Barbara of Celje, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia | Celje

(ca. 1394 – July 11, 1445)

Barbara was the youngest daughter of Hermann II and Anna of Schaunberg. As all other Herman's children, Barbara too had a very special place in his scheme for the rise of the Celje dynasty. However, her father probably never imagined she would go all the way to become the wife of the Sigismund of Luxembourg, the Holy Roman Emperor. Herman II of Celje most likely started to put together the pieces of the marriage puzzle soon after the defeat against the Ottomans in the Battle of Nicopolis (1396), which could have ended tragically for Sigismund had it not been for the help of the Count of Celje. Numerous tokens of gratitude (estates and honours) were followed by marriage (in 1405) between Barbara of Celje and the widowed Sigismund of Luxembourg, the King of Hungary. Thus, the Counts of Celje won an "ambassador" and promoter of their interests in the very top ranks as Barbara wholeheartedly supported her husband's graciousness towards his father-in-law and the Counts of Celje in general (for example, Herman II and Friderik II of Celje were admitted to the Order of the Dragon, and the Counts of Celje were elevated to the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire).

Coronation to the Queen of Germany in Aachen (1414) and accompanying her husband to the Council of Constance (1415) were the highlights of Barbara's marriage to Sigismund, which were soon to be followed by their break-up and their first (informal) divorce in 1419. She and her daughter Elizabeta (born ca. 1408) spent some time far away from the royal court and her husband – initially near Oradea, Romania, and later in Malič, Slovakia. Barbara was wise enough to ask her husband for forgiveness and at least seemingly normalize their relationship. In the 1420s, Barbara was strongly devoted to the stately affairs entrusted to her. The Emperor had bestowed upon her vast manors in Bohemia and Moravia, and she was in charge of their defence against the Hussites. After the Hussite Wars, the couple temporarily reconciled and in 1437, Barbara was crowned Queen of Bohemia.

In 1422 Sigismund had given away their daughter Elizabeta to marry Albrecht V of Austria who supported him in the Hussite Wars. By marrying Sigismund's daughter, Albrecht also became the successor to the Holy Roman throne.

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