Portrait of Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark (1656-1693), Queen consort of Sweden (1680-1693)
Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark (11 September 1656 – 26 July 1693) was the Queen consort of Sweden as the spouse of King Charles XI of Sweden. The name Ulrike is a Danish version of the name; in Swedish she is called Ulrika Eleonora den äldre (English: Ulrica Eleanor the Elder), to distinguish her from her daughter, the future queen regnant. Ulrika was the daughter of King Frederick III of Denmark and his spouse Queen Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg. She was given a strict upbringing under the supervision of her mother. In 1675 she was betrothed to King Charles XI of Sweden. The purpose of the match, from the Swedish viewpoint, was to prevent Denmark from forming an alliance with the enemies of Sweden. Her brother, the King of Denmark, was not enthusiastic about the match, but he left the decision to her mother, who was very eager to complete it because it would give Ulrika the status of queen. The engagement was announced 13 July 1675. During the Scanian War between Denmark and Sweden in 1675–1679 she was encouraged to break the engagement. During the war, she gained a reputation for loyalty to her future home country by exhibiting kindness to Swedish prisoners: she pawned her jewelry, even her engagement ring, to buy food, sheets and medicine for the Swedish prisoners of war. She also refused to participate in the celebrations arranged in honor of Danish victories over Sweden. During the peace negotiations between Sweden and Denmark in 1679, the marriage between her and Charles XI was on the agenda, and ratified on 26 September 1679. The marriage contract was signed 6 February 1680. Ulrika Eleonora arrived in Helsingborg in Sweden 4 May 1680, where she was welcomed by canon salutation and the Queen Dowager, the Swedish court and the local aristocracy. The 25 November 1680, she was crowned Queen at Storkyrkan in Stockholm. Ulrika Eleonora was described as religious, patient, mild and charitable, moderately beautiful and with a simple dignity. She was received with enthusiasm among the public, because she was seen as a hope and a symbol of lasting peace. Her popularity was increased by her personal merits.
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