Women Who Ruled: Sister Kings 2/5

Mary, King of Hungary

The Polish lords hashed out a provisional government of and by themselves until Hedwig’s return, refusing to recognize Queen Elizabeth as regent. Hedwig was produced forthwith. In 1384, Hedwig was crowned as King Jadwiga of Poland, to no protest. Mary and Jadwiga were named each other’s heirs, in case either should die without living children. 

The Hungarian nobility were not as quick to accept a female monarch. King Louis of Poland and Hungary had been unable to secure their loyalty oaths as he had done with the Polish lords, too sick to travel toward the end of his life. They favored Mary’s distant cousin Charles III of Naples, the last surviving male in her father’s family line. 

Charles had a competing claim to Kingdom of Naples against Louis I, Duke of Anjou who had invaded his territories in southern Italy. This kept him occupied in the early years of Elizabeth of Bosnia’s regency in Hungary, unable to make a direct bid for Hungary’s throne. The Prior of Varna in Croatia, John of Palisna, attempted to overthrow the queens in 1383. Instead they marched out with their troops and laid seige to Varna, forcing John of Palisna to flee. 

During the siege Queen Elizabeth sought to make a more powerful marriage alliance for teenaged Mary. She began negotiations with Charles IV, King of France to betroth Mary to his younger brother Louis, who had once been engaged to her older sister Catherine. Some important nobles supported her fiancé Sigismund instead, creating even more tensions. Factions in favor of each alliance coalesced. 

The Duke of Anjou died in the fall of 1384. This enabled Charles III of Naples to secure his territories and turn his focus toward Hungary. In early 1385 Sigismund urged the queen mother to honor his engagement and let a marriage with Mary move forward. She denied him and he left for Poland, to gather more supporters. In May 1385, King Mary was engaged to Louis of France. Elizabeth dismissed and punished known traitors. 

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