death she entered a convent and donated and transferred all her lands, including her queenly dower, to certain relatives and as donations to ecclesiastical institutions. For example, her sister Benedikta received the town of Söderköping. She lived (circa 1215-52).

1290–1302 and 1320–1327 Regent Dowager Queen Helvig von Holstein
When she was married to king Magnus III in 1276, she was granted the fief of Dåvö in Munktorp in Västmanland. She founded convents and churches but dooes not appear to have been politically active, but after his death, she was regent for their son, King Birger (1280-90-18), and after he was deposed and went into exile, she was in charge of the government in the name of her grandson, Magnus, with her daughter-in-law Ingeborg as regent in Norway. She lived (1260-1324).

1298-1318 Politically Influential Queen Märta of Denmark
During the reign of her husband, King Birger, she participated in all the intrigues of his court. In 1306 they had been captured and imprisoned by his brothers and forced to hand over the real power to them, but a few years later they invited the brothers to great festivities, captured and imprisoned them, and left them to starve to death. When her husband was deposed in 1318, she fled to Denmark, were she spent the rest of her life. She was daughter of King Erik V of Denmark and the former regent, Agnes of Brandenburg, and lived (1277-1341)

1319-24/30 Regent Dowager Duchess Ingebjørg Håkonsdotter of Södermaland
1319-26 County Sheriff of Norra Halland,
Älvsyssel, 5 Shires in Västergötland and Värmland and the Estate of Lödöse
1319-23 Regent of Norway
1330-50 Regent of Södre Halland
Also known as Ingeborg, she had her son Magnus VII elected king in succession of her father, Håkon V, and ruled together with the council of state. In 1321 the council’s chairman resigned and handed over the State Seals to her, which she possessed until a new chairman was elected the year after. She was married to a royal duke in Sweden and was Lady (Frue) in her own right of Vest-Gautland, Nord-Halland and Värmland in Sweden. Her son, Magnus VII Eriksson of Norway was king of Norway (1318-55), Sweden (1319-63) and of Skåne (1332-60). His son, Håkon of Norway was married to Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Ingeborg was deposed as regent because of her despotic rule. Regent for sons Håkon and Knut Porse in Southern Halland She lived (1301-60).

1335-63 Lady Queen Blanka av Namur of Some estates  by the Göta River and the Castle of Lindholmen på Hisingen
1553-63 Lady of Province and Castle of Bohus and Marstrand with Älvsyssel
When her son, Håkon IV was named King of Norway, with her husband King Magnus of Sweden and Norway (1316-19-64-74) was named regent and appointed her to rule parts of Norway while he stayed in Sweden 1343-55. Håkon came of age in 1355 and Magnus was engaged in wars with their oldest son, Erik, who died of the plauge in 1359, his cousin Albrecht of Mecklenburg and the Swedish magnates. Even though he was most probably gay, they semed to have a good relationship.  She was daughter of Jean de Dampierre and Countess Marie d'Artois, and lived (circa 1320-63)

1389-1412 Queen Margareta
Also Queen of Denmark and Norway. She created the Union of Kalmar consisting of all the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Faero Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden)

1424-30 Regent Queen Philippa
Queen Consort of Denmark, Sweden and Norway was regent during her husband’s stay abroad

1464 Acting Lensherre Anne Jensdatter of Gotland
Jointly with brother-in-law Filip Axelsen Thott after the death of her husband, Oluf.

1470-97 Temporary Regent Ingeborg Åkesdotter Tott of the County of Gripsholm with the Shires of Selebo, Åkers, Österrekarnas and Villåttinge and the Estate of Strömsrum
1504-07 Reigning Dowager Lady of the fief of Häme Castle in Finland
Often in charge of Gripsholms Län after her second husband, Sten Gustafsson Sture, became regent of Sweden. She was highly interested in science, theology and education and known as the patron of such things. She encouraged the foundation of the first secular university in Sweden, the Uppsala Academy and the Uppsala University in 1477, and gave large and independent donations from her own money to print books and finance libraries. When union with Denmark was reestablished, and the Danish king made regent of Sweden in 1497, she and her husband left for Finland, where they held a grand court at Tavastehus Castle. In 1501, a rebellion broke out and her husband again retook his position. After his death in 1503, she withdraw to her estates. In 1505, the castellan Folke Gregerinpolka tired to take the castle by force with the support of the council, but she was supported by the people and by some of the nobility and his troops had to retreat. She lived (1440s-1507).

