Elizabeth of Luxemburg (1409–1442)

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Elizabeth of Luxemburg (1409–1442)

Queen of Hungary and duchess of Austria. Name variations: Elizabeth of Bohemia; Elizabeth of Luxembourg. Born on November 27, 1409, in Luxemburg; died on December 19 or 25, 1442, in Ofen (Buda), Hungary; daughter of Sigismund I of Luxemburg (d. 1368), king of Hungary and Poland, also Holy Roman emperor, and Barbara of Cilli; married Albert V (1404–1439), duke of Austria (r. 1404–1439), king of Germany (r. 1404–1439), Hungary (r. 1437), and Bohemia (r. 1438), also Holy Roman emperor as Albert II (r. 1438–1439), on November 28, 1421; children: Anne of Austria (1432–1462, who married William III of Saxony); Elizabeth of Hungary (c. 1430–1505, who married Casimir IV, king of Poland); Ladislas, later Ladislas V Posthumus, king of Hungary (r. 1444–1457), king of Bohemia (r. 1452).

Elizabeth of Luxemburg was the daughter and heiress of Barbara of Cilli and Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund I, who was also king of Hungary, Germany, and Bohemia. She married Duke Albert V Habsburg of Austria in 1421. Through her, Albert was elected Holy Roman emperor (as Albert II) and king of Hungary upon Sigismund's death in 1437. Although the couple claimed many titles and regions as their own, Elizabeth is most remembered for her career as queen of Hungary. Albert, who showed remarkable leadership ability and promised to be an able ruler, died in battle only two years after becoming emperor. Soon after, Elizabeth gave birth to a son, but not until King Ladislas III of Poland was chosen as Albert's successor. The birth of Albert's son, also called Ladislas, jeopardized the Polish king's claim, and many Hungarians switched their allegiance from the Polish foreigner to the infant boy.

With the help of her lady-in-waiting Helene Kottanner , Elizabeth managed to have her son crowned king in an effort to secure the throne. She also had several powerful foreign allies in her quest as well as the support of the Hungarian people. However, Ladislas III commanded a large armed force, and he was as determined to remain king of Hungary as Elizabeth was to depose him. Elizabeth died in 1442 with the outcome of the war very much undecided and left her son in the care of her cousin Frederick V of Styria, later Emperor Frederick II. The two forces continued to fight in a stalemate for some years, until Ladislas III of Poland's death in 1452 allowed Elizabeth's son, now 12 years old, to succeed to the Hungarian throne as Ladislas V.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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