Elizabeth of Bohemia (1292–1330)

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Elizabeth of Bohemia
Eliska.jpg
Queen consort of Bohemia
Tenure 1310–1330
Coronation 7 February 1311
Born (1292-01-20)20 January 1292
Died 28 September 1330(1330-09-28) (aged 38)
Bohemia
Spouse John of Luxembourg
Issue Margaret, Duchess of Bavaria
Bonne, Duchess of Normandy
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
John Henry, Margrave of Moravia
Anna, Duchess of Austria
House Přemyslid
Father Wenceslaus II of Bohemia
Mother Judith of Habsburg

Elizabeth of Bohemia (Czech: Eliška Přemyslovna) (20 January 1292 – 28 September 1330) was a princess of the Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty who became queen consort of Bohemia as the first wife of King John the Blind (John of Luxembourg). She was the mother of King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.

Childhood[edit]

She was the daughter of Wenceslaus II of Bohemia and Judith of Habsburg. Her mother died when Elizabeth was five years old, and of her ten children only four of them lived to adulthood: Wenceslaus, Anne, Elizabeth and Margaret. Elizabeth and her siblings also had a half-sister called Agnes. Six years after the death of her mother, her father remarried, to a Polish princess called Elizabeth Richeza, from the Piast dynasty. Elizabeth's father then gained the Crown of Poland.

Many notable events occurred during Elizabeth's youth, including a devastating fire at Prague Castle in 1303, the death of her father, and the assassination of her brother Wenceslaus. Elizabeth was orphaned by the age of thirteen and lived with her sister, Anne. Her other sister, Margaret was married at the age of seven to Bolesław III the Generous, after he had come to the court of Bohemia with his mother, Elisabeth of Greater Poland.

Elizabeth went to live with her aunt Kunigunde in a nunnery near Prague Castle. Without a mother, Elizabeth was strongly influenced by her aunt. Her sister-in-law, Viola of Teschen and her stepmother, Elizabeth Richeza, came to live with Anne and Elizabeth until the relationship between the sisters deteriorated.

The fight for the throne[edit]

In 1306, after the murder of Elizabeth's brother Wenceslaus, Elizabeth's brother-in-law Henry became King of Bohemia. Elizabeth was now the only unmarried princess in the family, and at fourteen she was considered a good age to marry, and as a result played an important role in the power struggle for the Kingdom of Bohemia.

The quarrels of the Bohemian throne between Henry of Bohemia and Rudolph of Habsburg resulted in Rudolph taking Bohemia and marrying Queen Elizabeth Richeza. Elizabeth went to live in Prague Castle with her brother's widow, Viola Elisabeth of Cieszyn. However on Rudolph's death in 1307 the crown returned to her brother-in-law and sister, who wanted Elizabeth to marry the Lord of Bergova (Otto of Löbdaburg) for political reasons. Elizabeth refused to marry Otto and so Elizabeth and Anne fell out with each other.

An opposition group was formed against Henry and Anne, with Elizabeth as the figurehead.

Marriage to John of Luxembourg[edit]

Wedding of John of Luxembourg and Elizabeth in Speyer in 1310
Elisabeth (centre) with her mother-in-law Margaret (left) and daughter-in-law Anna (right)

Elizabeth married the son of Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor, John of Luxembourg. She knew Anna and Henry's weaknesses and this marriage was one of them. The wedding took place on September 1310, after John was forced to invade Bohemia. Henry and Anne fled to Carinthia where Anne died in 1313. The coronation of John and Elizabeth took place on 7 February 1311.

The marriage was initially a disaster, as Elizabeth needed to give birth to a son to prevent the inheritance of the descendants of her sisters, Margaret and Agnes, but did not have a son until six years into the marriage, when she gave birth to Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor.

The marriage improved for a while as the succession was safely secured, but after a while Elizabeth grew jealous of John, who had listened to her but whose political opinions differed to hers. In 1319 an alleged plot was uncovered, to depose John and replace him with their eldest son Charles. John had the culprits punished.

John decided to prevent his wife from interfering in the education of their children, and took the three eldest children: Margaret, Bonne, and Charles, from Elizabeth's custody. Queen Elizabeth then lived at Mělník Castle and young Charles was imprisoned by his own father, before being sent to France in 1323. He never saw his mother again.

Elisabeth fleeing Prague in disguise

Later years[edit]

In total isolation and abandoned by all, Elizabeth left Bohemia and went to live in exile in Bavaria. Her actions were considered an act of open hostility towards John and his nobles. In exile Elizabeth gave birth to her last children, twin daughters Anne and Elizabeth. John did not support Elizabeth during her exile. Elizabeth returned to Bohemia in 1325, with her daughter Anne, Elizabeth having died a few months before. When she returned she was ill, but she lived for another five years. Her final years were affected by her lack of finances, which made her unable to maintain a court.[1] She eventually died of tuberculosis in 1330, at the age of thirty-eight.[2]

Children[edit]

Elizabeth and John were parents to seven children

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Women in power, scroll down to 1307-10 Opposition Leader Eliška Přemyslova in Bohemia 1310-25 Politically Influential Queen of Bohemia (Czech Republic)
  2. ^ Ancestry in Genealogics
Elizabeth of Bohemia (1292–1330)
Born: 20 January 1292 Died: 28 September 1330
Preceded by
Anne of Bohemia
Queen consort of Bohemia
1310–1330
Succeeded by
Beatrice of Bourbon