Hedwig Jagiellon, Duchess of Bavaria

Hedwig Jagiellon
Duchess of Bavaria-Landshut
Tenure 18 January 1479 – 18 February 1502
Born 21 September 1457
Died 18 February 1502(1502-02-18) (aged 44)
Burial Raitenhaslach Monastery
Spouse George, Duke of Bavaria-Landshut
among others...
Elisabeth, Countess Palatine of the Rhine
Margaret of Bavaria-Landshut
Dynasty Jagiellon
Father Casimir IV Jagiellon
Mother Elizabeth of Austria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Hedwig Jagiellon (Polish: Jadwiga Jagiellonka, Lithuanian: Jadvyga Jogailaitė, German: Hedwig Jagiellonica) (21 September 1457 – 18 February 1502), baptized as "Hedwigis", was a Polish princess member of the Jagiellonian dynasty and by marriage Duchess of Bavaria.

Born in Kraków, she was the eldest daughter of King Casimir IV of Poland of Poland and Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria.


In 1468 her hand was requested by Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, who on 8 April of that year sent Protas Černohorský z Boskovic, Bishop of Olomouc as his representant; with this marriage, the Hungarian ruler wanted to gain a valuable ally against his rival for the Bohemian throne, George of Poděbrady. At the same time, began negotiations for a marriage between the second daughter of Casimir IV, Sophia with Archduke Maximilian of Austria, son and heir of Emperor Frederick III; in this way, the Polish King would guaranteed that in the future, the rulers of Austria and Hungary would be his descendants.[1] The efforts of Matthias Corvinus for Hedwig's hand are supported by both the Emperor and Pope Paul II.

However, since 1462 Casimir IV had an alliance with George of Poděbrady, and Pope Pius II was suspicious about this after the Thirteen Years' War, where Poland fights against the Teutonic Order. In addition, another main oppositor for the marriage between Hedwig and the Hungarian King was the princess' mother Queen Elizabeth, who replied that Matthias is a peasant, midget, Vlach, dog, just not worth of her (pl: Matyasz chłop, kurczek, Wołoszyn, pies, niegodziem jej).[2] Despite this, Bishop Protas was chosen godfather in the baptism of the new son of King Casimir IV, born on 27 April 1467, who was named Frederick after the Emperor.

In 1469 the Catholic party in the Kingdom of Bohemia formally offered the crown to Matthias Corvinus. George of Poděbrady sought the support of Poland, promising the succession of the eldest son of Casimir IV, Vladislaus in exchange of their help. Corvinus, feared of this Polish-Bohemian alliance, again requested the hand of Hedwig, who was refused.

On 20 October 1470 Casimir IV and Frederick signed a treaty in the city of Graz; here was discussed a possible marriage between Hedwig and Maximilian.

Matthias Corvinus asked the hand of Hedwig again in July 1471 and September 1473. At the end, the definitive refusal was made by Queen Elizabeth. At the beginning of 1473 arrived to Poland two counselors of Albert IV, Duke of Bavaria-Munich, with a proposal of marriage of his ruler with Hedwig; however, Casimir IV refused the offer because at that time, he started negotiations for a marriage between his eldest daughter with George, son and heir of Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria-Landshut.

Casimir IV, in order to protect his south-western borders with the Bohemian Kingdom (subject to the rivalry between his son Vladislaus and Matthias Corvinus), decided to enter into a closer alliance with Bavaria. In 1473 the Polish deputies Stanisław Kurozwęcki and Paweł Jasieński, where sent to the Landshut court to begin talks for a marriage between Hedwig and George. As a result, in 7 or 10 September 1474, Duke Louis IX of Bavaria-Landshut sent an official message asking Hedwig's hand for his son. Negotiations took place in the cities of Łęczyca and Radom, where on 30 December Hedwig agreed to marry George. The next day, the marriage contract was signed. Hedwig received as a dowry the amount of 32,000 Hungarian złoty, payable in 5 installments in the next five years. The cost of the trip of the Polish princess to her new home reached 100,000 złoty.

