Milena Vukotić

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Not to be confused with Milena Vukotic. ‹See Tfd›
Queen Milena of Montenegro
Queen of Montenegro.jpg
Queen consort of Montenegro
Reign 28 August 1910 – 26 November 1918
Spouse Nicholas I of Montenegro
Full name
Milena Vukotić
House Petrović-Njegoš
(by marriage)
Father Petar Vukotić
Mother Jelena Voivodić
Born (1847-05-04)4 May 1847
Čevo, Cetinje
Died 16 March 1923(1923-03-16) (aged 75)
Cap d'Antibes
Burial Cipur-chapel, Cetinje
Signature

Milena Vukotić (Serbian Cyrillic: Милена Вукотић; 4 May 1847 – 16 March 1923) was the only Queen consort of Montenegro as the wife of King Nicholas I of Montenegro (28 August 1910 – 26 November 1918).

Early life[edit]

Born in the Montenegrin village of Čevo, Milena was a daughter of Vojvoda Petar Vukotić and Jelena Vojvodić. Her father was one of the greatest landowners in Montenegro and a close friend of Vojvoda Mirko Petrović-Njegoš with whom he had fought in the wars of the 1850s.[1] The two friends decided to consolidate their alliance with the union of their children.[1] In 1853, Milena, age only six, was betrothed to Mirkos's only son, Nikola, age twelve. Nikola was the nephew and heir of the childless reigning prince of Montenegro Danilo I.[1] In 1856, after the death of her mother, Milena was sent to Cetinje, to be raised in the household of her future in laws.[1] Having grown up according to the rudimentary customs of Montenegro at that time even in prominent families, Milena was illiterate. Between 1856 and 1860 she grew up in the household of Mirko Njegoš, her soon to be father in law, raised alongside Mirko's daughter, Anastasia.[1] During those four years she became close to her new family: "My father and mother loved her as their own daughter" wrote later King Nikola. "My late uncle (Prince Danilo), also loved her greatly and treated her as his own child, and she showed him her love and respect in every way. She was very beautiful, sweet, kind, gentle and devout."[2] In those years Milena seldom saw her future husband.[3] Six years her senior, Nikola meanwhile was educated first in Trieste and later in Paris.

Marriage[edit]

The assassination of Prince Danilo on 12 August 1860 unexpectedly made Nikola the reigning prince of Montenegro at age eighteen. Shortly after, Nikola was close to death ill with pneumonia.[3] When he recovered, it was decided to arrange his marriage as soon as possible in order to provide Montenegro with an heir. Milena's father traveled to St Petersburg and informed of the marriage to Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Montenegro greatest ally and supporter.[2] On 8 November 1860, at the age of 13,[4] Milena married Prince Nicholas I of Montenegro age 19, who became King in 1910. The wedding was a simple affair and was held in the Vlach Church in Lovćen valley.[2] The marriage was political: her family had played an important role in Montenegin politics and was befriended with the House of Petrović-Njegoš, her husband's family.

Only in her early teen at the time of her marriage, Milena early years as Princess consort were difficult. She was inexperienced and was a solitary figure initially overshadow by Princess Darinka, widow of Prince Danilo, who was close to Nikola.[5] During the four first years of her marriage she did not have any children. She was tutored in the Serbian language and learned French. Milena asserted her position after Darinka left Montenegro for good. In 1865 Milena gave birth to the first of her twelve children. Between 1865 and 1869 she had four daughters in quick succession, a son an heir, Prince Danilo, was born in 1871, seven more children would follow.[5] Milena relationship with her husband solidified with time and she became respected and influential. While her husband was away in visits to Austria-Hungary and Russia in the winter of 1868–1869, Milena was in charge of court affairs.[5]

Children[edit]

The couple had twelve children : three sons and nine daughters, some of whom married European royalty.

Last years[edit]

After the annexation by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1918, the royal family was forced into exile.
Milena died in France, two years after her husband and was buried in San Remo, Italy.
In 1989 her remains, together with her husband's and Xenia's and Vera's, two of her daughters, were transferred to Cetinje and reburied in the Cipur-chapel.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Houston, Nikola & Milena, p. 86
  2. ^ a b c Houston, Nikola & Milena, p. 87
  3. ^ a b Houston, Nikola & Milena, p. 85
  4. ^ [1], Time Magazine, “Milestones”, 24 March 1923
  5. ^ a b c Houston, Nikola & Milena, p. 103

References[edit]

  • Houston, Marco, Nikola & Milena: King and Queen of the Black Mountain, Leppi publications, ISBN 0-9521644-4-2
Preceded by
Darinka Kvekić
Princess Consort of Montenegro
8 November 1860– 28 August 1910
Succeeded by
Herself as Queen consort
Preceded by
Herself as Princess consort
Queen Consort of Montenegro
28 August 1910– 26 November 1918
Succeeded by
Maria of Romania
as Queen Consort of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes