Elizabeth Richeza of Poland

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For other people named Elisabeth of Poland, see Elisabeth of Poland (disambiguation).
Elizabeth Richeza of Poland
Rejcka zbrasl.jpg
Queen consort of Bohemia
Tenure 1303-1305
Predecessor Judith of Habsburg
Successor Viola of Teschen
Queen consort of Poland
Tenure 1303-1305
Predecessor Margaret of Brandenburg
Successor Viola of Teschen
Queen consort of Bohemia
Duchess consort of Austria and Styria
Tenure 1306-1307
Predecessor Blanche of France (in Austria)
Viola of Teschen (in Bohemia)
Successor Elisabeth of Carinthia (in Austria)
Anna of Bohemia (in Bohemia)
Spouse Wenceslaus II of Bohemia
Rudolph III of Habsburg
Henry of Lipá (?)
Issue Agnes of Bohemia
House House of Piast
Father Przemysł II of Poland
Mother Rikissa of Sweden
Born (1288-09-01)1 September 1288
Poznań, Greater Poland
Died 19 October 1335(1335-10-19) (aged 47)
Brno, Moravia
Burial Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, Brno

Elizabeth Richeza of Poland (Czech: Eliška-Rejčka; Polish: Ryksa-Elżbieta; b. 1 September 1288 – d. 19 October 1335), was a Polish princess member of the House of Piast and by her two marriages Queen consort of Bohemia, Poland and Duchess consort of Austria and Styria.

She was the only child of Przemysł II, Duke of Greater Poland (since 1295 King of Poland) and his second wife Rikissa, herself a daughter of ex-King Valdemar of Sweden and Sofia of Denmark.


Early Years[edit]

Born in Poznań, Ryksa was the only child born from her parents' marriage. She was named after her mother, who died after her birth, although the exact date is unknown (probably between 1289-1292). During her first years of life, she was raised by her paternal aunt Anna in the Cistercian monastery in Owińska, where she was the Abbess. Was probably there when Ryksa received the news of her father's failed kidnapping and murder on 8 February 1296 in Rogoźno. The death of the Polish King completely changed the geopolitical situation in this part of Europe, and also clearly influenced the fate of the now orphaned young princess, who now was placed under the care of her stepmother Margaret of Brandenburg, member of the House of Ascania (who taken part in the conspiracy who killed Przemysł II). In the marriage ceremony of Przemysł II and Margaret (bef. 13 April 1293), Ryksa was betrothed with Otto of Brandenburg-Salzwedel (Margaret's brother),[1] so her stepmother was also her future sister-in-law. Despite Margaret had parts of Greater Poland as her Oprawa wdowia, and for unknown reasons, shortly after her husband's death she returned to Brandenburg, taking Ryksa with her. Otto's unexpected death on 11 March 1299 ended the betrothal and Ryksa returned to Greater Poland.

Engagement and marriage with Wenceslaus II[edit]

The death of Otto of Brandenburg complicated again Ryksa's situation, because as the only child of the last male member of the Piast Greater Poland line and the first King in almost two centuries, she was the perfect match for every contender to the Polish crown. For this, when King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia (a widower since 1297) received from the Greater Poland lords the offer of marriage with the princess, he didn't think too much, and even before his own coronation as King of Poland on 25 July 1300 in Gniezno, Ryksa was send to Prague.

Because of her youth, Wenceslaus II decided to delayed the wedding until Ryksa had fifteen years-old. During this time, she was placed under the care of Gryfina of Halych, widow of Leszek II the Black and aunt of the Bohemian King.

The marriage between Ryksa and Wenceslaus II took place on 26 May 1303 in Prague Cathedral. In the ceremony, Ryksa was crowned Queen consort of Bohemia and Poland, and at the request of her husband, she adopted the name Elisabeth, because her name was unused and seen as strange in Bohemia. The ceremony was performed with the consent of the Archbishops of Mainz and Gniezno and the Bishop of Wrocław, Henryk z Wierzbnej.

Two years later, on 15 June 1305, Queen Elizabeth gave birth her only child, a daughter named Agnes. Only six days later, on 21 June, King Wenceslaus II died in Prague, probably of tuberculosis. The seventeen-years-old Elizabeth, now Queen Dowager, received several lands as her dowry and 20,000 pieces of fine silver.

Short government of Wenceslaus III. Marriage with Rudolph of Habsburg[edit]

Elizabeth's stepson Wenceslaus III (also a claimant to the throne of Hungary) succeeded the thrones of both Bohemia and Poland but was murdered on 4 August 1306 in Olomouc and with him the Premyslid dynasty became extinct. The Kujavian branch of the Piast dynasty acquired the Polish throne.

With the death of her stepson, the position of Elizabeth again changed considerably, because as Queen Dowager, she was involved in the fight for the vacant Bohemian throne. Duke Rudolph III of Austria and Styria, son of King Albert I of Germany, finally could take the crown thanks to his father's help. In order to strengthen his position, was arranged his marriage with Elizabeth, both widow and stepmother of the last two Premyslid Kings. The marriage took place in Prague on 16 October 1306; however, Elizabeth's second time as Queen consort was short-lived: King Rudolph died on 4 July 1307 of dysentery after becoming ill during the siege of the fortress of a nobleman in revolt. In his will, Rudolph acknowledged Elizabeth's dowry towns and left her an additional 20,000 pieces of fine silver.

