Henry II Duke of Meckelenburg

Duke Albrecht II of Mecklenburg
(Abt 1318-1379)

 

Family Links

Spouses/Children:
Euphemia Eriksdotter

Duke Albrecht II of Mecklenburg

  • Born: Abt 1318, Schwerin, Mecklenburg, Germany
  • Marriage: Euphemia Eriksdotter on 10 Apr 1336 in Rostock, Mecklenburg, Germany
  • Died: 18 Feb 1379 about age 61

  General Notes:

Albrecht II (Albert II), Duke of Mecklenburg, was a feudal lord in Northern Germany, on the shores of the Baltic Sea. He reigned as the head of the House of Mecklenburg, and since 1350's his princely seat was located in Schwerin.

Albrecht was born as the second, but finally the eldest surviving, son of Duke Henry II of Mecklenburg (c 1266-1329), lord of Stargard (Starij Gorod), of the old Vendic princely clan of the Obotrites, and his second wife Princess Anna of Saxony-Wittenberg (d 1327), of the Princely Ascanian House.

Duke Albert succeeded his father as reigning Prince (or Lord) of Mecklenburg in 1329. He was also deeply interested in obtaining some power in Scandinavia, e.g fiefs or income. The Holy Roman Emperor elevated Mecklenburg as Duchy 1 July 1347, through which (together with his younger brother) he became the 1st Duke of Mecklenburg.

April 10, 1336 he married a kinswoman, a Scandinavian heiress Euphemia of Sweden and Norway (born 1317 and died 1370). Her father was Eric of Sweden who was the Duke of Sudermannia and of Halland, and her mother was Princess Ingeborg of Norway, the heiress and the only legitimate daughter of King Haakon V of Norway. Through the marriage, Albrecht gained a position in Sweden, using his wife's hereditary estates etc. The duke participated in internal politics of Scandinavia. Later, Albert got the nickname "Fox of Mecklenburg" from Swedes, to reflect his intrigues as well as avarice.

Albert arranged his eldest son, the future Henry III of Mecklenburg, to marry the eldest daughter and potential heiress of King Waldemar IV of Denmark. Prince Henry married Ingeborg of Denmark sometime around 1362, and their infant son was soon offered as Heir to Denmark, in which pursuit the Mecklenburgs then faced the contrary interests of Waldemar's youngest daughter, Queen Margaret of Norway, the future ruler of the Kalmar Union.

His brother-in-law King Magnus was drawn into grave difficulties beginning from 1350's. Mighty nobles attempted to curb the concentration of royal power, and firstly put Magnus's own elder son Eric as rival king in Sweden. After young Eric's death, Albert's second son and namesake became nobility party's next puppet claimant.

Duke Albert was deeply involved in making his son king in Sweden, and pursued towards becoming himself the real power behind the throne. Younger Albert deposed his uncle from the Swedish throne, and ascend as King Albert of Sweden.

Already in Albert's and Eufemia's lifetime it was easy to see that her genealogical position was to become a pivotal point to many future claims to the Scandinavian thrones.

When his first wife died, Duke Albrecht married secondly, countess Adelheid of Hohenstein, daughter of count Ulrich of Hohenstein. That marriage apparently was childless.

Duke Albert had five surviving children born of the marriage with Euphemia: sons Henry, Albert and Magnus, as well as daughters Ingeborg and Anna. For his issue, see the pertinent genealogical section in Euphemia of Sweden.

Already based on his very own ancestry, Albert felt himself entitled to pursue for inheritance in Sweden: He was a descendant and the heir of two women whom legends tied to Swedish royal houses as daughters of kings.

* Albert's father's paternal great-grandmother, a Scandinavian noblewoman named Christina, who was the wife of Henry Borwin II of Mecklenburg, was claimed at least by later tradition to have been a daughter of King Sverker II of Sweden. (However, Swedish sources attest that king Sverker II had a son, John, and one daughter, Helena, who married a Swedish nobleman. No further children seem to be attested in sources close to Sweden of that time.) Christina was the mother of John I of Mecklenburg, whose son was Henry I of Mecklenburg.

* Albert's father's maternal grandmother, a Scandinavian noblewoman named Marianna, who was the first wife of Duke Barnim I of Pomerania (d 1278), lord of Wolgast, was claimed to have been a daughter of King Eric X of Sweden and his wife Richeza of Denmark. (However, sources of the time are scarce, and there is not much attestation of marriages, fates and precise names of those slighted daughters of Eric X.) Marianna had given birth to an only surviving child, daughter named Anastasia of Pomerania, who then became the wife of Henry I of Mecklenburg and mother of Henry II.

The Sverker dynasty had long been extinct, having lost the throne ultimately to Eric XI. The male dynasty of Eric X was also now extinct, and his other daughters had been sidestepped by Birger Jarl, the husband of his (possibly youngest) daughter, Ingeborg, who took care to secure the kingship to his own sons. Duke Albert helped the said legends of his foremothers' Swedish royalty to embellish and spread, and used them as pretexts for the royal aspirations.

Albrecht married Euphemia Eriksdotter, daughter of Duke Erik Magnusson of Södermanland and Ingebjørg Håkonsdatter, on 10 Apr 1336 in Rostock, Mecklenburg, Germany. (Euphemia Eriksdotter was born in 1317 and died in 1370.)



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