Dagmar of Bohemia

Dagmar of Bohemia
Queen Dagmar, church in Ringsted
Queen consort of Denmark
Tenure 1205–1213
Born c.1186
Died 24 May 1212
Burial St. Bendt's Church
Spouse Valdemar II of Denmark
Issue Valdemar the Young
Dynasty Přemyslid
Father Ottokar I of Bohemia
Mother Adelheid of Meissen
Religion Roman Catholic

Dagmar of Bohemia (also known as Margaret of Bohemia; c. 1186 – 24 May 1212 in Ribe) was queen consort of Denmark as the first spouse of King Valdemar II of Denmark. She was the daughter of King Přemysl I Ottokar of Bohemia and his first wife, Adelheid of Meissen. [1]

Early life

Margaret (Markéta in Czech) had one brother, Vratislav, and two sisters, Božislava and Hedvika. Her father became the Duke of Bohemia in 1192, but in 1193 was deposed. He then left Bohemia with his family.

Adelheid with her children found a new home at the court of her brother Albert, Margrave of Meissen, and her husband Ottokar became a mercenary for German rulers. In 1197, Ottokar became the Duke of Bohemia for a second time. He repudiated Adelheid and divorced her in 1199 on the grounds of consanguinity. He married Constance of Hungary later the same year.[2] This step, together with other maneuvers, helped him later to obtain the hereditary elevation of his title to king.

Adelheid did not waive her rights. In 1205, she returned to Prague temporarily. At that time, Ottokar decided to marry their daughter, Margaret, to Valdemar II of Denmark. His new wife Constance gave birth to a son, later King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia the same year. Adelheid left Bohemia soon and died a few years later.


Before his first marriage, Valdemar had been betrothed to Richeza of Bavaria, daughter of the Duke of Saxony. When that engagement fell through, he married Margaret now known as Dagmar, in 1205 at Lübeck. According to the records of Annales Ryenses (Rydårbogen), in 1206 Queen Dagmar influenced Valdemar to release one of his most fervent enemies, Valdemar, Bishop of Schleswig who had been held in captivity since 1193. [3] [4]

In 1209, Queen Dagmar gave birth to Valdemar the Young (c. 1209–1231). Queen Dagmar died on 24 May 1212 while giving birth to her second son, who did not survive. Valdemar II elevated Valdemar the Young as co-king at Schleswig in 1218. However, Valdemar was accidentally shot while hunting at Refsnæs in North Jutland during 1231. [5]

Not many things are known about Dagmar as a person. Most of the image of Dagmar comes from later folksongs, myths and legends, designed to present her as an ideal Christian queen; mild, patient and universally loved, in contrast to her unpopular successor, Queen Berengaria. Old folk ballads say that on her deathbed she begged Valdemar to marry Kirsten, the daughter of Karl von Rise, and not the "beautiful flower" Berengária of Portugal. In other words, she predicted a struggle for the Danish throne between the sons of Berengaria.

After Dagmar's death, in order to build good relations with Flanders (a commercially important territory to the west of Denmark's hostile southern neighbours), Valdemar married Berengária of Portugal in 1214. Queen Dagmar is buried in St. Bendt's Church in Ringsted, on one side of Valdemar II, with Queen Berengária buried on the other side of the King.

Dagmar Cross

A pectoral cross now well known as the Dagmar Cross (Dagmarkorset) was found lying on the breast of Queen Dagmar remains when the tomb was opened in 1683. In 1695 the cross was donated to the National Gallery of Denmark. The jewel of Byzantine design and workmanship, is of gold, enamelled, having on one side a crucifix, and on the other side portraits of Christ in the center, St Basil, St John Chrysostom, Mary the Virgin and St John the Apostle-Evangelist. In 1863, King Frederik VII of Denmark donated a replica of the cross to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, daughter of the later King Christian IX of Denmark when she married the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII of England. [6] [7] [8] [9]

In the modern era, the Dagmar Cross "is worn by Danish girls for their confirmation into the Lutheran Church, and is also given to children as a baptismal gift."[10] In the Lutheran Church of Sweden, "the cross is now delivered to the new bishop, on his installation in office, by the Archbishop of Uppsala, together with the mitre and crozier."[11]



  1. "Dronning Dagmar". historie-online.dk. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  2. Cawley, Charles, Profile of Ottokar I, his wives and children, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,
  3. Anders Leegaard Knudsen (13 July 2012). "Annales Ryenses". University of Bergen. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  4. "Waldemar (Bischof von Schleswig)". Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  5. "Valdemar den Unge, dansk Konge, Søn af Valdemar Sejr og Dagmar". Salmonsens konversationsleksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  6. Sommerville, Maxwell (1894). The Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 6. p. 542.
  7. "Dagmarkorset". Danmarks Historien. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  8. "Dagmarkorset". Nationalmuseet. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  9. "Queen Alexandra of Great Britain- Queen Victoria's Daughter-in-Law, Bertie's Patient Wife, and Her Own Person". windowstoworldhistory. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  10. Hämmerli, Maria; Mayer, Jean-François (23 May 2016). Orthodox Identities in Western Europe: Migration, Settlement and Innovation. Routledge. p. 223. ISBN 9781317084914. Today the Dagmar cross is worn by Danish girls for their confirmation into the Lutheran Church, and is also given to children as a baptismal gift.
  11. Chisholm, Hugh (1922). Encyclopedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. University Press. p. 509.
Dagmar of Bohemia
Born: 1186? Died: 24 May 1212
Danish royalty
Preceded by
Gertrude of Bavaria
Queen consort of Denmark
Succeeded by
Berengária of Portugal

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