Knud Eriksson Lavard
- Born: 12 Mar 1096, Roskilde, Sjælland, Denmark
- Marriage: Ingeborg Mstislavsdatter about 1120
- Died: 7 Jan 1131, Haraldsted Skog, near Ringsted, Denmark at age 34
- Buried: St Benedict's Church, Ringsted, Denmark
Canute Lavard (i. e. Canute "the Lord", Danish: Knud Lavard), Danish prince and Duke of South Jutland.
Canute was the only legitimate son of Eric I of Denmark and as a minor he was bypassed in the election of 1104. He grew up in close contact with the Zealander magnate Hvide family who were later on among his eager supporters. In 1115 his uncle, King Niels of Denmark, made him Earl of South Jutland in order to end the attacks of the Slavic Obodrits. During the next 15 years, he fulfilled his duty so well establishing peace in the border area. He was elected king of the Obodrits and became an imperial German vassal.
He seems to have been the first member of the Danish royal family who was attracted by the German medieval knight ideals and habits, indicated by his changing his title to "duke." His appearance made him a popular man and a possible successor of his uncle but he also acquired mighty enemies among the Danish princes and magnates who apparently questioned his loyalty and feared his bond with the Emperor. Whether these suspicions were just or not is impossible to say.
His rival, Niels's son Magnus, seems to have hated and feared him. On January 7, 1131, Magnus trapped Canute in the forest of Haraldsted in Ringsted in Sjælland, where had him murdered. The murder provoked a civil war that intermittently lasted until 1157, ending with the triumph of Canute's posthumous son Valdemar I. The fate of Canute and his son's victory was the perfect background for making him a saint which happened in 1170.
Canute Lavard is the ancestor of both the "Valdemarian" kings and of the later royal line. Besides he is the first Duke of South Jutland (Schleswig) and the first border prince who was both a Danish and a German vassal, a position leafing towards the historical double position of South Jutland.
Canute Lavard was married to Ingeborg, daughter of Mstislav of Kiev. They had 4 children:
1. King Valdemar I of Denmark
2. Margareta, m. Stig Hvitaledr
3. Christina (b. 1118); m. 1133 King Magnus IV of Norway
4. Katharina, m.ca 1159 Prislaw, Duke of Mecklenburg
Knud married Ingeborg Mstislavsdatter, daughter of Mstislav I of Novgorod Vladimirovich Grand Prince of Kiev and Kristina Ingesdatter, about 1120. (Ingeborg Mstislavsdatter was born about 1100 in Novgorod, Kievan Rus'.)