Royal Mausoleum: Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde is an inlet port town in Denmark. It was established as a Viking settlement during the 10th century. Denmark, after the Viking era, became a Christian nation. Roskilde became the capital with the Cathedral as its symbol. Four buildings are attached to the main cathedral building. Construction began in the 12th century and took 200 years to complete. The chapel houses the sarcophaguses of successive rulers. Roskilde Cathedral is the Royal mausoleum of Denmark. 39 Kings and Queens dating back to the 15th century lie here. There is a huge altarpiece in the centre of the cathedral. Behind it, lies the very first coffin to be placed here. It is a sarcophagus of Margaret the First who never actually sat on the throne but who is referred to as a Queen of Denmark to this day.

At the end of the 14th century, she encouraged Denmark to form an alliance with Norway and Sweden to compete against the Hanseatic League which was extending its power from the south at that time. King Erik – Margaret the Firsts grand-nephew – had to reign over the three kingdoms at the age of 15. He came up with an idea to use the remains of Margaret I enshrined in a church in Sorø (Soro). She had requested to be laid to rest in the same church in Soro as her father and her son who had died young. However, King Erik ordered her remains to be moved. With others vying to be King, he placed Margaret Is coffin here to make it clear that – as her heir – he was monarch. Her body was transferred to Roskilde Cathedral and a stately funeral was held. Her wish to rest in peace with her family was not respected. However, the funeral marked the beginning of a Royal Mausoleum, which has continued for over 600 years.

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