RICHEZA / RYKSA OF POLAND (pol. Ryksa Bolesławówna) (the year of birth is unknown, † after 1155), the Queen of Sweden, in the first marriage (since 1127–1129) the wife of the Danish Duke Magnus the Strong, in the second marriage (since 1135/1136) the wife of Prince Vladimir Vsevolodovich (their daughter Sophia became Queen of Denmark, the wife of King Valdemar I of Denmark), in her third marriage (since 1138), the wife of King Sverker of Sweden


Richeza's year of birth is unknown. As an assumption, researchers incline to 1116 [5, p. 212]. Richeza's first marriage with the Danish king's son Magnus the Strong was concluded around 1129/1130 and had a pronounced political character: the creation of an alliance between Poland and Denmark against the allies of Knud Lavard, who was claiming the throne. In the marriage of Richeza, a son, Knud, was born, the future co-ruler of Denmark, who shared power with Lavard's son Waldemar I and Sven III. Widowed quite quickly (during the war in Denmark that unfolded after the assassination of Knud Lavard in July 1134, Magnus died) [13, s. 269; 20, s. 210-217], Richeza and her son probably returned to Poland. In 1134/35 she remarried in Rus. The identity of Richeza's second husband is still controversial. According to one of the most common points of view, the second husband of the Polish princess was the son of Prince of Novgorod Vsevolod Mstislavich, Vladimir Vsevolodovich [1, p. 95-104; 2, p. 465; 6, p. 102-103; 8, p. 323; 11, p. 421, gen. tab. 2; 12, p. 56; 13, s. 263-266, 268-269; 17, Tabl. 27; 20, p. 211-214; 22, n. 138 p. 238]. This point of view is supported, first of all, by the political benefits of this marriage. The union of the daughter of the Polish king and the Rus prince strengthened the peace with the Monomakhovichs, already sealed shortly before by the marriage of Verkhuslava Vsevolodovna and Boleslaw the Curly, helped to balance Vladislaus's Austrian ties and to provide Poland with Rus assistance in the event of a possible conflict with Hungary or Bohemia [21, p. 316-317; 23, p. 57]. This statement can be taken as a starting point if we assume that the marriage was inspired by Boleslaw Wrymouth himself and concluded before his death in 1138 [20, s. 214]. O. Baltser indicated the period of time before the loss of Novgorod by Vsevolod as the probable date of the wedding, i.e. before 1136. J. Benyak postponed the wedding of Richeza and Vladimir to a later date - around 1138–1139, ie. already after the death of Boleslaw Wrymouth [15, s. 17-18], while recognizing Vladimir Vsevolodovich as the second husband of Richeza. In this case, however, the political meaning of the union is lost: after the death of Vsevolod, the Mstislavichs found themselves in a rather precarious position in Rus and it is difficult to determine how profitable the Polish king was with another marriage alliance with this branch of Rurikovich.

In favor of Vladimir Vsevolodovich, as the likely spouse of Richeza, according to researches, is also a unique record of the French chronicler Alberic from Trois-Fontaine about a rather close (third degree) relationship between Sophia and her husband Valdemar I [20, s. 212-213], what was possible only if Sophia's father belonged to the Mstislavich family. The early death of Vladimir Vsevolodovich, which can be concluded on the basis of the fact that this Rurikovich is mentioned in the Rus chronicles only once, also, according to the supporters of his marriage to Richeza, fits into the chronology and filiation of other marriages of the Polish princess [13, s. 257-263]. The latter observation, however, is a rather shaky argument, since the young age of Vladimir would not have allowed him to have children at the time when the daughter of Richeza from her second marriage, Sophia (about 1139–1142) was born [5, p. 750]. D. Dombrovsky also pointed out the problem of age of a different kind. The scientist noted that Piastovna had to be at least ten years older than her possible spouse, which in itself would be an exceptional (though not the only) case [ibid, p. 212]. Against the identification of Richeza's spouse with Vladimir Vsevolodovich, according to D. Dombrowski, says the fact that neither Saxon Grammar, nor Abbot Wilhelm de Paraclito, the author of an extensive genealogical work, written by order of the Danish court in connection with the divorce of King Philip Augustus of France and Ingeborg, daughter of Sophia and Valdemar I, there is no mention of the blood relationship between Sophia and Ingeborg Mstislavna, which should have taken place if Sophia was the daughter of Vladimir Vsevolodovich [ibid, p. 745-747]. The researcher has no doubt that the fact of such a relationship could not be unknown to the chroniclers and was not reflected in the sources only because there was no close relationship [ibid, p.748]. Moreover, the name of Richeza is not on the list of captive members of the family of Prince Vsevolod Mstislavich, whom the Novgorodians held for some time under arrest in 1136. From this we can conclude that Richeza was not in Novgorod during the expulsion of Vsevolod from the Novgorod throne [ibid., with. 212].

Among the opponents of the version of Richeza's second marriage with Vladimir Vsevolodovich, however, there is no unity. Some researchers name the second husband of Princess to be Vladimirka of Halych [see: 18, s. 276–277], some historians - a certain Volodar, allegedly the prince of Novgorod [16, p. 560, 19, p. 233]. The majority is inclined to the personality of the Minsk prince Vladimir (Volodar) Glebovich [7, p. 58, 613, 677, 727; 10, p. 266; 18, 282-285, 288]. T. N. Jackson is also inclined to identify the second husband of Richeza with Vladimir Glebovich [3, p. 512; 4, c. 180-181]. A.V. Nazarenko is very cautious with this hypothesis [9, p. 560].

Richeza's second marriage, in any case, did not last long: she was either widowed (if we identify her husband as Vladimir Vsevolodovich), or divorced (at the time of the conclusion of the third marriage of Princess Volodar Glebovich was still alive [6, p. 744], so some researchers suggest a divorce , the reasons for which are unknown). In the second marriage Richeza had a daughter, Sophia, the future Danish Queen. After 1140 [13, p. 261–262, 269] (according to other sources, in 1147/48) Richeza married for the third time, this time to the King of Sweden Sverker I Colsson. After the assassination of Sverker in 1155, Richeza probably returned to Poland. She died presumably in Krakow after 1155.


  • Knud V Magnussen, King of Denmark (1146-1157), co-ruler of Sven III and Valdemar I
  • Vasilko Vladimirovich (?)
  • Burislev, pretender for the Swedish throne
  • Sophia Volodarevna (of Rus) (1141-1198), Queen of Denmark, the wife of the Danish king Valdemar I


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Internet Resources 

1.      Arkhiv skandinavskikh istochnikov i kart

2.      "Gnilaia kozha'

3.      "Saga o Kniutlingakh'

4.      Sakson Grammatik. Deianiia danov. V 2 tomakh. I–XVI knigi / Per. s lat. iaz. A.S. Dosaeva. M., 2017.

5.      Pashuto V.T. Vneshniaia politika Drevnei Rusi. M., 1968.