Kvindelige Danske Magthavere

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership

- throughout the ages


1095-1103 Joint Reigning Queen Bodil
Contemporary sources depict her as the co-ruler of her husband, King Erik I Ejegod. She was daughter of the Thurgot, Earl in Jutland, and her nephew, Asser, became the first Archbishop Denmark. In 1103 they went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Erik died on the way and she did in Jerusalem in 1103 or 1104. 

Margrethe Sambiria

1259-66 Regent Dowager Queen Margrethe Sambiria Sprænghest
1266-81 Lady of Estonia and Virland

Born as a Pommerian Princess, she was regent for her son Erik 5. Klipping after the death of her husband, Kristoffer I. She fought against the powerful Archbishop Jakob Erlandsen. In 1261 she and her son were taken prisoner in Germany. The next year she returned together with Albrecht of Braunshweig and Erlandsen left the country. She managed to persuade Pope to accept the idea of female succession to the Danish throne, though not to her daughters having succession-rights before male relatives in other lines. Estonia was her dowry which she controlled from Lolland-Falster another Dowry in the South of Denmark. She lived circa (1230-81).

Agnes af Danmark

1286-92 Regent Dowager Queen Agnes af Brandenburg
1286 Royal County Sheriff of Lolland-Falster Len

Regent for Erik IV after her husband, Erik V was assassinated. Lolland-Falster was her dowry, which she administered as a royal fief, being in charge of aspects of the local administration. She later married Count Gerhard II of Holsten and became mother of another son, Johann, and died 1304.

Queen Helvig of Denmark

1340-74 Politically Influential Queen Consort Helvig von Slesvig

By her marriage to Valdemar IV Atterdag (1340-75), her father gave her 1/4 of Jutland as dowry that he had in security for loans to the Danish kings and other royals who had engaged in a long civil war. Most of the country was in the hands of the Holstein Counts, but her dowry was a contributing factor to the fact that her husband managed to win back all the territory - giving him his by-name "Day again". Helvig must have acted as regent during her husband's many journeys abroad, but she also seems to have ended her days in a convent. She was the mother of Margrethe I of Denmark, and died (circa 1374). 

Margrethe I

1376-87 Regent Dowager Queen Margrethe I Valdemarsdatter of Denmark and Norway
1387-1412 Reigning Queen (Husband and Mistress) of Denmark, Sweden and Norway

Youngest daughter of King Valdemar IV of Denmark. At the age of ten she was married to King Håkon VI of Norway, son of Magnus II of Sweden and Norway. Their son Olaf, born in 1370, was elected King Olaf II of Denmark in 1375 at the death of Margrethe's father, with her as regent. After her husband's death shortly after her son also became Olaf IV of Norway. After Olaf's death in 1387 the Estates in Denmark elected her as Full-mighty Husband and Mistress for life. The following year she became regent of Norway. In 1388 the Swedish nobility dethroned their king Albrecht of Mecklenburg, and elected Margrethe as their reigning Queen instead. She chose her sister's daughter's son Erik of Pommerania as her successor, who became king in 1389, but Margrethe remained the real ruler. She founded the union of Kalmar, which in the case of Sweden would last until 1523, and with Norway until 1814. In 1410, Margrethe tried to reinstate Danish overlordship over Schleswig, which caused a war with the Counts in Holstein. She travelled to the conflict area, and died there in 1412. She lived (1353-1412).

Philippa of Denmark

1420 De-facto Regent Queen Philippa of England of Sweden
1423-25 Regent of Denmark

Had big parts of Sweden as her dowry and she acted as her husband's representative in the country. During his stay abroad from 1423 she was regent in Denmark, and in 1428 she successfully organized the defence of Copenhagen against the attacking German Hanes (North-German City States). She lived (1394-1430)

Queen Dorothea of Denmark

1448 "Holder of the Royal Authority" Dowager Queen Dorothea zu Brandenburg in Denmark
1448-52 Mistress of Örebro, Närke and Värmland (Sweden)
1481-90 Regent of Slesvig-Holsten (Schleswig Holstein)

The "royal authority" was vested in her after the death of her first husband, Christoffer 3 of Bayern. She contra signed and authorized the decisions made by the Council of State, which reigned the country. Later same year she married the new king Christian I of Oldenborg and often acted as regent during his many warfares. She also had Abrahamstrup, Kalundborg, Lolland-Falster Slesvig and Holsten, Närke and Värmland (Sweden) as security for loans she granted her husband. A month before his death, Christian granted her Slesvig-Holsten as a personal fief, and after his death she acted as regent for son, Frederik, (later king) in the Dukedoms. She lived (1430-90).

