Jadwiga of Poland

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Saint Jadwiga (1373/4 – 17 July 1399) was monarch of Poland from 1384 to her death. Her official title was 'king' rather than 'queen', reflecting that she was a sovereign in her own right and not merely a royal consort. She was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, the daughter of King Louis I of Hungary and Elizabeth of Bosnia. She is known in Polish as Jadwiga, in English and German as Hedwig, in Lithuanian as Jadvyga, in Hungarian as Hedvig, and in Latin as Hedvigis.

She is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Hedwig, where she is the patron saint of queens and a United Europe.[2]


Royal titles

Queens regnant being relatively uncommon in Europe at the time, she was officially crowned a king rather than a queen.[3]



Jadwiga was the youngest daughter of Louis I of Hungary and of Elizabeth of Bosnia. Jadwiga could claim descent from the House of Piast, the ancient native Polish dynasty on both her mother's and her father's side. Her paternal grandmother Elisabeth of Cuyavia was the daughter of King Władysław I the Elbow-high, who had reunited Poland in 1320.

Jadwiga was brought up at the royal court in Buda and Visegrád, Hungary. In 1378, she was betrothed (sponsalia de futuro) to Habsburg scion William of Austria, and spent about a year at the imperial court in Vienna, Austria. Jadwiga's father Louis had, in 1364 in Kraków, during festivities known as the Days of Kraków, also made an arrangement with his former father-in-law Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV to inter-marry their future children: Charles' son and future Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg was engaged and married, as a child, to Louis' daughter and future Queen Mary. One of Louis' original plans had been to leave the kingdom of Poland to Mary, whose marriage with Sigismund was more relevant to this end as Sigismund was an heir in his own right to Poland and was intended to inherit Brandenburg, which was nearer to Poland than to Hungary. Jadwiga's destiny as Austrian consort was a better fit for Hungary, as it was an immediate neighbor of Austria.

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