Because the future spouses are closely related (Hedwig's maternal grandfather Albert V of Austria was a brother of George's paternal grandmother Margaret of Austria), in 1475 the Polish Royal Chancellor Uriel Górka travelled to Rome to ask the required dispensation, who was granted by Pope Sixtus IV on 26 May of that year.

Hedwig arrived with her family to Poznań, where on 10 October 1475 she said goodbye to them. With a numerous retinue (approx. 1,200 knights) she arrived to Wittenberg on 23 October. She accompanied, among others, by Anna, widow of Bolesław II, Duke of Cieszyn.

On 14 November 1475 Hedwig and her retinue finally entered in Landshut, an event which started the tradition of the famous medieval pageant Landshut Wedding. The wedding ceremony took place that day at St. Martin's Church, with the service being officiated by Bernhard von Rohr, Archbishop of Salzburg. Several German rulers attended the wedding, included Emperor Frederick III and his son Maximilian, Albrecht III Achilles, Elector of Brandenburg, Sigismund, Archduke of Further Austria and ruler of Tirol, Philip, Elector Palatine, Albert, Margrave of Baden-Hachberg, Counts Ulrich V of Württemberg-Stuttgart and Eberhard V of Württemberg-Urach, Landgrave Louis I of Leuchtenberg and Count Otto of Henneberg-Aschach. The proper wedding feast was held the next day, in which participated 9,000 people.

Hedwig and George Coats of Arms at Burghausen Castle.

In 1479 Hedwig became in Duchess consort of Bavaria-Landshut after the death of her father-in-law. Her marriage was unsuccessful; her husband was known as an alcoholic and womanizer. In 1485 George banished his wife from the Ducal court in Landshut and placed her at Burghausen Castle, where she lived with her own court and numerous servants, but -according to contemporary chroniclers- deprived from all the pleasures of the world and comforted only with her loneliness.[3] It's unknown if she was accompanied by her children in this exile.

Hedwig, who signed her letters as geborene Königin von Polen (Queen of Poland by birth) didn't maintain a close contact with her family. On 31 January 1503 her brother, King Alexander of Poland, wrote to her husband that he didn't known that Hedwig had been dead for eleven months.

Hedwig, Duchess of Bavaria-Landshut, died unexpectedly on 18 February 1502 at Burghausen Castle. She was buried in the Cistercian monastery of Raitenhaslach near Burghausen. When the monastery was secularized in 1803, her tombstone was destroyed. However, there is a commemorative stone in the floor of the Church in the place where her grave was previously located.


Hedwig and George had five children:

  1. Louis of Bavaria-Landshut (1476 – bef. 1496[4]).
  2. Rupert of Bavaria-Landshut (1477 – died in infancy).
  3. Elisabeth of Bavaria-Landshut (1478 – 15 September 1504), married on 10 February 1499 to Rupert, Count Palatine of the Rhine.
  4. Margaret of Bavaria-Landshut (1480 – 6 January 1531[5]), Abbess of the Benedictine monastery in Neuburg an der Donau (1509-1521).
  5. Wolfgang of Bavaria-Landshut (born and died 1482).[6]



  1. Elizabeth of Austria, wife of Casimir IV and mother of Hedwig, was the sister of Ladislaus the Posthumous, King of Bohemia and Hungary and Duke of Austria, who died childless in 1457.
  2. M. Duczmal: Jagiellonowie. Leksykon biograficzny, p. 282.
  3. M. Duczmal: Jagiellonowie. Leksykon biograficzny, p. 289.
  4. Older literature states that he died in 1500; however, in George's will dated 19 September 1496, was pointed that because the Duke didn't had living sons he name his oldest daughter as heiress.
  5. BaVARIA in: Foundation for Medieval Genealogy by Charles Crowley [retrieved 2 March 2015].
  6. He died accidentally, when his wet-nurse dropped him to the floor.


Hedwig Jagiellon
Born: 21 September 1457 Died: 18 February 1502
Royal titles
Preceded by
Amalia of Saxony
Duchess of Bavaria-Landshut
18 January 1479 – 18 February 1502
Title next held by
Kunigunde of Austria
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 4/13/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.