blanche of namur

Albert Edelfelt

This, Queen Blanka, is one of my favorite paintings ever. It shows Queen Blanka/Blanche of Namur (1320-1363) playing together with her son Haakon of Norway.  In my opinion, the expression on the queen’s face tells that she is having fun and that she loves her son dearly. In my head I usually associate wealth and power with being cold and calculative. I guess the message of this painting could be that regardless of their position, all people go through life feeling the same feelings.

Women In History: Queens and Princesses

64) A Legendary Queen

Blanche of Namur (1320–1363) was queen-consort of Sweden and Norway, as the spouse of King Magnus Eriksson.

Blanche was the eldest daughter of John I, Marquis of Namur and Marie of Artois. It is unknown how it came that the king of Sweden and Norway married a woman from Namur. In Namur they got engaged and Magnus returned to Sweden in the fall of 1334. The wedding took place in October 1335, possibly at Bohus Castle. Blanche’s coronation took place in July 1336, possibly 22 July, in the Great Church in Stockholm.

They had two sons, Eric and Haakon. It was agreed that Eric should inherit Sweden and Haakon, Norway. When Haakon became Haakon VI of Norway in 1355, Eric rebelled against his father and was elevated to co-ruler of Sweden. Her husband was accused of being homosexual; he had an official favorite, Bengt Algotsson, Duke of Finland.

Blanche seems to have had a good relationship with Magnus, and exerted political influence. Her political influence made her controversial and exposed to much criticism and slander. In 1359 she was accused by people of having poisoned her daughter-in-law, Beatrice of Bavaria, and her own son, the co-ruler, King Eric. Historians believe that both her son and her daughter-in-law died of the plague. 

She spent her last years, from 1359 until her death, at the Tønsberg Castle in Norway, and ruled the south-east of this country. On 1363, Blanche fell ill and died. The cause of death and the place where she is buried is unknown

Queen Blanche is one of the most well-known of the Swedish/Norwegian medieval queens. She was very politically and socially active and noticeable, not only as a queen.