Mihailo Obrenović III, Prince of Serbia

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Prince Mihailo Obrenović
Кнез Михаило Обреновић
Prince of Serbia
Knez Mihajlo III Obrenovic.jpg
Reign July 8, 1839 – September 14, 1842 and
September 26, 1860 – June 10, 1868
Born (1823-09-16)September 16, 1823
Birthplace Kragujevac
Died June 10, 1868(1868-06-10) (aged 44)
Place of death Belgrade
Predecessor Milan Obrenović II
Miloš Obrenović I
Successor Alexander Karadjordjević
Milan Obrenović IV
Consort Júlia Hunyady de Kéthely
Royal house House of Obrenović
Father Miloš Obrenović I
Mother Ljubica Vukomanović

Mihailo Obrenović III (Serbian: Михаило Обреновић; September 16, 1823 – June 10, 1868) was Prince of Serbia from 1839 to 1842 and again from 1860 to 1868. His first reign ended when he was deposed in 1842, and his second when he was assassinated in 1868.

Early life and first reign[edit]

Mihailo was the son of Prince Miloš Obrenović (1780–1860) and his wife Ljubica Vukomanović (1788–1843, Vienna). He was born in Kragujevac, the second surviving son of the couple. His elder brother Milan Obrenović II was born in 1819 but was frequently in poor health. He is stated as being the most enlightened ruler of modern Serbia.[1] He advocated the idea of a Balkan federation against the Ottoman Empire.

Prince Mihailo speaks to the Society of Serbian Scholarship members at the first meeting on 8 June 1842.

Initially, Prince Miloš abdicated in favour of his firstborn Milan Obrenovic II, who was by then terminally ill and died after just month of rule. So Mihailo came to the throne as a minor, having been born in 1823, and acclaimed prince on June 25, 1839 upon the abdication of his father and death of his elder brother. He was declared of full age the following year. Few thrones appeared more secure, and his rule might have endured throughout his life but for his want of energy and inattention to the signs of the times.

In 1842 his reign came to a halt when he was overthrown by a rebellion led by Toma Vučić-Perišić, which enabled the Karađorđević dynasty to accede to the Serbian throne. Eleven years later, Mihailo married Countess Júlia Hunyady de Kéthely (August 26, 1831 – February 19, 1919), the daughter of Count Ferenc Hunyady de Kéthely and Countess Júlia Zichy de Zich and Vásonkeő. The marriage was childless, although he did have at least one illegitimate child by a mistress whose identity has not been ascertained.

Second reign and assassination[edit]

The statue of Prince Mihailo on Republic Square in Belgrade.
Prince Mihailo's summer residence in Aranđelovac.

Finally, Mihailo was accepted back as Prince of Serbia in September 1860, after the death of his father who had regained the throne in 1858. For the next eight years he ruled as an enlightened absolute monarch. During his second reign the People's Assembly was convened just three times, in 1861, 1864 and 1867. Prince Mihailo's greatest achievement was in persuading the Turkish garrisons to leave Serbia, in 1862 (when the Ottoman Army left the fortresses of Užice and Soko Grad) and 1867 (when the Turks left their fortifications in Belgrade, Šabac, Smederevo and Kladovo). This was done with major diplomatic support from Russia and Austria.

Mihailo wished to divorce his wife Julia in order to marry his young mistress, Katarina Konstantinović, who was the daughter of his first cousin, Princess Anka Obrenović. Both resided at the royal court at his invitation. His plans for a divorce and subsequent remarriage to Katarina met with much protest from politicians and clergy, as well as the general public. His astute and gifted Prime Minister Ilija Garašanin was dismissed from his post in 1867 for daring to voice his opposition to the divorce. However, his divorce from Julia never took place.

Grave of Mihailo Obrenović III.

While Prince Mihailo Obrenović was gradually introducing absolutism in the country, a conspiracy was formed against him. The main organizers and perpetrators of the conspiracy were the brothers Radovanović, who wanted to avenge Ljubomir Radovanović who was in prison. Kosta Radovanović, the main perpetrator of the murder, was a wealthy and respected merchant. His brother, Pavle Radovanović, was with him during the assassination attempt, and the third of the brothers was Djordje Radovanović.

On June 10, 1868, Mihailo was travelling through the park of Košutnjak in a carriage, near his country residence on the outskirts of Belgrade, with Katarina and her mother Princess Anka,[1] when they were shot by assassins. In the park appeared Pavle and Kosta Radovanović in formal black suits, and with a loaded gun pointed in the direction of the Prince's carriage. Kosta approached the carriage. Prince Mihailo Obrenović recognized him, because of a dispute over his brother Ljubomir. The last words of the Prince, which Kosta himself admitted when on trial were: "Well, it's true." Mihailo and Anka were both killed, and Katarina was wounded. The plot behind the assassination has never been clarified; the sympathizers of the Karađorđević dynasty were suspected of being behind the crime, but this has not been proven.

Anka's granddaughter Natalija Konstantinović was married in 1902 to the Montenegrin Prince Mirko Petrović-Njegoš (1879–1918), whose sister Zorka had married King Petar Karađorđević I in 1883.


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica - Michael III

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Celia Hawkesworth, Voices in the Shadows: Women and Verbal Art in Serbia and Bosnia, Google Books, 2000, retrieved June 16, 2010

External links[edit]

Mihailo Obrenović III, Prince of Serbia
Born: September 16 1823 Died: 10 June 1868
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Milan Obrenović II
Prince of Serbia
1839–1842
Succeeded by
Aleksandar Karađorđević
Preceded by
Miloš Obrenović I
Prince of Serbia
1860–1868
Succeeded by
Milan Obrenović IV