1504-12 Politically Influential Mette Iversdatter Dyre in Sweden 
1515-circa 27 County Sheriff of Hørby (Denmark)
Known as Mätta Ivarsdotter in Sweden, she was very influential during the regency of her third husband was Svante Nilsson Sture, who was Regent of Sweden for King Hans of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. She was Svante's assistant and advisor, and an influential power in the national counsel. In important questions the great men rather went to her than to her husband. In 1507 she defended Stockholm Castle and in 1510 she was his representative in Finland. After her husband's death in 1512 she was in dispute with her step-son, Sten Sture the Younger, about some of her dowry. In 1515 King Christian 2. appointed Sheriff (Lensmand) of the Bishoply Fief of Hørby near Holbæk and as Chancellor of the Convent of Saint Agnete in Roskilde. Her first two husbands were the Norwegian Councillors of the Realm, Anders van Bergen (d. 1491) and Knut Alvsson (d. 1502). She lived (circa 1460-ca.1527).

1563-1621 Reigning Dowager Lady Dowager Queen Katarina Stenbock of Strömsholms Estate with the Shire of Snevringe, Fiholms Estate with the Parishes of Säby and Stora Rytterne, the estates of Tynnelsö and Magerö wit Aspö, the Parishes of Överselö and Ytterselö with Tosterö in the Parish of Strängnäs and the Estate of Kungsberga with the Parishes of Fogdö, Vansö and Helgarö
She was widow of Gustav Vasa, and lived (1535-1621).

1577-1612 Reigning Dowager Lady Dowager Queen Karin Månsdotter of Liuksiala Kungsgård with subsidiaries in Finland
The widow of Erik XIV, she was granted the Royal Estate of Liuksiala by Johan III. She lived (1550-1612).

1584 Acting Lensherre Hilleborg Hansdatter of Gotland
After the death of her husband, Emicke Kaas, until his successor arrived to the island.

1586-97 Reigning Dowager Lady Dowager Queen Gunilla Johansdotter Bielke af Åkerö of the Town and Estate of Björneborg with various Parishes, the Estate and Parishes of Kumo, the Estate of Sari with certain Parishes (Finland), the Estate of Brånäs in Östergötland with the Parishes of Dagsbergs, Steneby and Konungsund and hundred royal hereditary estates situated nearest nearest Brånäs.
She was widow of Johan III, and lived (1568-1597).

1605 Regent Queen Christina von Holstein-Gottorp of Sweden
1611-22 Regent of Värmland and other Duchies
1611-25 Reigning Dowager Lady of Norrköping, Gotland, Öland, Ösel, Wolgast and the Pommerian lands, Poel and Neukloster in Mecklenburg (Sweden and Germany)
1612-25 Reigning Dowager Lady of the Estate and County of Veckholms and Tynnelsö, The Town and Caste of Gävle and Gästrikland, Örbyhus with the Parishes of Tierps and Tolfta, the Shire of Vendel, the Parishes of Älvkarleby and Västlands and the Right and Income from the Salmon Fishery of Älvkarleby
First acted as regent during the absence of her husband, king Karl IX (1550-1611). After his death her brother-in-law. Duke Johan av Östergötland became regent for her son Gustav Adolf, and she instead took over the regency for her younger son Karl Filips in his Dukedom until his death in 1622. She was daughter of Adolf of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp. (1573-1625).

1632-1654 Queen Kristina
1654-89 Lady of the Castle and City of Norrköpings, the Islands of Gotland, Öland and Ösel, Wolgast and a number of Estaes in Swedish Pomerania and Poel and Neukloster in Mecklenburg.
She succeeded her father Gustav II Adolf at the age of six, a regency under Axel Oxenstierna ruling until she assumed full royal power in 1644. Throughout her reign, she attempted to increase the authority of the Crown, and in this she was supported by the lower estates against the nobility and the Council of the Realm. The Thirty Years' War, however, had led Sweden into an economic crisis that Christina was unable to resolve. Highly intelligent, she was interested in intellectual pursuits and was influenced by the French philosopher René Descartes, who lived in Stockholm in 1649-50. Christina never married. In 1654 she abdicated the throne, had her cousin Charles recognized as her successor, and announced that she had converted to Roman Catholicism. After her resignation, she was granted a number of Counties and Estates in Sweden and Germany for life. Self-exiled, she lived the rest of her life in Rome. Lived (1626-89)

