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Berengaria of Portugal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Berengaria of Portugal
D. Berengária de Portugal, Rainha Consorte da Dinamarca - The Portuguese Genealogy (Genealogia dos Reis de Portugal).png
Berengaria in António de Holanda's Genealogy of the Kings of Portugal, c. 1530–34.
Queen consort of Denmark
Bornc. 1198
Died27 March 1221
(aged 22–23)
Ringsted, Denmark
SpouseValdemar II of Denmark
IssueEric IV of Denmark
Sophia, Margravine of Brandenburg
Abel of Denmark
Christopher I of Denmark
HousePortuguese House of Burgundy
FatherSancho I of Portugal
MotherDulce of Aragon
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Berengaria of Portugal (Portuguese: Berengária, Danish: Bengjerd; c. 1198 – 27 March 1221) was a Portuguese infanta (princess) and Queen of Denmark, by marriage to King Valdemar II.[1] She was the fifth daughter of King Sancho I of Portugal and Dulce of Aragon.[2] She was the mother of Danish kings Eric IV, Abel and Christopher I.[3]


Berengaria was the tenth of eleven children born to her parents. By the age of fourteen in 1212, Berengaria was an orphan; her father died in 1212, while her mother had died in 1198. In various annals and ballads she is called Bringenilæ, Bengerd, Bengjerd and related forms.


Berengaria was introduced to King Valdemar through his sister, Ingeborg, the wife of King Philip II of France, another of her cousins; she was by that time at the French court, having left Portugal with her brother Ferrante in 1212.

Old folk ballads say 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, although this is merely legend and there is no historical proof of this.


Valdemar's first wife, Dagmar of Bohemia, had been immensely popular, blonde and with Nordic looks. Queen Berengaria was the opposite, described as a dark-eyed, raven-haired beauty.

The Danes made up folk songs about Berengaria and blamed her for the high taxes Valdemar levied, although the taxes went to his war efforts, not just to his wife. The great popularity of the former queen made it difficult for the new queen to gain popularity in Denmark. She is noted to have made donations to churches and convents. Berengaria was the first Danish queen known to have worn a crown, which is mentioned in the inventory of her possessions (1225).

In 1221 Berengaria, after giving birth to three future kings, died in childbirth. Queen Berengaria is buried in St. Bendt's Church in Ringsted, Denmark, on one side of Valdemar II, with Queen Dagmar buried on the other side of the King.


Berengaria's plait of hair in St. Bendt's Church, Ringsted
Berengaria's plait of hair in St. Bendt's Church, Ringsted

King Valdemar's two wives play a prominent role in Danish ballads and myths – Queen Dagmar as the soft, pious and popular ideal wife and Queen Berengaria (Bengjerd) as the beautiful and haughty woman.[4]

When Berengaria's grave was opened in 1885, they found her thick plait of hair, her finely formed skull and finely built body bones, proving the legends about her reported beauty. A portrait drawing was made to show how she might have looked.



  1. ^ Hundahl 2014, p. 270.
  2. ^ Diffie & Winius 1985, p. 15.
  3. ^ a b c d e Line 2007, p. 581.
  4. ^ Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Valdemar II." . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 841–842.


  • Diffie, Bailey W.; Winius, George D. (1985). Foundations of the Portuguese Empire: 1415 - 1580. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Hundahl, Kerstin (2014). "Placing Blame and Creating Legitimacy: The Implications of Rugish Involvement in the Struggle over the Succession amidst the Danish Church Strife c.1258-1260". In Hundahl, Kerstin; Kjær, Lars; Lund, Niels (eds.). Denmark and Europe in the Middle Ages, c.1000–1525: Essays in Honour of Professor Michael H. Gelting. Ashgate Publishing.
  • Line, Philip (2007). Kingship and State Formation in Sweden: 1130 - 1290. Brill.
  • Dansk Kvindebiografisk Leksikon (In Danish)

External links

Media related to Berengaria of Portugal at Wikimedia Commons

Berengaria of Portugal
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: circa 1190s Died: 27 March 1221
Danish royalty
Title last held by
Dagmar of Bohemia
Queen consort of Denmark
Title next held by
Eleanor of Portugal
as junior queen
This page was last edited on 11 April 2021, at 00:56
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