Saturday, November 21, 2009

Berengária of Portugal, Queen of Denmark.

Berengária's burial place in Skt. Bendt's kirke, Ringsted.

Berengaria's Parents: Sancho I of Portugal *11 November 1154 in Coimbra, Portugal + 26. March 1212 in the same city, married in 1174 to Dulce Berenguer of Aragon, * 1160 + 1198

Sancho I and Dulce's Children:
Teresa: *1178, +1250 Married to King Alfonso IX of Leon
Raymond: *c.1180, +1189
Sancha: *1182 +13 March 1229, Abbess of Lorvao in Penacova
Constance: *c. 1182 + 3. August 1202
Afonso II: *23 April 1185, + 25. March 1223, Succeeded Sancho I of Portugal as 3rd king of Portugal.
Peter: *23 Febr. 1187, + 2. June 1258, Count of Urgell and Lord of the Balearic Islands , married Countess Aurembiaix of Urgell.
Ferdinand: * 24 March 1188, + 4. March 1233, lived in France and married Jeanne of Flanders
Henry: * 1189, + 1189
Branca: + ca.1192, + 1240, Lady of Guadalajara
Berengária: * ca. 1195, + 27. March 1221, Married 1214 to Valdemar II of Denmark
Mafalda: * 1198, + 1256, married to King Henry I of Castile.

Berengária of Portugal, * 1195, +27. March 1221, married in May 1214 to King Valdemar II. Sejr, *21.or 28.June 1170, †28.3.1241 in Vordingborg, son of King Valdemar I. the Great and Sophie of Novgorod.
Children: Erik 4. Plovpenning (*1216 + 9 or 10. Aug. 1250), Sophie (*1217 +2. Nov. 1247), Abel (*1218 +29. June 1252), Christoffer 1. (*1219 + 29.May 1259).
The name Berengária is a Latin form of the Portuguese Berengela. In annals and folksongs she was named Bringenilæ, Bengierd and similar. B and Valdemar Sejr was married in May 1214, and she bore in the following years three sons, who all became kings of Denmark, and one daughter. B is mentioned both as the daughter of the king of Portugal and as the sister of the count of Flandern. This is due to that her brother king Alfonso 2. started an inheritance-feud with the result that her other brother Ferrando in 1211 went to France, probably with a very young B in his entourage. The French king Philip 2. August arranged the marriage which made Ferrando count of Flandern, and B's marriage might be caused by Ferrando's wish of connecting Valdemar Sejr to the alliance against France, which he in the summer 1213 entered into with king John of England and the German emperor Otto 4. It was probably caused by B that Valdemar entered into another connection to the Portuguese dynasty, when his eldest son Valdemar the Young in 1229 was married to B's niece, Alfonso 2.'s daughter Eleonora.
The concrete knowledge about B's life is minimal and accidental. The popes Innocens 3. and Honorius 3. confirmed her morning gift, which is unusual. The size of the morning gift, which the bridegroom gave his bride as a securing of a possible widowhood is not known. It is however seen that B gave gifts to churches and klosters, since these gifts as well as her crown after her death was excepted from the agreement of 1225 about the ransom for king Valdemar and his eldest son after their capture at Lyø two years earlier. She is the first Danish queen whose crown is mentioned. The folksong-tradition pictures B as a counterpart of her predecessor, queen Dagmar: hard, evil, greedy and selfish. Dagmar warns in one of the songs Valdemar against marrying B. "Hun er så besk en blomme." (she compares her to a bitter fruit.) But this was written in the 1500s and it is rather doubtful. According to a German-Livonian source she died in childbirth. She was buried in Skt. Bendts kirke in Ringsted. In the excavation in 1855 her skeleton was found and her shapely skull caused great attention. In the church is kept a plait from her hair.
Source: Humanistiske Studier 2/1941. Danmarks Kirker 5, Sorø Amt 1, 1936, Niels Henrik Holmqvist-Larsen.
Berengária of Portugal was a Portuguese infanta, later Queen consort of Denmark. She was the fifth daughter of Portuguese King Sancho I and Dulce Berenguer. She married Danish King Valdemar II and was the mother of the Danish kings Eric IV, Abel and Christopher I.Berengaria was the tenth of eleven children born to her parents. Her siblings included:Theresa, Queen of Castile; Sancha, Lady of Alenquer; Constance; Afonso II of Portugal; Peter I of Urgell; Ferdinand of Flanders; Blanche, Lady of Guadalajara and Matilda, Queen of Castile.
By the age of seventeen in 1212, Berengária was an orphan; her father died in 1212 and her mother had died in 1198. Her maternal grandparents were Ramon Berenguer IV,Count of Barcelone and his wife Petronila of Aragon. Her paternal grandparents were Afonso I of Portugal and Maud of Savoy. Berengaria was first cousin to the English queen Berengaria of Navarre, wife of Richard the Lion-hearted. Both of the Princess Berengarias were named after their grandfather Count Ramon Berenguer, Count of Barcelona.

