Yelena was the last in a long line of potential spouses and wives for the Tsar's heir. Before her marriage to the Tsarevich, his father had considered many women as a possible wife for his son, but had found most of them unsuitable for one reason or another. The young Ivan's first and second wives were both thrown into convents on account of their inability to have children.
In October 1581, Yelena was found to be pregnant. However, on 15 November, the Tsar became offended because she was supposedly wearing immodest clothing and he began to beat her. Hearing her screams, Yelena's husband hurried to her defense, shouting at his father, "You sent my first wife to a convent for no reason, you did the same with my second, and now you strike the third, causing the death of the son she holds in her womb." Subsequently, Yelena did indeed suffer a miscarriage.
The Tsarevich Ivan soon confronted his father on the matter, and a heated argument ensued and only ended when the Tsar struck his son on the head with his staff. The Tsarevich died of his wound on 19 November 1581, leaving Yelena a widow and, more importantly, leaving Russia without the heir who had been raised from birth to rule it.
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