Sigbrit Willumsdatter

1518-23 De-facto In charge of the Customs Sigbrit Villoms
1519-23 "Second in Command" in Denmark
1522-23 De-facto Leader of the Treasury

Generally known as Mor Sigbrit, she was a Dutch tradeswoman who moved Norway and managed a trading company in Bergen of a substantial size. Her daughter, Dyveke, became mistress of the later Christian 2 of Denmark around 1509. When became king in 1513 they moved with him to Copenhagen and Sigbrit's influence grew. Dyveke died suddenly in 1517 - rumoured to have been poisoned. Queen Elisabeth von Habsburg appointed her as her Chief of Court and she also acted as midwife of the king's children. Her brother was a pharmacist and she was knowledgeable about medicine. She was also left in charge of the government when Christian was abroad. 1522 she was given a so-called "General receipt" (generalkvittering), that made her de-facto a kind of Minister of Finance. When the king was deposed in 1523 for his dictatorial rule, she went with the family to the Netherlands where they tried to gain support for the king's return. One of the conditions was that Christian had to part with her. From then on, nothing is heard of her, though the story of an old woman in prison accused of heresy or witchcraft sounds like it could have been her. Sigbrit Willoms also wrote her surname as Villumsdatter and she (d. circa 1532).

Sophie of Denmark

1588-94 Regent Queen Dowager Sophie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin of Schleswig-Holstein (Slesvig-Holsten) (Denmark and Germany)
1588-1631 Royal County Sheriff of Lolland-Falster Len and Ravnsborg Len

Widow of Frederik 2., she was regent for son Christian 4. in Slesvig-Holsten 1588-94. She was engaged in a power struggle with the Regents of Denmark, The Council of State, which had Christian declared of age in 1593, but she did not give up her position in the Duchies before the following year. She then withdrew to Lolland-Faster, where she managed her estates extremely well and became very rich and she lend her son a lot of money for his warfares. She lived (1557-1631).

1560-90 Christine, Titular Queen of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, The Wends, Goths and Slavs, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein, Ditmasken, Lorraine, Bar and Milano, Countess of Oldenborg and Balomnt, Lady of Tortana

1545-59 Regent in Lorraine for son Duke Karl II (1545-1608). 1560 She took over the claims as successor of their father, Christian II (d. 1559), from her sister, Countess Palatine Dorothea, who had no children. Christine lived (circa 1521-90)

Hedvig Sofia of Holstein-Gottorp

1702-08 Regent Dowager Duchess Hedvig Sofia of Sweden of Holstein-Gottorp

Married to Friedrich von Holstein-Gottorp (1671-1702) in 1698. She stayed in Gottorp for about one year and in 1700 her only child, Karl Friedrich (1700-39), was born, and two years later her husband was killed in battle. She was proclaimed regent while the guardianship was given to her brother, Karl. XII.  She was Hereditary Princess of Sweden until her death, and her son stayed in Sweden until 1718, and was generally considered to be heir to the throne - instead his aunt, Ulrika Eleonora the Younger, was chosen as reigning Queen, after the death of her brother, Karl XII. Karl Friedrich's son Carl Peter Ulrich later became Czar Peter of Russia. Hedvig Sofia was daughter of Karl XI and Ulrika Eleonora the Older, and lived (1681-1708)  

Dorothea Kragh

1703-11 Postmistress General Dorothea Kragh

In 1694 she married the 63 year old gehejmestatsminister and chief of the Admiralty, baron Jens Juel til Juelinge (d. 1700). Her second husband was Count Christian Gyldenløve of Samsø. She followed him to Italy, where he was in command of a battalion, and gave birth to their first son, Christian Danneskiold-Samsøe. The second son, Frederik, was born in 1703, four month's after Christian's death. Already while pregnant she negotiated with Frederik 4. about taking over the income from the Danish postal service, which her husband had had since 1689. She was appointed Generalpostmester, and much to the surprise of most people, she took over the management herself with the help of a number of representatives. 1705 she made new and detailed instructions to the local postmasters, and when her contract ended in 1711 the post service was a good business with a surplus. In 1715 she married, gehejme-councillor, Count Hans Adolf Ahlefeldt, and lived (1675-1754).

Louise von Mecklenburg-Güstow

1708-09 Regent Queen Louise von Mecklenburg-Güstow of Denmark and Norway

In charge of the government during her husband, Frederik 4's journey to Italy. She had been married the later king since 1695. Her husband was first married to the "left hand" with Elisabeth Helene von Vieregg and after her death to Comtesse Anna Sophie Reventlow. The Queen became more and more engaged in her pietistic faith. She was mother of two surviving children and three other children who all died as infants, and lived (1667-1721).

Juliane-Marie zu Braunschwieg-Wolfenbüttel

1772-84 De-facto Head of the Government Juliane-Marie af Danmark og Norge

Together with her son, Hereditry Prince Arveprins Ferdinand and Conseil President Høegh-Guldberg she deposed the former de-facto leader, the private doctor of the King, Friederich Struense, and was part of the triumvirate that had the power in the name of king Christian 7, who was menally ill. She was born as Princss of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. Her sister, Therese Natalie, was Princess-Abbess of Gandersheim 1766-77 and her sister-in-law, Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna was regent in Russia 1740-41 for her oldest son, Zar Ivan and after she and the son had been executed her younger children lived in exile in Denmark. Juliane-Marie lived (1729-96)

Marie Sofie Frederikke zu Hessen-Kassel

1814-15 Regent Queen Marie Sofie Frederikke af Danmark og Norge

Regent while her husband, Frederik 6, took part in the Congress of Vienna. She was born as Princess of Hessen-Kassel, gave birth to around 10 children of which only 2 daughters survived. She lived (1767-1852).

Lensgrevinde Louise Danner

1850-63 Politically Influential Countess Louise Danner

Louise Christine Rasmussen was a former ballet-dancer and later owner of a fashion-boutique. She had been the mistress of then Crown-Prince Frederik's best friend, Carl Berling, with whom she had a child. After Frederik 7. (1808-48-63) Succeeded to the throne, she moved into the royal palace and the couple married two years later. She was very influential during the reign of her husband, who had a very difficult personality, and divorced his two first royal wifes. Louise was granted the title Lensgrevinde Danner (Fief-Countess) and lived (1815-74).

Until 1851 Heiresss Presumptive H.H. Princess Charlotte of Denmark

Daughter of Hereditary Prince Frederik of Denmark and Sophie Frederikke. Married to Landgraf Wilhelm of Hessen-Kassel. By the version of semi-Salic law established in the Lex Regia in 1665, she had the best claims to the Danish throne, and to the Duchy of Schleswig, but the Duchy of Holstein did not allow female succession and the Danes found it imperative that the two duchies remained united and part of the Danish realm. Therefore a male heir had to be found. She was a vise and worldly Lady, who felt totally Danish, just like her husband, who was in military service in his youth. She was very aware of her dynastic rights and 1851 both she, her son transferred their succession-rights to her daughter, Louise who then transferred it to her husband - Christian of Slesvig-Holsten-Sønderborg-Glücksborg by an Act of Acceptance and Assurance. She lived (1789-1864)

1924-25 Minister of Education mag.art Nina Bang

The first female Minister in the world, she was member of the City Council of Copenhagen 1913-17, Member of Landstinget (Upper Chamber) 1918-28, as one of the first three women. Nina Henriette Wendeline Bang née Ellinger was a historian and journalist, married to Jens Gustav Bang (1871-1915), and her only daughter was born 1903. She lived (1866-1928). 

1950-53 Chairperson of the Landsting Ingeborg Hansen

The world's second female parliamentary speaker, she was for a number of years Chair of the Finance Committee, 1945-50 Secretary of Landstinget before becoming the last Chairperson of the Upper House before the Danish Parliament became an uniCámaral Legislature. She lived (1886-1954).

1965- Temporary Rigsforstander HRH Princess Benedikte of Danmark

Became a member of the Council of State by the age of 21 and has acted as regent (Rigsforstander) first in the place of her father and then for her sister, Queen Margrethe 2, whey they were abroad - alternating with Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim of Denmark, since they came of age. Princess Benedikte was married to HH Prince Richard zu Sayn- Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1934-2017). Mother of 3 children. (b. 1944-)

1972-  Queen Margrethe the Second

Succeeded Frederik 9. Mother of two sons. (b. 1940-)

Queen Ingrid of Denmark

1972-2000 Temporary Rigsforstander HM Queen Ingrid

As the first Dowager Queen ever she became member of the Council of State and able to act as regent when her daughter, Queen Margrethe was abroad. After her grand-children Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim came of age, she was not regent so often, but she continued to act as regent when both her two daughters and the princes were abroad. Queen Ingrid was born as Princess of Sweden and married Crown Prince Frederik in 1935. He was king (1947-72). She lived (1910-2000)

1993-96 Deputy Prime Minister Mimi Jakobsen

MP since 1977, Deputy Chairperson of the Parliamentary Group 1980-81, Political Spokesperson 1981-82, 1988-92 and since 1998 of the Centrums Demokraterne, 1982-84 Minister of Cultural Affairs, 1986-88 of Social Affairs and in 1987 for Greenland, 1993-94 1. Vice-Premier and Minister for Coordination of Business-Policy, 1994 Minister of Industry, 1994-96 2. Vice-Premier and Minister of Business and Industry. From 1989 also Chairperson of CD. Two sons born 1981 and 1989. (b. 1948-).

