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|
Elena in 1900
|Queen consort of Italy|
|Tenure||29 July 1900 – 9 May 1946|
|Empress consort of Ethiopia|
|Tenure||9 May 1936 – 5 May 1941|
|Queen consort of the Albanians|
|Tenure||16 April 1939 – 8 September 1943|
|Born||8 January 1871|
|Died||28 November 1952 (aged 81)|
Sanctuary of Vicoforte, Italy
|Spouse||Victor Emmanuel III of Italy|
|Father||Nicholas I of Montenegro|
prev. Eastern Orthodox
|Reference style||Her Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Queen Elena had 5 children:
|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|
Media related to Elena of Montenegro at Wikimedia Commons
Elena of MontenegroBorn: 8 January 1873 Died: 28 November 1952
Margherita of Savoy
| Queen consort of Italy
29 July 1900 – 9 May 1946
Marie-José of Belgium
| Empress consort of Ethiopia
(Not internationally recognised)
9 May 1936 – 5 May 1941
Géraldine Apponyi de Nagyappony
| Queen consort of Albania
16 April 1939 – 8 September 1943
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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).
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Louise (1476–1531), married Charles d'Orléans, Count of Angoulême, had children including:
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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.
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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)
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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.