Gunhilda of Denmark
Gunhilda of Denmark was the first spouse of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry III , called the Black or the Pious, was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors...



Gunhilda was a daughter of Canute the Great
Canute the Great
Cnut the Great , also known as Canute, was a king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden. Though after the death of his heirs within a decade of his own and the Norman conquest of England in 1066, his legacy was largely lost to history, historian Norman F...

 and Emma of Normandy
Emma of Normandy
Emma , was a daughter of Richard the Fearless, Duke of Normandy, by his second wife Gunnora. She was Queen consort of England twice, by successive marriages: first as second wife to Æthelred the Unready of England ; and then second wife to Cnut the Great of Denmark...

. Her maternal grandparents were Richard I of Normandy
Richard I of Normandy
Richard I of Normandy , also known as Richard the Fearless , was the Duke of Normandy from 942 to 996; he is considered the first to have held that title.-Birth:He was born to William I of Normandy, ruler of Normandy, and Sprota...

 and his second wife Gunnora, Duchess of Normandy
Gunnora, Duchess of Normandy
Gunnora was the wife and consort of Richard I of Normandy. Her parentage is unknown, earliest sources reporting solely that she was of Danish ancestry and naming siblings including brother Herfast de Crepon who is sometimes erroneously given as her father.She was living with her sister Seinfreda,...


She was a sister of Harthacanute
Harthacnut was King of Denmark from 1035 to 1042 and King of England from 1040 to 1042.He was the son of King Cnut the Great, who ruled Denmark, Norway, and England, and Emma of Normandy. When Cnut died in 1035, Harthacnut struggled to retain his father's possessions...

. She was a paternal half-sister of Svein of Norway and Harold Harefoot
Harold Harefoot
Harold Harefoot was King of England from 1037 to 1040. His cognomen "Harefoot" referred to his speed, and the skill of his huntsmanship. He was the son of Cnut the Great, king of England, Denmark, and Norway by Ælfgifu of Northampton...

. She was also a maternal half-sister of Alfred Aetheling and Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor also known as St. Edward the Confessor , son of Æthelred the Unready and Emma of Normandy, was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England and is usually regarded as the last king of the House of Wessex, ruling from 1042 to 1066....


In 1036, Gunhilda married Henry III, King of Germany
Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry III , called the Black or the Pious, was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors...

. He was the son and heir of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1027 until his death.The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty...

 and Gisela of Swabia
Gisela of Swabia
Gisela of Swabia was the daughter of Herman II of Swabia and Gerberga of Burgundy. Both her parents were descendents of Charlemagne.-Life:...

. Upon her wedding, she took the name Kunigunde. They only had one daughter, Beatrix I (1037 – 13 July 1061), Abbess of Quedlinburg
Quedlinburg Abbey
Quedlinburg Abbey was a house of secular canonesses in Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It was founded in 936 on the initiative of Saint Mathilda, the widow of Henry the Fowler, as his memorial...

 and Gandersheim Abbey
Gandersheim Abbey
Gandersheim Abbey is a former house of secular canonesses in the present town of Bad Gandersheim in Lower Saxony, Germany. It was founded in 852 by Duke Liudolf of Saxony, progenitor of the Liudolfing or Ottonian dynasty, whose rich endowments ensured its stability and prosperity.The "Imperial...


Her marriage was part of a pact between her father Canute and Conrad II over peaceful borders in the area of Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

. The agreement had occurred prior to the death of Canute in 1035. She had by the time of her marriage lived at the German court since 1025.

According to the chronicles of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines and William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury was the foremost English historian of the 12th century. C. Warren Hollister so ranks him among the most talented generation of writers of history since Bede, "a gifted historical scholar and an omnivorous reader, impressively well versed in the literature of classical,...

, Gunhilda was accused of adultery and defended in trial by combat, but after her champion's victory she disdained the success and became a nun. However, it seems that Gunhilda and her husband reconciled shortly afterwards.

In 1038, Conrad II was asked to intervene in a territorial dispute between Guaimar IV of Salerno
Guaimar IV of Salerno
Guaimar IV was Prince of Salerno , Duke of Amalfi , Duke of Gaeta , and Prince of Capua in Southern Italy over the period from 1027 to 1052. He was an important figure in the final phase of Byzantine authority in the Mezzogiorno and the commencement of Norman power...

 and Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV was the Prince of Capua on three separate occasions.From February 1016 to 1022 he ruled in association with his cousin Pandulf II. In 1018, the Byzantine catapan Boiannes destroyed the Lombard army of Melus of Bari and his Norman allies at Cannae...

. He campaigned in the Mezzogiorno
The Midday is a wide definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the southern half of the Italian state, encompassing the southern section of the continental Italian Peninsula and the two major islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to a large number of minor islands...

 in support of Guaimar. Their victory found most of the Mezzogiorno loyal to the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. Both Henry III and Gunhilda followed Conrad in his campaign.

During the return journey to Germany, an epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

 broke out among the Imperial troops. Gunhilda was among the casualties.


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