Elena of Montenegro

Princess Elena of Montenegro, or more commonly known as Queen Elena of Italy (Serbo-Croatian: Jelena Petrović Njegoš; 8 January 1871 – 28 November 1952) was the daughter of King Nicholas I of Montenegro and his wife, Milena Vukotić. As wife of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, she was Queen of Italy from 1900 until 1946 and Queen consort of the Albanians from 1939 until 1943.

Elena of Montenegro
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-00061, Elena von Montenegro
Elena in 1900
Queen consort of Italy
Tenure29 July 1900 – 9 May 1946
Empress consort of Ethiopia
Tenure9 May 1936 – 5 May 1941
Queen consort of the Albanians
Tenure16 April 1939 – 8 September 1943
Born8 January 1871
Cetinje, Montenegro
Died28 November 1952 (aged 81)
Montpellier, France
SpouseVictor Emmanuel III of Italy
Full name
Jelena Petrović-Njegoš
FatherNicholas I of Montenegro
MotherMilena Vukotić
ReligionRoman Catholic
prev. Eastern Orthodox
Elena of Montenegro's signature
Styles of
Queen Elena
CoA Helena of Montenegro queen of Italy
Reference styleHer Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty


Early life

Brogi, Carlo (1850-1925) - Vittorio Emanuele III di Savoia
King Victor Emmanuel III 1895

She was born in Cetinje as daughter of Montenegrin Prince and future King Nicholas I and his wife Milena. At the age of 10, she went to the Institute for young ladies in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She was talented at painting and architecture, and she designed the monument for Prince Danilo I.


As the result of Elena's marriage to King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy on 24 October 1896, she converted to Catholicism from Orthodoxy and became Queen of Italy when her husband acceded to the throne in 1900. Her mother was so distressed with the fact that Elena had changed her religion that she refused to come to the wedding ceremony in Rome.

Due to the Fascist conquest of Ethiopia in 1936 and Albania in 1939, Queen Elena briefly used the claimed titles of Empress of Ethiopia and Queen of Albania; both titles were dropped when her husband formally renounced them in 1943.

She influenced her husband to lobby Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister of Italy, for creation of the independent Kingdom of Montenegro in 1941. In 1943 she subsequently obtained the release from a German prison of her nephew, Prince Michael of Montenegro, and his wife, Geneviève. Prince Michael had been imprisoned after refusing to become King of Montenegro under the protection of Italy.

The Queen and the wars

Queen Elena of Italy in nurse's uniform, 1914-1918
Elena in nurse's uniform, 1914-1918

On 29 July 1900, following his father's assassination, Victor Emmanuel ascended the Italian throne. Officially, Elena assumed her husband's whole titles: she became Queen of Italy, and with the birth of the Italian Colonial Empire she became Queen of Albania and Empress of Ethiopia.

On 28 December 1908 Messina was hit by a disastrous earthquake. Queen Elena helped with the rescuers, as some photographs show. This helped to increase her popularity within the country. During the First World War Elena worked as a nurse and, with the help of the Queen Mother, she turned Quirinal Palace and Villa Margherita into hospitals. To raise funds, she invented the "signed photograph", which was sold at the charity desks. At the end of the war, she proposed to sell the crown treasures in order to pay the war debts.

Elena was the first Inspector of the Voluntary Nurses for the Italian Red Cross from 1911 until 1921. She studied medicine and was able to obtain a laurea honoris causa. She financed charitable institutions for people with encephalitis, tuberculosis, former soldiers and poor mothers.

She was deeply involved in her fight against disease, and she promoted many efforts for the training of doctors, and for research against poliomyelitis, Parkinson's disease and cancer.

On 15 April 1937 Pope Pius XII gave her the Golden Rose of Christianity, the most important honour for a Catholic lady at the time. Pope Pius XII, in a condolence telegram sent to her son Umberto II for the queen's death, defined her a "Lady of charitable work".

In 1939, three months after the German invasion of Poland and the declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France, Elena wrote a letter to the six European queens still neutral (Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Queen Ioanna of Bulgaria and Queen Mother Maria of Yugoslavia) in order to avoid the great tragedy World War II would become.

