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Elizabeth of Hungary, Queen of Serbia

Queen of Serbia
The basics
Date of birth
Date of death 1313
Mother: Elizabeth the Cuman
Brother(s): Ladislaus IV of Hungary
Children: Stephen Constantine of Serbia
Sister(s): Anna of Hungary Mary of Hungary Queen of Naples Catherine of Hungary Queen of Serbia
Spouse: Zavis of Falkenstein
Father: Stephen V of Hungary
The details

Elizabeth of Hungary the widow (Hungarian: Erzsébet, Serbian: Јелисавета; c. 1255–1313) was one of younger children of King Stephen V of Hungary and his wife Elizabeth the Cuman. She was a member of the House of Arpad and later became Queen consort of Serbia by her marriage to Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia.


Elizabeth was a younger one of six children, being born sometime in the 1260s. Elizabeth's mother had come from the Cumans, who followed the Shamanist religion, and was converted to Christianity in childhood. Although her parents took baptism in 1250s, they were considered Pagans by some contemporary Christians of Europe. She had been obliged to convert to the Roman Catholic faith to marry Elizabeth's father, Stephen.


First marriage

Elizabeth married 4 May 1288 to Záviš, Lord of Falkenstejn. Elizabeth was an attractive bride, being an older daughter of the King of Hungary. Elizabeth's brother, Ladislaus IV of Hungary agreed to the marriage. Záviš was quite wealthy; his previous wife had been Kunigunda of Slavonia, Dowager Queen of Bohemia who died and left him an inheritance. Záviš also acted as regent for his stepson, Wenceslaus II of Bohemia.

After the wedding, the couple retired to Svojanov. In December 1288, Elizabeth gave birth to a son, although nothing further is mentioned of the child. Záviš was still however only interested in his step-son, Wenceslaus.

Many people at the Prague court hated Záviš, including Wenceslaus' wife, Judith of Habsburg. Eventually, Záviš was captured and imprisoned. During this time, Elizabeth left the family home with her son and went to stay at the court of her sister, Maria and her brother-in-law, Charles II of Naples. Záviš was executed 24 August 1290.

Second marriage

Soon after the death of her husband, Elisabeth became a nun but she escaped.

Elizabeth travelled to Serbia to visit her sister Catherine. Elizabeth was seduced there by Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia (Catherine's brother-in-law). Stefan Uroš divorced his first wife, Helena Doukaina Angelina, and married Elizabeth, though he bypassed church rules in order to marry her. They could not marry because Elizabeth's sister Catherine was married to Stefan Uroš' brother, Stephen Dragutin of Serbia. By the rules of the Serbian Orthodox Church Stefan Uroš and Elizabeth were unable to marry because there was a union between their siblings - while the Roman Catholic Church had (under Pope Innocentius III) specifically decreed that affinity does not produce further affinity and thus, marriages of siblings were immaterial to canonical obstacles.

Elizabeth and Stefan Uroš had one son: Stephen Constantine (ca. 1282–1322), rival king of Serbia from 1321 to 1322. Some also believe that Elizabeth was the mother of Anna Neda, one of Stefan Uroš' daughters.

The marriage did not last long; and as a result of increasing pressure from the Church, Stefan Uroš was forced to dissolve his marriage to Elizabeth, who was then sent back to her native country of Hungary, while Stefan Uroš married Anna Terter of Bulgaria. Elizabeth died in 1313.


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