Hedwig of Andechs

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Saint Hedwig of Andechs (German: Hl. Hedwig von Andechs) or Saint Hedwig of Silesia (Polish: Święta Jadwiga Śląska, Latin: Hedvigis) (1174 – 15 October 1243) from the comital House of Andechs was Duchess of Silesia from 1201 and of Greater Poland from 1231 as well as High Duchess consort of Poland from 1232 until 1238.



The daughter of Duke Berthold IV of Merania and his second wife Agnes of Wettin[2], she was born at Andechs Castle in the Duchy of Bavaria. Her elder sister Agnes married King Philip II of France (annulled in 1200), her sister Gertrude (killed in 1213) King Andrew II of Hungary, while the youngest Matilda (Mechtild) became abbess at the Benedictine convent of Kitzingen in Franconia, where Hedwig also received her education. By her sister Gertrude, she was the aunt of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Duchess consort

At the age of twelve, Hedwig married Henry I the Bearded, son and heir of the Piast duke Bolesław I the Tall of Silesia. As soon as Henry succeeded his father in 1201, he had to struggle with his Piast relatives, at first with his uncle Duke Mieszko IV Tanglefoot who immediately seized the Upper Silesian Duchy of Opole. In 1206 Henry and his cousin Duke Władysław III Spindleshanks of Greater Poland agreed to swap the Silesian Lubusz Land against the Kalisz region, which met with fierce protest by Władysław's III nephew Władysław Odonic. When Henry went to Gąsawa in 1227 to meet his Piast cousins, he narrowly saved his life, while High Duke Leszek I the White was killed by the men of the Pomerelian Duke Swietopelk II, instigated by Władysław Odonic.

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