On 25 July 1943 Victor Emmanuel III had Benito Mussolini arrested. The king left Rome on 9 September to flee to Brindisi with the help of the Allies and Elena followed her husband in his escape. In contrast, on 23 September their daughter Mafalda was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, where she died in 1944.

Exile and death

Following the war, on 9 May 1946, Victor Emmanuel III abdicated in favour of their son Umberto, and the former king assumed the title of Count of Pollenzo. On 2 June 1946 a referendum resulted in 52 percent of voters favouring an Italian republic over the monarchy. The republic was formally proclaimed four days later, and the House of Savoy's reign over Italy formally ended on 12 June 1946. Elena and Victor Emmanuel III went to Egypt, where they were welcomed with great honor by King Faruk, but forced to live the rest of their lives in exile. Vittorio Emmanuel III died a year later of pulmonary congestion in Alexandria. Elena stayed in Egypt a short time before moving to France. There, in Montpellier, she was diagnosed with a severe form of cancer, and died while having surgery to treat it.[1]

65 years after her death, on 15 December 2017, the remains of Elena were repatriated from Montpellier, to the sanctuary of Vicoforte, near Turin. The remains of Victor Emmanuel III were transferred two days later from Alexandria, and interred alongside hers.[2]


King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Queen Elena had 5 children:

  1. Princess Yolanda Margherita Milena Elisabetta Romana Maria of Savoy (1900–1986), married to Giorgio Carlo Calvi, Count of Bergolo, (1888–1978), with issue;
  2. Princess Mafalda Maria Elisabetta Anna Romana of Savoy (1902–1944), married to Prince Philipp of Hesse (1896–1980) with issue;
  3. Prince Umberto Nicola Tommaso Giovanni Maria of Savoy, Prince of Piedmont, later Umberto II, King of Italy (1904–1983) married Princess Marie José of Belgium (1906-2001), with issue.
  4. Princess Giovanna Elisabetta Antonia Romana Maria of Savoy (1907–1999), married to Boris III, King of Bulgaria (1894-1943), with issue;
  5. Princess Maria Francesca Anna Romana of Savoy (1914–2001), who married Prince Luigi of Bourbon-Parma (1899–1967), with issue.
Princess Yolanda of Italy

Princess Yolanda

Princess Mafalda of Italy

Princess Mafalda

King Umberto II of Italy as a child

Umberto II of Italy as a child

Princess Giovanna of Savoy

Princess Giovanna

María Francisca de Saboya

Princess María Francisca de Saboya 17 July 1917

Arms and monogram

CoA Helena of Montenegro queen of Italy

Alliance Coat of Arms of King Victor Emanuel III and Queen Helena

Royal Monogram of Queen Elena of Italy

Royal Monogram of Queen Helena of Italy.

Royal Monogram of Queen Elena of Italy, Variant

Royal Monogram of Queen Helena of Italy.





8. Stanko Petrović-Njegoš
4. Mirko Petrović-Njegoš
9. Krstinja Vrbica
2. Nicholas I of Montenegro
10. Drago Martinović
5. Anastasija Martinović
11. Stana Martinović
1. Elena of Montenegro
12. Petar Perkov Vukotić
6. Petar Vukotić
13. Stanja Milić
3. Milena Vukotić
14. Tadija Vojvodić
7. Jelena Vojvodić
15. Milica Pavićević


  1. ^ Paolo Griseri. "Il fascismo, le leggi razziali, la fuga". La Repubblica. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  2. ^ Nicole Winfield. "Remains of Exiled Italian King to be Returned after 70 years". ABC News. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "SAVOIA". Genmarenostrum.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  4. ^ "König Vittorio Emanuele III. und Königin Elena von Italien, King and Queen of Italy". Flickr.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Official Visit Of The House Of Savoy To Pius Xi Pictures". Getty Images. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Imgc.allpostersimages.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Numismaticatrionfale.com. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Mussolini In Spotlight Over Affair Claims Pictures". Getty Images. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  9. ^ "The Glittering Casa Savoia, a selection of Italian royal pictures (4)". Angelfire.com. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  10. ^ "The Glittering Casa Savoia, a selection of Italian royal pictures (6)". Angelfire.com. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "The Royals Of Italy After A Reception On Campidoglio Pictures". Getty Images. Retrieved 25 October 2017.