Rule over Hradec Králové[edit]

After her second husband's death, Elizabeth left Prague and settled in Hradec Králové, one of her dowry towns, which became the center of her domains. However, soon she was again involved in the civil war for the Bohemian crown, this time between Henry of Carinthia and Frederick I of Austria, Rudolph's brother. In the fight, Elizabeth strongly supported her brother-in-law; for this, she was forced to flee from her lands, then occupied by Henry. Was only in August 1308 when the Dowager Queen was able to return to Hradec Králové, who she transformed in a center of culture and art.

Relationship with Henry of Lipá. Conflicts with John of Luxembourg[edit]

In 1310 John of Luxembourg became in the new King of Bohemia, thanks to his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of King Wenceslaus II and his first wife. The rule of John faced with substantial opposition from Bohemian nobles, who decided to support Ryksa-Elizabeth. One of the main reasons for Ryksa-Elizabeth to be against to was her wounded pride: now, she was degraded on behalf of the new Queen consort, who was her own stepdaughter. The second important leader of the anti-Luxembourg faction was the powerful nobleman Jindřich of Lipá (Henry of Lipá), who was the Moravian Hetman and Governor of the Bohemian Kingdom in the absence of King.

Soon between Ryksa-Elizabeth and Henry of Lipá began a romantic relationship, who for political reasons never be ended in a marriage[2] (not only for the difference of status, but also because a marriage with the Dowager Queen would give Henry of Lipá claims to the throne). In order to weaken the position of the powerful nobility, in 1315 King John deprived Henry from of all his offices and imprisoned him. However, the position and popularity of the Dowager Queen was so strong in Bohemia that John, feared a civil war, release him in April 1316.

Alliance with Henry I of Jawor. Peace with King John of Bohemia and sale of Hradec Králové[edit]

Despite her conciliatory gestures to King John, Ryksa-Elizabeth continue her independent policy, who was clearly showed in 1317, when arranged the betrothal of her only daughter, Princess Agnes of Bohemia, with the Piast Silesian Duke Henry I of Jawor, who in order to secure her future mother-in-law's patrimony, entered with his army to Hradec Králové with her consent, and began expeditions in support of rebels against King John. However, one year later, and thanks to the mediation of Louis IV, Duke of Bavaria and German King (Henry I's brother-in-law) was signed a peace treaty in Domažlice, under which Henry of Lipá was restored in the favor of King John and regained all his previous offices. In addition, the Dowager Queen sold her dowry towns to King John and settled with her lover in Brno. Since them, the relations between the Bohemia King John and Ryksa-Elizabeth were properly, and even could be detect certain weakness in the Bohemian King, which was evidenced in the approval of grants to the Cistercian convent in Moravia after following the request of the Dowager Queen. The formal marriage between Princess Agnes and Henry I of Jawor took place in 1319; after a tragic miscarriage some time later, the couple remained childless.

Death of Henry of Lipá. Ryksa-Elizabeth became a nun. Last Years[edit]

Henry of Lipá died in Brno on 26 August 1329. After his loss, Ryksa-Elizabeth took the veil in the local convent, whom she generously endowed, and turned her attention to culture and religion, built churches and Cistercian convents, and financed the making of illustrated hymn books. Four years later, and together with her daughter Agnes, she went on a long pilgrimage to the shrines of the Rhine, which returned after a few months.

Ryksa-Elizabeth, Dowager Queen of Poland and Bohemia (and known in Bohemian literature as a Beautiful Polish girl), died on 19 October 1335 in the local Cistercian monastery of Brno, and, according to her wishes, was buried under the floor of her cloister church at the side of her beloved Henry of Lipá. In her will, she made several donations in favor of ecclesiastical institutions in both Bohemia and Poland (especially in Poznań, her birthplace).


16. Odon of Poznań
8. Władysław Odonic
17. Viacheslavna Yaroslavna of Halych
4. Przemysł I
18. Mściwój I of Gdańsk
9. Jadwiga of Pomerania
19. Zwinisława
2. Przemysł II
20. Henry I the Bearded
10. Henry II the Pious
21. Hedwig of Andechs
5. Elisabeth of Wrocław
22. Ottokar I of Bohemia
11. Anne of Bohemia
23. Constance of Hungary
1. Elizabeth Richeza of Poland
24. Magnus Minniskiöld
12. Birger jarl
25. Ingrid Ylva
6. Valdemar of Sweden
26. Eric X of Sweden
13. Ingeborg Eriksdotter of Sweden
27. Richeza of Denmark
3. Rikissa Valdemarsdotter of Sweden
28. Valdemar II of Denmark
14. Eric IV of Denmark
29. Berengária of Portugal
7. Sophia of Denmark
30. Albert I, Duke of Saxony
15. Jutta of Saxony
31. Agnes of Habsburg


  1. ^ A. Swieżawski: Przemysł. Król Polski, Warszawa 2006, p. 152.
  2. ^ Some sources believe the couple may have married in 1319. POLAND - Ryska Elzbieta (died 1335) in: Medlands Projects by Charles Crowley (retrieved 8 July 2014).
Elizabeth Richeza of Poland
Born: 1 September 1286 Died: 18 October 1335
Royal titles
Preceded by
Judith of Habsburg
Queen consort of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Viola of Teschen
Preceded by
Margaret of Brandenburg
Queen consort of Poland
Preceded by
Viola of Teschen
Queen consort of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Anne of Bohemia
Preceded by
Blanche of France
Duchess consort of Austria and Styria
Succeeded by
Elisabeth of Carinthia