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Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg
Queen consort of Sweden
Catherine as depicted on her tomb
Reign 1531-1535
Spouse Gustav I of Sweden
Eric XIV of Sweden
House House of Ascania
Father Magnus I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
Mother Catherine of Braunschweig
Born 24 September 1513
Ratzeburg, Germany
Died 23 September 1535
Stockholm, Sweden
Burial Uppsala, Sweden
Gustav and Catherine

Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg, Katarina in Swedish, (24 September 1513 – 23 September 1535), was the first consort of Gustav I of Sweden and Queen of Sweden from 1531 until her death in 1535. She was born in Ratzeburg to Magnus I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg and Catherine, daughter of Henry IV, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.


King Gustav married Catherine for political reasons. Negotiations began in 1528. He wanted closer connections with German Protestant rulers in order to gain support for his reformation efforts and his throne. The marriage also gave Gustav closer connections to the throne of Denmark, as Catherine's older sister Dorothy was engaged to Christian, the Crown Prince of Denmark.

Catherine was 18 years old when Gustav's proposal was accepted, and she travelled to Sweden in the company of her mother. They were married on 24 September 1531. The short marriage was allegedly stormy and remained so after the birth of their son and only child, the future King Eric XIV of Sweden, in 1533. Catherine never had time to learn to speak Swedish, and as her husband's German was less than perfect, they had difficulty in communicating and did not spend much time together. It has been claimed that Queen Catherine was not popular, was intrigant, melancholy and full of whims, and that she also complained about her husband to Count John of Hoya who was married to her sister-in-law Margaret.

During a visit by her brother-in-law Christian III, the recently crowned King of Denmark (and her sister's husband as noted above), she allegedly accused Gustav of planning to murder him. At a castle ball, she and Christian fell while dancing, which caused her to have a miscarriage. She died soon after Christian's departure, on 23 September 1535, two weeks after her fall, and was eventually buried in Uppsala Cathedral after Gustav died in 1560.

After her death, rumors about the cause of it were spread by Gustav's enemies, claiming that he had killed Catherine with a silver hammer he used to summon servants. No formal accusation was made by Catherine's family, and an analysis of her remains, made during the 20th century, showed no damage to her skull or to the rest of her skeleton.


  • Alf Henriksson (1963). Svensk Historia (Swedish history). Bonniers
  • (Swedish) Article in the Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon
  • Herman Lindquist, Historien om Sverige, Gustav Vasa och hans söner och döttrar (History of Sweden. Gustav Vasa and his sons and daughters) (1997)
  • Wilhelmkina stålberg: Anteqningar om svenska qvinnor (Notes on Swedish women) (Swedish)
  • Herman Lindvist: Historien om alla Sveriges drottningar (History of all the queens of Sweden) (Swedish) (2006)


Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg
Born: 24 September 1513 Died: 23 September 1535
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Isabella of Burgundy
Queen consort of Sweden
Succeeded by
Margaret Leijonhufvud


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