1993-2001 Deputy Prime Minister Marianne Bruus Jelved

In 1982-85 Deputy Mayor of Gundsø, since 1987 MP, 1987-93 Chairperson of the Parliamentary Group, Leader of Det Radikale Venstre 1990-2007, Minister of Economic Affairs since 1993, 2. Vice-Premier 1993-94, and from 1994 1. Vice-Premier and also Minister of Nordic Co-operation. (b. 1944-).

1995-2011 Commissioner of Police Hanne Bech Hansen

Deputy Chief Prosecutor of Fyn 1981-84 and Acting Prosecutor 1982-83, Deputy Commissioner of Police of Gentofte 1984-86, Commissioner by the National Commissioner of Police 1986, Leader of the Intelligence Service of the Police (Chef for PET) 1988-93, Chief Prosecutor of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg and Tårnby 1993-95, Commissioner of Police of Copenhagen (Københavns Politidirektør) 1995-2009. She lived (1939-2016).

1995-2005 Chairperson and Governor of the National Bank Bodil Nyboe Andersen

Governor in the National Bank since 1990. From 1995 also Governor in the International Monetary Fondation. A director in the Andelsbank 1981-90 and Director in Unibank and Unidanmark 1990. From 2004 Chairperson of the Board of Copenhagen University and from 2005 President of Danish Red Cross. (b. 1940-).

2000-01 Minister of Finance Pia Gjellerup

1987-2007 MF, 1990-93 Chairperson of the Taxation Committee, 1991-93 from 2001 Secretary of the Parliamentary Group, 1993 Minister of Justice and Police, 1994-98 and 2002-05 Chairperson of the Parliamentary Group of SD, 1991-93 Secretary of The Folketing, 1993-98 Deputy Chairperson of the Finance Committee and 1998-2000 Minister of Business and Industry. (b. 1960-).

2006-10 Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard

MF 1971-95 and 2001-2005, 1973 and 1975-78 Minister of Education, 1979-82 Minister of Social Affairs, 1995-99 European Union Commissioner for Environment and Atomic Security and 2000-01 Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. Chairperson 1982 and 1987-91 and 1982-87 Vice-Chairperson of the Parliamentary Group of the Social Democrats, Chairperson of the Parliamentary State Auditors 1990-94, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe 1992-94. Jytte Ritt Bjerregaard is married to the historian Søren Mørch, no children. (b. 1941-)  

2008-19 Deputy Prime Minister Lene Espersen
2010-11 Minister of Foreign Affairs

MF since 1994, Political Spokesperson of The Conservative People's 1999-2001, Minister of Justice 2001-08 and Political Leader from 2008 and also Deputy Prime Minister and and 2008-10 Minister of Economic Affairs and Business Affairs. (b. 1965-)   

2010-11 Minister of Defence Gitte Lillelund Bech

MP for the Rightwing Liberals 1999-2013 and Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committe 2006-10. Married to Thomas Egebo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Climate and Energy. (b. 1969-).

file:///D:/My Web Sites/fotos/Thorning-Schmidt_H.jpg
2011-15 Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Social Democrat Member of the European Parliament 1999-2004 and Member of the Parliament, Party Chairperson from 2005 and Chairperson of the European Council, the rotating presidency of the European Union. Became Vice-Chairperson of the Folketing in 2015. Married to Stephen Kinnock and mother of two daughters. (b. 1966-)

2011-14 Deputy Prime Minister Margrethe Vestager
Also Minister of Economic Affairs and Interior from 2011. 1993-97 Party Chairperson, Deputy Group Chairperson 2001-07 and Group Chairperson and Party Leader of the Social Liberals from 2007. Minister of Education 1998-2001 and
Minister of Church Affairs
. EU Commissioner from 2014. (b. 1968-)

2012-13 Deputy Prime Minister Annette Lilja Vilhelmsen
She is Second Deputy Premier and was Minister of Business Affairs and Growth 2012-13 and Minister of Social Affairs and Integration from 2013. 2001-11 Member of the Municipal Council and among others 2. Deputy Mayor of Kerteminde Byråd, MP from 2011. (b. 1959-).

2015- Chairperson of the Folketing Pia Kjærsgaard
MP from 1984, Group-Secretary 1984-87 and Political Spokesperson, Deputy Party-Chairperson and Party Leader of Fremskridtspartiet 1985-94, Leader of Dansk Folkeparti 1995-2012 and Vice-Chair of the Folketing 2012-15. (b. 1947-)

Last update 17.03.17