Old folk ballads says that on her deathbed,Dagmar of Bohemia (Valdemar's first wife) begged the king to marry Kirsten, the daughter of Karl von Rise and not the "beautiful flower" Berengaria. In other words she predicted Berengaria's sons' fight over the throne would bring trouble to Denmark. Berengaria was introduced to King Valdemar through his sister,Ingeborg, the wife of King Philip II of France, another of her cousins. Berengaria was the youngest daughter of King Sancho I of Portugal. Within seven years of marriage, Valdemar and Berengaria had four surviving children: Erik IV of Denmark (1216-1250), King of the Danes (1241-1250); Abel of Denmark (1218-1252), King of the Danes (1250-1252); Christopher I of Denmark (1219-1259), King of the Danes (1252-1259); Sophie (1217- 2. Nov. 1247), married John I, Margrave of Brandenburg.

Valdemar's first wife, Dagmar of Bohemia, had been immensely popular, blonde and with Nordic looks. Queen Berengaria was the opposite, dark-eyed, raven-haired, yet a beauty in her own right. She was, however hard-hearted, so that she was generally hated by Danes until her early death in 1221.The Danes made up folk songs about the beautiful new queen and blamed her for the high taxes Valdemar levied, although the taxes went to his war efforts, not just to his Queen. The Danes still grieved over the kind-hearted Queen Dagmar, so that it wasn't easy for the new queen from Portugal to win the good-will of her husband's Danish subjects.Queen Berengaria, after giving birth to three future kings, died in childbirth in 1221, in her 31st year. (? her 26th year) Queen Berengaria is buried in Saint Bendt's Church in Ringsted, Denmark, on one side of Valdemar II, with Queen Dagmar buried on the other side of the King. Valdemar's two queens play a prominent role in Danish ballads and myths - Dagmar as the soft, pious and popular ideal wife and Berengaria (Bengjerd) as the beautiful and haughty woman. The study of history has found nothing which supports the work of poetry.

Berengaria was from the House of Burgundy (Casa de Borgonha), it was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty, descending from Robert, Duke of Burgundy, a younger son of Robert II of France. The House ruled the Duchy of Burgundy from 1032-1361. The main line of the dynasty ended with the death in 1361 of Philip I, Duke of Burgundy. His duchy was inherited by John II of France, whose mother had been a member of the House of Burgundy. Called the Afonsine Dynasty (Dinastia Afonsina), the Portuguese branch of the House of Burgundy was a cadet branch, descending from Henry, Count of Portugal. Henry was a younger son of Henry of Burgundy, the son and heir of Robert I of Burgundy who died before he could inherit the Duchy.

Portugal, Medieval Lands, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy;Valdemar II, Classic Encyclopedia; Wikipedia, Portuguese intfantas.
photo Ringsted 2002: grethe bachmann

1 comment:

Antonio de Meneses e Fonseca said...

Really a interesting subject. It´s a pitty I didn't find this blog earlier.

I belong to a ancient Cistecrcian Monastry in Coimbra-Portugal founded by a sister of queen Berengaria named Sancha, the fist Lady that gave a roof in Portugal to the Franciscans.

The king Sancho I of Portugal has his grave here in Coimbra.
If you find it interesting I can get more information about Berengaria's sisters remains in Portugal.