External links

Media related to Elena of Montenegro at Wikimedia Commons

Elena of Montenegro
Born: 8 January 1873 Died: 28 November 1952
Italian royalty
Preceded by
Margherita of Savoy
Queen consort of Italy
29 July 1900 – 9 May 1946
Succeeded by
Marie-José of Belgium
Ethiopian royalty
Preceded by
Menen Asfaw
Empress consort of Ethiopia
(Not internationally recognised)
9 May 1936 – 5 May 1941
Succeeded by
Menen Asfaw
Albanian royalty
Preceded by
Géraldine Apponyi de Nagyappony
Queen consort of Albania
16 April 1939 – 8 September 1943
Title Abolished
Amaro Montenegro

Amaro Montenegro is a traditional amaro distilled in Bologna, Italy. It is made from a secret blend of 40 botanicals, including vanilla and orange peels. The amaro was first produced by Stanislao Cobianchi in 1885 and is named after Princess Elena of Montenegro.Stanislao traveled from continent to continent collecting 40 rinds, woods, seeds, rhizomes, flowers, fruits, citrus peels, roots, stems and leaves.

Annabella of Scotland

Annabella Stewart (c. 1436 – 1509) was the youngest daughter of King James I and Joan Beaufort.

Anne Christine of Sulzbach, Princess of Piedmont

Anne Christine of Sulzbach, Princess of Piedmont (Anne Christine Louise; 5 February 1704 – 12 March 1723), also called Christine of the Palatinate, was a princess of the Bavarian Circle of the Holy Roman Empire and first wife of Charles Emmanuel of Savoy, Prince of Piedmont, heir to the throne of the kingdom of Sardinia. She died during childbirth at the age of 19.

Boris, Prince of Turnovo

Prince Boris of Bulgaria, Duke of Saxony, Prince of Turnovo (born 12 October 1997 in Madrid), is the elder son of Kardam, Prince of Turnovo, and the grandson of former Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria.He is, after the death of his father on 7 April 2015, first in line of succession to the defunct Bulgarian throne.Boris, who has maintained close relations with the Spanish royal family since his father's death, speaks Spanish, English, French and some Bulgarian. He is an artist, devoted to sculpture, plays the guitar and was educated at the Lycée Français Molière in Villanueva de la Cañada in the vicinity of Madrid. He chose to complete his baccalaureate studies in Austria.

Christine of France

Christine Marie of France (10 February 1606 – 27 December 1663) was the sister of Louis XIII and the Duchess of Savoy by marriage. At the death of her husband Victor Amadeus I in 1637, she acted as regent of Savoy between 1637 and 1648.

First Lady of Albania

The First Lady of Albania (Albanian: Zonja e Parë) is the unofficial title of the spouse of the sitting President of Albania.

Giovanna of Italy

Giovanna of Italy (Bulgarian: Йоанна Савойска, Italian: Giovanna Elisabetta Antonia Romana Maria) (13 November 1907 – 26 February 1999) was the Tsaritsa of Bulgaria.

Margaret of Bourbon (1438–1483)

Margaret of Bourbon (5 February 1438 – 24 April 1483) was the daughter of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon (1401–1456) and Agnes of Burgundy (1407–1476).

On 6 April 1472, she became the first wife of Philip II, Duke of Savoy (1443–1497). Her children from this marriage were:

Louise (1476–1531), married Charles d'Orléans, Count of Angoulême, had children including:

Francis I of France whose daughter Margaret of Valois married to Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy.

Marguerite of Navarre (1492–1549); Queen consort of King Henry II of Navarre

Girolamo (1478)

Philibert II (1480–1504)She died on 24 April 1483 at the Chateau de Pont d'Ain.

Margherita of Savoy

Margherita of Savoy (Margherita Maria Teresa Giovanna; 20 November 1851 – 4 January 1926) was the Queen consort of the Kingdom of Italy by marriage to Umberto I.

Marie José of Belgium

Marie José of Belgium (Marie-José Charlotte Sophie Amélie Henriette Gabrielle; 4 August 1906 – 27 January 2001) was the last Queen of Italy. Her 35-day tenure as queen consort earned her the nickname "the May Queen".

Order of Petrović Njegoš

The Order of Petrović Njegoš (Montenegrin: Орден Петровић Његош, Orden Petrović Njegoš) was founded by King Nikola I of Montenegro in 1896 to commemorate the 200 years of rule of the Royal House of Petrović-Njegoš.

