King Bene’s Bizarre Marriage: An Ugly Twelve-Year-Old Widow Didn’t Bring Him Happiness

Photo: João do Cró / CREATIVE COMMONS / Public domain /

Barbora Brandenburg (1464-1515) was eight years old when her parents married her, Prince Henry of Głogów. She was widowed four years later. A very wealthy widow. The wicked husband bequeathed her his entire principality, which was small in size but a lot of money. The Czech gentlemen decided that it would be a suitable game for young King Vladislav, who was to marry. The king nodded, “Ben.”

It’s hard to say how a girl who had been a mere figure in the political game of her ambitious father, the Margrave of Brandenburg, must have felt from an early age. According to her letter to her father, she does not seem to understand why the potential bride and groom are so interested in her. “I’m not pretty at all” she wrote. She didn’t realize that there was no beauty in arranging marriages in the most noble strata. Love has not even been acted out.

No one bothered to boost Barbara’s confidence in her appearance. She received an ugly sticker and had to live with it. After all, it didn’t matter, after all, she would be queen. My father has gone mad. He sent rare gifts to Vladislav and had his wedding dress sewn for his daughter in Venice. He paid for the most expensive velvet and the finest silk. The poor girl got caught up in the idea of ​​a dizzying future and started signing as “Czech Queen”.

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The wedding took place in the name of, as was the custom at the time. The marriage formally entered into force by a formal act and the corresponding signatures. Then it was up to the groom and his father-in-law to arrange for the bride to arrive at her new home. But at that precise moment, something went wrong.


Vladislav II. In the first period of his reign, Jagiellonian faced attacks from the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus, who claimed the Czech crown for himself. Vladislav was the rightful ruler because his mother was the sister of Ladislav Pohrobek and was approved by the Czech Parliament on the throne, but Matthias had the support of the Roman Emperor and Pope, who wanted to cleanse the Czech lands of Utraquist elements. And Matyáš (unlike the tolerant Vladislav) would suit them in this.

The Hungarian monarch tried to achieve his goal not only through a military campaign, but also through intrigue. He tried to weaken Vladislav as much as possible, so he went to the Silesian principalities, which included Hlohovsko inherited from Barbora. Unlike the Czechs, he seized these territories playfully and therefore essentially stole a dowry from Vladislav. Matyáš did not acknowledge Barbora’s legacy and simply declared Hlohovsko as “dead stronghold”.

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horrified bride

For the Czech king, the Brandenburg bride ceased to be an advantageous game. The pope smiled mischievously when he received a request from Prague to annul his marriage. Of course, he did not like Vladislav and let him take a good bath in a dead end.

But Barbora suffered the worst. She waited in vain for the messengers to accompany her to her husband’s residence. No one came to pick her up. She stayed home for the struggling family.

Drawing of a statue of Barbara Brandenburg at Brzeg CastleDrawing of a statue of Barbara Brandenburg at Brzeg CastleSource: Author unknown / CREATIVE COMMONS / CC BY-SA 4.0,

unhappy bigamous

Thirteen years later, in 1490, Matthias Corvinus died and Vladislav was crowned King of Hungary. The widow of the late King Beatrice did not want to accept life in solitary confinement, so she tried to take a look at Vladislav. The Czech monarch, seemingly frustrated with his old-fashioned life, was seduced and even married Beatrice. He thus became a de facto bigamist. Barbora probably didn’t care, because she fell in love with someone else. She got engaged in secret to a certain Konrad von Heydek. She also began to file for divorce from Vladislav.

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But when his brothers found out, it was bad. Barbora was imprisoned in Plassenburg Castle and kept in solitary confinement for many years. At least until 1500, when Pope Alexander VI. her marriage to the Czech king eventually annulled. There is no record of her other fates, we only know that she died at the age of 51 and was buried in Heilsbronn monastery. She never met her husband in person.

Vladislav failed to remarry in the meantime. For some reason, this all went through his head right after the wedding, and he ran away from Beatrice. For the next decade, the Vatican begged to annul not only her first marriage, but also her second. In 1500 he survived.

Anna de Foix and Candale in a painting by an unknown painter in the Saint-Wenceslas Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint-Guy, Wenceslas and AdalbertAnna de Foix and Candale in a painting by an unknown painter in the Saint-Wenceslas Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint-Guy, Wenceslas and AdalbertSource: Litoměřický mistr / CREATIVE COMMONS / Public domain /

Beatrice had to return to her native Naples and the Czech king expired freely for two years before breathing in his third marriage. Anna de Foix et Candale proves to be a success. He loved her very much, he included her gifts, and she in turn gave birth to two children: a daughter Anna and an heir of Louis. Unfortunately, she died in the second birth, which Vladislav found very difficult. He was no longer in the mood to rule, and more and more he agreed with whatever his advisers had given him. Latin “Good”Chile “Good”it even went down in history as his nickname.


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