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Milena Vukotić

Milena Vukotić

Queen Consort of Montenegro
The basics
Gender female
Birth April 27, 1847 (Cetinje, Čevo)
Death March 16, 1923 (Antibes)
Father: Petar Vukotić
Spouse: Nicholas I of Montenegro
Children: Elena of MontenegroPrincess Zorka of MontenegroPrincess Milica of MontenegroPrincess Anastasia of MontenegroDaniloCrown Prince of MontenegroPrincess Anna of MontenegroPrince Mirko of MontenegroPrince Peter of MontenegroPrincess Xenia of Montenegro
Authority VIAF id
The details

Milena Vukotić (Serbian Cyrillic: Милена Вукотић; 4 May 1847 – 16 March 1923) was the only Queen consort of Montenegro as the wife of King Nicholas I of Montenegro (28 August 1910 – 26 November 1918).

Early life

Born in the Montenegrin village of Čevo, Milena was a daughter of Vojvoda Petar Vukotić and Jelena Vojvodić born in the village of Viš-Danilovgrad Montenegro. Her father was one of the greatest landowners in Montenegro and a close friend of Vojvoda Mirko Petrović-Njegoš with whom he had fought in the wars of the 1850s. The two friends decided to consolidate their alliance with the union of their children. In 1853, Milena, age only six, was betrothed to Mirkos's only son, Nikola, age twelve. Nikola was the nephew and heir of the childless reigning prince of Montenegro Danilo I. In 1856, after the death of her mother, Milena was sent to Cetinje, to be raised in the household of her future in laws. Having grown up according to the rudimentary customs of Montenegro at that time even in prominent families, Milena was illiterate. Between 1856 and 1860 she grew up in the household of Mirko Njegoš, her soon to be father in law, raised alongside Mirko's daughter, Anastasia. During those four years she became close to her new family: "My father and mother loved her as their own daughter" wrote later King Nikola. "My late uncle (Prince Danilo), also loved her greatly and treated her as his own child, and she showed him her love and respect in every way. She was very beautiful, sweet, kind, gentle and devout." In those years Milena seldom saw her future husband. Six years her senior, Nikola meanwhile was educated first in Trieste and later in Paris.

Queen consort

The assassination of Prince Danilo, on 12 August 1860, unexpectedly made Nikola the reigning prince of Montenegro at age eighteen. Shortly after, Nikola was close to death ill with pneumonia. When he recovered, it was decided to arrange his marriage as soon as possible in order to provide Montenegro with an heir. Milena's father traveled to St Petersburg and informed Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Montenegro's greatest ally and supporter, of the marriage. On 8 November 1860, at the age of 13, Milena married Prince Nicholas I of Montenegro age 19, who became King in 1910. The wedding was a simple affair and was held in the Vlach Church in Lovćen valley. The marriage was political: her family had played an important role in Montenegin politics and was befriended with the House of Petrović-Njegoš, her husband's family.

Only in her early teens at the time of her marriage, Milena's early years as Princess consort were difficult. She was inexperienced and was a solitary figure initially overshadowed by Princess Darinka, widow of Prince Danilo, who was close to Nikola. During the first four years of her marriage, she did not have any children. She was tutored in the Serbian language and learned French. Milena asserted her position after Darinka left Montenegro for good. In 1865, Milena gave birth to the first of her twelve children. Between 1865 and 1869, she had four daughters in quick succession, with a son and heir, Prince Danilo, born in 1871, and seven more children would follow. Milena's relationship with her husband solidified with time and she became respected and influential. While her husband was away in visits to Austria-Hungary and Russia in the winter of 1868–1869, Milena was in charge of court affairs.

She had visited İstanbul with her husband after the invitation of Sultan Abdulhamid in 1899. She was one of the foreigners who had the opportunity to enter the Sultan's harem.

After the annexation by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1918, the royal family was forced into exile. Milena died in France, two years after her husband and was buried in San Remo, Italy. In 1989 her remains, together with her husband's and Xenia's and Vera's, two of her daughters, were transferred to Cetinje and reburied in the Cipur-chapel.


The couple had twelve children: three sons and nine daughters, some of whom married European royalty.

  • Princess Ljubica, known as Zorka (Cetinje, Montenegro, December 23, 1864 – Cetinje, March 28, 1890) married Prince Petar Karađorđević (who after her death would become King Peter I, King of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which became Yugoslavia, annexing Montenegro from Nikola himself);
  • Princess Milica (Cetinje, Montenegro, July 26, 1866 – Alexandria, Egypt, September 5, 1951) was married to Grand Duke Peter Nicolaievich Romanov of Russia, brother of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaevich;
  • Princess Anastasija (Cetinje, Montenegro, January 4, 1868 – Antibes, France, November 15, 1935) (also known as Princess Stana) was married first with George, Duke of Leuchtenberg and after divorce secondly to the World War I general Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaevich of Russia, the younger; both her husbands were grandsons of Emperor Nicholas I and she had two children by her first marriage;
  • Princess Marica (Cetinje, Montenegro, March 29, 1869 – St. Petersburg, Russia, May 7, 1885);
  • Crown Prince Danilo Aleksandar (Cetinje, Montenegro, June 29, 1871 – Vienna, Austria, September 24, 1939) married Duchess Jutta (later known as Militza) of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, they had no children;
  • Princess Jelena (Cetinje, Montenegro, January 8, 1873 – Montpellier, France, November 28, 1952) became Queen Elena of Italy, wife of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy;
  • Princess Ana (Cetinje, Montenegro, August 18, 1874 – Montreux, Switzerland, April 22, 1971), married Prince Franz Joseph of Battenberg, but remained childless;
  • Princess Sofiya (Cetinje, Montenegro, May 2, 1876 – Cetinje, June 14, 1876);
  • Prince Mirko Dimitri (Cetinje, Montenegro, April 17, 1879 – Vienna, Austria, March 2, 1918) married Natalija Konstantinović, a cousin of Alexander I Obrenović, and had a son, Prince Michael of Montenegro;
  • Princess Kseniya (Cetinje, Montenegro, April 22, 1881 – Paris, France, March 10, 1960);
  • Princess Vjera (Rijeka Crnojevića, Montenegro, February 22, 1887 – Unknown, October 31, 1927);
  • Prince Petar (Cetinje, Montenegro, October 10, 1889 – Meran, Italy, May 7, 1932); married 1924 Violet Wegner (after conversion to Orthodoxy her name was Ljubica). They had no children.

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