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Swedish king exhumed to solve grave mystery

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 12 Apr 2011, 15:18

Published: 12 Apr 2011 15:18 GMT+02:00

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Magnus Ladulås is buried in Riddarholmen Church in central Stockholm and the identity of those accompanying him have long been a source of speculation, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter daily.

"We know that his wife, a grandchild and a daughter are in there. We will now find out who the others are," project-leader Maria Vretemark told the newspaper.

Work will continue over the coming three weeks to exhume the remains of the seven skeletons known to be in the grave and to perform DNA testing.

The remains will then be compared with tests taken from the grave of Magnus Ladulås' father Birger Jarl who researchers believe is buried in Varnhem Abbey in western Sweden.

DNA tests carried out after opening the grave in 2002 enabled researchers to conclude with 65 percent certainty that the grave contained Birger Jarl and his son Erik, as well as a woman, thought to be the former king's second wife Mechtild.

Magnus Ladulås' grave has been opened on a previous occasion, in 1915, when it was concluded that his skeleton showed signs of sickness. It is hoped that modern techniques will be able to establish the exact cause of death.

Permission was granted to open Magnus Ladulås' grave in 2010. The application was submitted in connection with the planning of the 800 year celebrations for Birger Jarl in 2010.

When researchers opened his grave in 2002 they were able to conclude that Jarl was in fact around ten years younger, having been born in 1210 and not in 1200 as was previously thought.

Birger Jarl played a pivotal role in the consolidation of Sweden and he led the Second Swedish Crusade which established control of Finland. He is traditionaly attributed to have founded the Swedish capital, Stockholm, around 1250.

Story continues below…

Magnus Ladulås (Birgersson) was born in 1240 and reigned from 1275-90, succeeding his brother Valdemar, who he ousted from the throne with the help of the Danes.

Commonly known as Magnus III outside of Sweden, Magnus Ladulås is best remembered for laying the foundations of the Swedish nobility with the Ordinance of Alsnö in 1280.

The ordinance also confirmed the principle of "oath laws", created by Birger Jarl, and which forbade, among other things, the kidnapping of women for wives.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:55 April 12, 2011 by Swedesmith
Anyone up for a little beef jerky?
16:13 April 12, 2011 by Tanskalainen
We can't kidnap wives now?............Oh, oh...
16:17 April 12, 2011 by IntricateMind
Only if its teriyaki flavored =)
16:17 April 12, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
Could it turn out to be Lord Lucan?... just a thought - bit of a time gap between the1290s and 1970s, but you never know...
18:05 April 12, 2011 by Tanskalainen
When are they going to unearth the currant king?
19:20 April 12, 2011 by eppie
Don't you mean the blackcurrant king?
20:58 April 12, 2011 by GLO
Somewhere things got screwed up, we cant take women, guys dress like girls, we let women vote. What a mess!!!!!
23:17 April 12, 2011 by wxman
"We know that his wife, a grandchild and a daughter are in there. We will now find out who the others are." Maybe it's none of your effin' business who he's buried with, ever think of that?
23:56 April 12, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@eppie Excuse me, I meant the CURRENT king. English is such a phucked up language. Anyway, you know who I mean, that guy who is Madeleine's father.
00:09 April 13, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
Wow that's a little creepy.
00:59 April 13, 2011 by wenddiver
Maybe his favorite bar tender,his bookie, his Fixer and a Secretary with Red hair and great legs make up the rest.
01:21 April 13, 2011 by Swedesmith
I thought you meant currant king suz he's a little fruity...
07:00 April 13, 2011 by Da Goat
Haven't they got better things to do to fill in the long winter !

I think the currant (sic) king is too plain to be Madeleine's father!

yeah anyone finding spare wives (still functional) send them my way!
10:39 April 13, 2011 by uunbeliever
They are royalty, won't any DNA tests show that they are all related anyway?
11:14 April 13, 2011 by johnny1939
Do we really care? What a waste of money that could be used to improve the railroads!!!
14:41 April 13, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Seeing those feet sticking out the bottom evokes feelings of the humanity associated with this.
19:20 April 13, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@Marc the Texan For heaven's sake Marc, those feet are on the stone carving on the tomb lid!
07:29 April 15, 2011 by Marc the Texan

oops! so you're right. Got a real laugh out of your comment. Blush.
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