Women Who Ruled: Sister Kings 4/5

Wladyslaw-Jogaila, King of Poland

​Despite their age difference and lack of a common language, the two seemed to have a mostly amicable marriage and diarchy. They split their duties so that Wladyslaw-Jogaila led troops into battle and handled most matters of state, while Jadwiga was deft at negotiations and oversaw a variety of improvement projects. She built hospitals and funded a scholarship to send Polish students to university in Prague. 

In Hungary, following the assassination of Charles III, King of Naples, Mary was briefly restored to her throne, under her mother’s rule. However the two women were captured by men loyal to Charles in July of 1386. Elizabeth took all blame for the assassination, begging them to spare her daughter. They were locked away. Elizabeth of Bosnia was strangled to death in Mary’s presence during their imprisonment. Mary would not be freed until June of 1837. 

At that time she was technically co-ruler with her husband Sigismund, been crowned king during her long absence, Mary exerted very little political power. While her royal seal was needed to confirm Sigismund’s early edicts, the nobles of Hungary quickly deferred to her husband. The one demand Mary made was for the execution of the man responsible for her mother’s death, upon his capture iin 1839. 

In 1392, King Sigismund of Hungary began negotiations with the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights to partition Poland. The Teutonic Knights were a religious military order of monastic nobles, fighting for Catholic allies and bequeathing lands they conquered to the Holy See. Jadwiga could not rely on the Vatican’s assistance. Fortunately for Poland, Ottoman invaders at Hungary’s southern borders kept Sigismund far too busy to put his plans into action. 

In 1395 Mary was out hunting alone and pregnant when her horse tripped, threw her, and landed on top of her. The 23 or 24 year old queen went into traumatic and early labor, delivering a premature son alone in the woods. Both died. Because the babe did not survive, the question of Hungary’s rightful ruler was again asked. Jadwiga was Mary’s heir, but not eager for war with her father’s former subjects. 

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