Sophia of Minsk

  (Redirected from Sofia of Minsk)

Sophia of Minsk or Sophia of Polotsk (c. 1140 – 5 May 1198) 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.

Sophia of Minsk
Sophia of Minsk - 1855 portrait bust.jpg
Queen consort of Danmark
Died5 May 1198
SpouseValdemar I of Denmark
Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia
among others...
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
FatherVolodar of Minsk
MotherRicheza of Poland
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Gravestone for Queen Sophia in St. Bendt's Church in Ringsted.



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, it was either Volodar of Minsk or Vladimir Vsevolodich [ru], Prince of Novgorod and son of Vsevolod of Pskov. Both of them are the Rurikids. The latter version means Valdemar was married to his second cousin, as Sophia's possible father Vsevolod was her Ingeborg of Kiev's nephew[1]


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.[2] In the marriage contract, she was secured an eighth of her half brother King Canute V's estates in Denmark.[2]

1157 bracteate commemorating the wedding of Valdemar and Sophia of Minsk

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.[2]

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.[3]

She was widowed in 1182.

Later lifeEdit

As queen dowager, Sophia received a proposal from, and married, Louis III, Landgrave of Thuringia in about 1184, and was escorted to the border by her son and a grand entourage.

She was repudiated in 1190, and returned to Denmark.


Sophia had the following children with Valdemar I of Denmark:


  1. ^ Nazarenko A. V. Русско-немецкие связи домонгльского времени (IX — середина XIII в.): Состояние проблемы и перспективы дальнейших исследований [Russian-German relations of pre-Mongol times (IX - mid XIII century): The state of problem and possibilities for the further research] (in Russian). YASK. p. 266. ISBN 5-7859-0142-0.
  2. ^ a b c Bricka, Carl Frederik. "163 (Dansk biografisk Lexikon / XVI. Bind. Skarpenberg - Sveistrup)". Retrieved Jul 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Smith-Dampier, Eleanor. Danish Ballads, pp. 15-24 (Cambridge U. Press 1920).

External linksEdit

Sophia of Minsk
Born: circa 1140 Died: 5 May 1198
Danish royalty
Preceded by
Helena of Sweden
Queen consort of Denmark
Succeeded by
Gertrude of Bavaria