1632-44 Politically Active Dowager Queen Maria Eleonora zu Hohenzollern-Brandenburg of Sweden
1632-55 Reigning Dowager Lady of Gripsholm, Tynnelsö, Räfsnäs, Eskilstunahus, Strömsholm, Fiholm, Örbyhus and the Estate of Gävleborgs and the Towns of Strängnäs, Mariefred, Torshälla and Gävle with 9 Shires with 65 Parishes
Engaged in disputes with the Regency-council for her daughter, Queen Kristina. 1636 her parental right to Kristina was taken away from here and she was taken to Gripsholms castle. 1640 she fled to Gotland where she got on board a Danish warship that took her to Denmark. In Denmark she became the guest of Christian 4 at Nykøbing Castle. Her intentions where to go to Germany, but as her brother refused to accept her she didn't reach Brandenburg until her nephew Fredrik Wilhelm, which succeeded his father in 1640, gave his permission in 1644. But soon she started to long for Sweden again and after the Westphalian Peace she returned. Before she died in 1655 she had endured one last sorrow, her daughters' abdication from the Swedish Throne. She lived (1599-1655).

1660-72 President of the Guardian Government Dowager Queen of the Realm Hedvig-Eleonora von Holstein-Gottorp of Sweden
1660-1715 Reigning Dowager Lady of the Counties of Gripsholms, Eskilstuna, Strömsholms and Vadstena
1697-98 President of the Guardian Government
1700-13 President of the Guardian Government
In 1654 she married king Karl X Gustav (1622-54-60), and the following year she gave birth to her only child, the later Karl XI. After her husband's death, she became Reigning Dowager Queen of the Realm (Riksänkedrottning) with two votes in the guardian-government for her son. Even after her son married Ulrika Eleonora the older of Denmark (1656-93), she kept the position as the leading Lady in the realm. After her son's death she was again Regent grandson Karl XII. and finally she acted as regent during the Great Northern War. After her retirement she put all her energy in her dowries, and became very rich, build elaborate castles and promoted arts and culture. After her death her fiefs reverted to the Crown, but had a separate administration until 1719. The following year a ban on distributing dowries in the form of Counties and lands was introduced. She lived  (1636-1715)

1700-52 Territorial Landowner Countess Christina Piper Törnflycht of the estates of Krageholm, Sturefors and Högestad in Skåne and Ängsö in Västmanland and Toppeladugård, Ugglarp, Björnstorp, Östra Torup, Assarstorp, Baldringe, Viggebyholm, Sturefors.
1747-52 Owner of the fideicommis of Christinehovs with Andarums, Torups, Högestads and Baldringe säterier
Very influential locally and known as "Queen Christina at Christinehov". She was left in charge of the family's wast estates from the the time her husband, Royal Councillor Baron and Count (Friherre and greve), Carl Piper (1647 - 1716) went with King Karl XII at war in Skåne, Poland and Russia 1700. He was taken prisoner in 1709 and died 5 years later. In the beginning it included at least 20.000 and she expanded it. 1725 she bought the estate of Andrarums wich included an mine of the chemical compound of Alum and a factory with a total of 900 employees which she also expanded. It was in function until 1912. She founded the fideicommis of Sturefors with Viggbyholm in 1747 for her daughter-son Nils Adam Bielke, which included a large number of estates and farms in Hanekinds, Bankekinds, Åkerbo, Kinda and the shires of Hammarkinds in Östergötlands län. She also created 2 other fideicommis of Engsö for her son Carl Fredrik and Söderby with Gerstaberg for the family of Counts of Löwen. Of her 8 children 1 son and 4 daughters survived. She was daughter of the Mayor Stockholm, Olof Hansson Törnflycht (1640-1713), and lived (1673-1752).

