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Viola of Teschen

Viola of Teschen

Czech queen
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Czech queen
Gender female
Birth 1 January 1290
Death 21 September 1317 (Bohemia, Czech Republic)
Father: Mieszko IDuke of Cieszyn
Siblings: Władysław of OświęcimCasimir IDuke of Cieszyn
Spouse: Wenceslaus III of Bohemia
The details

Viola of Teschen, later known as Elizabeth (Polish: Wiola Elżbieta cieszyńska, Czech: Viola Alžběta Těšínská) (ca. 1291 – 21 September 1317), was a Polish princess member of the House of Piast in the Cieszyn branch and by marriage Queen of Bohemia and Poland.

She was the third child and only daughter of Mieszko I, Duke of Teschen, by his unknown wife, probably called Grzymisława. She was named after her paternal great-grandmother Viola, wife of Duke Casimir I of Opole.


Queen of Bohemia and Poland

Viola married with young King Wenceslaus III of Bohemia and Poland on 5 October 1305 in Brno. The reasons for marriage are not too obvious: although later chroniclers describe how beautiful Viola was, her father Duke Mieszko I was only one of the vassals of King Wenceslaus III, and in consequence, this was an unequal union. The main reason wasn't her beauty but maybe the strategic position of Cieszyn between the Kingdoms of Bohemia and Poland. Four days after the wedding (9 October), Wenceslaus III annulled his long-time engagement to Elizabeth, daughter of King Andrew III of Hungary and with this renounced to all his claims over the Hungarian crown.

After her marriage, Viola took the name Elizabeth, but her union with the King wasn't completely happy because her husband's free lifestyle and the strong opposition of the Bohemian nobility, who had to prevent this "lower" union. Ten months later, on 4 August 1306, King Wenceslaus III was murdered in Olomouc under mysterious circumstances, leaving Viola as a fifteen-year-old widow. Maybe because of their youth, the union failed to produce an heir.

With little money and nowhere to go, Viola probably stayed with her sisters-in-law, Anna and Elisabeth in one of the nunneries. Both princesses were fighting for the throne of Bohemia, but Viola stayed away. Later, she mainly resided in Moravia, where she had her dowry towns.

Second Marriage. Death

After the arrest of Henry of Lipá (Jindřich z Lipé), the now Queen Elisabeth of Bohemia and her husband John of Luxembourg tried to gain to their side the powerful nobleman Peter I of Rosenberg (Petr I. z Rožmberka), who at that time was engaged with Henry of Lipá's daughter. Soon Peter I of Rosenberg cancelled his betrothal and entered in an alliance with the Bohemian King and Queen; in order to reinforce his bonds with his new ally, King John gave him the hand of the Dowager Queen Viola. The marriage took place in 1316 but was childless and short-lived: Viola died only one year after, on 21 September 1317, and was buried in the vault of the House of Rosenberg in the Vyšší Brod Monastery.


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