In the same year of the foundation of the Order and Dynastic celebration, King Nicholas's fifth daughter, Princess Elena of Montenegro, married Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy, the heir to the Italian Throne.

The Order is given to members of the Dynasty and kinsmen exclusively. The Order was not bestowed in 1996 while Montenegro remained a non-sovereign state.

In 2008, celebrating the passage of 300 years since the first Petrović Njegoš rulers ascent, Nicholas, Crown Prince of Montenegro, bestowed the Order in recognition of this landmark.

The upper arm of the cross bears the Cyrillic initial "D" that stands for Danilo I - the first Petrović Njegoš Hereditary Bishop - and the lower one "N" for Nicholas I. The remaining two arms of the cross indicate the date of the first rule by the dynasty and of the foundation of the Order.

The Order of Petrović Njegoš is a House Order of the Royal House of Montenegro.

The Order consists of a single class.

Polyxena of Hesse-Rotenburg

Princess Polyxena of Hesse-Rheinfels-Rotenburg (Polyxena Christina Johanna; 21 September 1706 – 13 January 1735) was the second wife of Charles Emmanuel, Prince of Piedmont whom she married in 1724. The mother of the future Victor Amadeus III, she was queen consort of Sardinia from 1730 until her death in 1735.

Princess Mafalda of Savoy

Princess Mafalda of Savoy (2 November 1902 – 27 August 1944) was the second daughter of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and his wife Elena of Montenegro. The future King Umberto II of Italy was her younger brother.

Princess Maria Christina of Saxony (1770–1851)

Maria Christina of Saxony (Maria Christina Albertina Carolina; 7 December 1770 – 24 November 1851) was a Princess of Saxony. She was the Princess of Carignano and later Princess of Montléart by marriage.

Princess Maria Francesca of Savoy

Princess Maria of Savoy (Maria Francesca Anna Romana; 26 December 1914 – 7 December 2001) was the youngest daughter of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Elena of Montenegro. She was a sister of Umberto II of Italy and of Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria.

Queen Jelena

Queen Jelena (Serbian: Јелена) may refer to:

Helen of Zadar (also known as Helen the Glorious or Jelena Slavna), Queen consort of Kingdom of Croatia; Michael Krešimir II 946-969, later (Queen dowager 969-976)

Helena of Serbia, Queen of Hungary (Jelena Urošević Vukanović), Queen consort of Hungary; Béla II of Hungary (1131–1141)

Helen of Anjou (Hélène d'Anjou), Queen consort of Serbia; Stephen Uroš I of Serbia (1245–1276)

Helena Doukaina, Queen consort of Serbia; Stefan Uroš II Milutin (1273–1284)

Helena of Bulgaria (Elena), Empress consort of Serbia; Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia (1332–1355)

Jelena Gruba (Helena), Queen regnant of Bosnia (1395-1398); Stephen Dabiša (1391-1395).

Helena Gattilusio, Despotess consort of Serbia; Stefan Lazarević (1405–1427)

Helena Palaiologina of Morea, Despotess consort of Serbia; Lazar Branković (1456–1458)

Maria of Serbia, Queen of Bosnia (Jelena), Queen consort of Bosnia; Stephen Tomašević (1461–1463)

Princess Helen of Serbia (Jelena Karađorđević), Princess consort of Russia; Prince John Constantinovich of Russia (lived 1886–1918)

Elena of Montenegro, Queen consort of Italy; Victor Emmanuel III (1900-1946)

Villa Ada

Villa Ada is a park in Rome, Italy, with a surface of 450 acres (1.8 km2) it is the second largest in the city after Villa Doria Pamphili. It is located in the northeastern part of the city.

Women in Montenegro

The women in Montenegro are also known as Montenegrin women. They live in Montenegro a country in southeastern Europe, a region commonly known as the Balkans. They belong to a group of people known as South Slavs. An early description of women from Montenegro comes from a column of The New York Times on November 5, 1880, wherein the newspaper said that "The Montenegrin woman takes an equal share of labor with the man at field-work, and she does all the carrying" in relation to travel by horse ride and other forms of transport by animals. The newspaper further described them to be engaged in knitting or spinning.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.