1714-41 Member of the Council of State Princess Ulrika Eleonora
1714 Regent
1718-20 Queen Regnant
1731 and 1738 Regent
Succeeded her brother Karl XI. Abdicated and was succeeded by husband Friedrich von Hessen (1676-1720-51). she acted as regent both for brother and later for husband, who was succeeded by a son of a sister of hers. She lived (1688-1741)

1751-71 Political Influential Queen-Consort Lovisa Ulrika von Preussen of Sweden
Engaged in an endless squabble with the Senate and Estates whose powers were unparalleled at the time during the reign of her weak husband, Adolf Frederik. Her goal was to restore royal powers and was in opposition to both the existing parties, the Hatt Partiet (The Hat Party) and the Cap party, which both wanted to maintain status quo. In 1756 she was involved in a failed coup d'état with the newly established Hovpartiet (Court Party). The plan was discovered, and the persons involved where executed or exiled and she received a strong note from the government. After her husband's death she became a patron of arts and science. The daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm of Preussen and Sofia Dorothea von Hannover, she was Co-Adjutrix (Deputy to the Princess-Abbess with the right of succession) 1740-44 before her marriage. Mother of three sons and a daughter, Sophia Albertina, who became Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg in 1787, and lived (1720-82).  

1792-96 Guardian Dowager Queen Sofia Magdalena af Danmark of Sweden
After her husband, Gustav III was killed in 1792, her brother-in-law, Duke Karl became regent for her son, Gustav IV Adolf (1778-92-1809-37), but she never tried to take any political role what so ever. She was engaged to Gustav at the age of five, they got married in 1766 and he became king in 1772. She had a very religious and pietistic upbringing which made it difficult for her to cope with the much more vivacious Swedish court. In 1809 her son was deposed and send in exile after Sweden lost Finland to Russia, and she lived to see the arrival of the new Crown Prince Jean Batiste Bernadotte. Sofia Magdalena was the oldest daughter of King Frederik 5. of Denmark and Louise of England and sister of the insane Christian 7. She had one other son, Karl Gustaf (1782-83), and she lived (1746-1813).

1809-18 Leader of the Gustavian Party Queen Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta von Holstein-Gottorp
In 1809 her husband, Karl XIII became king after his nephew, Gustav IV Adolf, had been deposed. Karl had been regent for Gustav Adolf during his minority 1792-96. She became leader of the Gustavian Party, and worked for the declaration Gustav Adolf's son, prince Gustav as king, with her husband as regent. She was politically influential also because her husband had a stroke shortly after ascending to the throne. The following year, Prince Christian August of Augustenborg was elected as heir to the throne and assumed the name Karl August. He died the same year and subsequently Jean Baptiste Bernadotte was elected heir and adopted by her and her husband, but they never had a close relationship since she still preferred prince Gustaf as heir. Hedwig Elisabeth Charlotta was mother of one son who died one week old, and died 6 months after her husband, having lived (1759-1818).

1872-1909 Politically Infuential Queen Sophia von Nassau
As wife of Oscar II, she did have some politicall influence, and inspired her husbands preference for Germany and conservative ideas, though she was never as stern in her conservatism as her daughter-in-law Victoria of Baden, whose militant agressiveness she disliked. She was deeply religious and very active in charity, especially health care and medicine; in 1884, she established the first school for education of nurses, after a visit to London where she was inspired by Florence Nightingale, and in 1887, she founded the hospital Sophiahemmet. She was popular in Norway, where she spent all her summers between 1892 and 1904, and she is often given credit for using her influence to prevent war between Sweden and Norway when the union broke in 1905. Her brother, Adolf, became the first inDuke of Luxembourg 1890 She was mother of 4 sons, and lived (1836-1913).

1907-30 Politically Influential Queen Victoria von Baden
Influential during reign of husband , King Gustaf V Adolf of Sweden (1858-1958), particularly 1911-14 when she acted as liaison between the king and Premier Karl Staef who did not communicate. She was also the "Head" of the former reigning Holstein-Gottorp-Vasa-family, mother of three sons, and lived (1862-1930).

1997- Deputy Head of State, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland
On her 18th birthday the 14th of June the crown Princess swore the oath on the constitution and was inaugurated as Deputy Head of State, and acts as regent in the absence of her father from the country. (b. 1979-)

2000- "Assistant Deputy Head of State" Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland och Gästrikland
The youngest child of  King Carl XVI Gustaf she acts as regent in the absence of her elder sister and brother, Prince Carl Philip (b. 1979). She is born (1982-)


Last update 28.12.08