Judith of Habsburg

Last updated

Judith of Habsburg
Queen consort of Bohemia
Coronation 2 June 1297, Prague
Queen consort of Poland
Born13 March 1271
Rheinfelden, Swabia
Died18 June 1297(1297-06-18) (aged 26)
Prague, Bohemia
Royal Crypt in St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague
Spouse Wenceslaus II of Bohemia
House Habsburg
Father Rudolf I of Germany
Mother Gertrude of Hohenberg

Judith of Habsburg (German : Guta; 13 March 1271 – 21 May 1297) was queen of Bohemia and Poland from 1285 until her death as the wife of the Přemyslid king Wenceslaus II.


Early life

Judith was the youngest daughter of King Rudolf I of Germany and Gertrude of Hohenberg. She was born in the Swabian town of Rheinfelden, where her father still resided as a count before he was elected king of Germany in 1273. When she was five, she became the object of her father's political plans: on 21 October 1276 King Rudolf accepted the homage of his bitter rival King Ottokar II of Bohemia in the Austrian capital Vienna, and to seal the peace, both decided that Judith should marry Ottokar's son Wenceslaus. The agreement, however, did not last and the conflict erupted again, ending with King Ottokar's final defeat and death in the 1278 Battle on the Marchfeld.

After King Ottokar's death, the Brandenburg margrave Otto V had guardianship over minor King Wenceslaus II, acting as Bohemian regent. After conflicts arose with Ottokar's widow Kunigunda of Halych, Margrave Otto temporarily held Wenceslaus as a prisoner at Bezděz Castle and in the Ascanian fortress of Spandau in Brandenburg. He did not return to Prague until 1283. As part of a reconciliation process, the formal engagement between Judith and Wenceslaus was renewed in 1279 at Jihlava; nevertheless, the bridal couple did not meet until in January 1285 a wedding ceremony was held by the Přemyslid and Habsburg dynasties in the City of Cheb (Eger). [1] The bride was given a dowry stretching "from the Duchy of Austria, Moravian border to the border of Danube". The ceremony in Cheb was followed by a "festive" wedding night, but soon after, King Rudolf took Judith back to Germany, since she was still of a young age. Moreover, the remarriage of Wenceslaus' mother Kunigunda to the Bohemian noble Zavis of Falkenstein appeared inacceptable to the king.


Though Kunigunda died later in that year and Wenceslaus II had sworn an oath of fealty to Rudolf in order to receive his Bohemian heritage, his coronation as king of Bohemia had to be postponed as Judith was not present. In Summer 1287, she did eventually leave her family in Germany and came to the Prague court to be with her husband. One year later, Wenceslaus took over the political power. Like King Rudolf, Judith hated Wenceslaus' stepfather Zavis of Falkenstein, who had acted as regent with Kunigunda. Judith urged Wenceslaus bring Zavis to trial and he was eventually arrested and executed at Hluboká Castle in 1290.

Upon her father's death in 1291, Judith further tried to reconcile her husband with her brother Albert, who struggled for the German throne with Count Adolf of Nassau.

Judith and Wenceslaus were finally crowned on 2 June 1297. Judith was not in good health at the time, having just given birth to her tenth child, which was stillborn. She died a few weeks after the coronation in Prague, at age twenty-six. She had been pregnant during much of her twelve years of marriage, giving birth almost once per year.

According to the family chronicles, Judith was described as beautiful, noble and virtuous. [2] She supported her husband's claim on the Kingdom of Poland, where he ruled over the Seniorate Province at Kraków since 1291 and was able to succeed King Przemysł II in 1296. [3]


Judith's epitaph in the Convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia in Prague Guta mala.jpg
Judith's epitaph in the Convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia in Prague

Wenceslaus II and Judith had ten children:

  1. Přemysl Otakar (6 May 1288 – 19 November 1288).
  2. Wenceslaus III (6 October 1289 – 4 August 1306); King of Bohemia, King of Hungary and King of Poland.
  3. Agnes (6 October 1289 – after 1292 before 1306), twin of Wenceslaus III, betrothed to Rupert of Nassau, son of King Adolf of Germany, but died young.
  4. Anna (10 October 1290 – 3 September 1313), married in 1306 to Duke Henry of Carinthia.
  5. Elizabeth (20 January 1292 – 28 September 1330), married in 1310 to John I of Bohemia.
  6. Judith (3 March 1293 – 3 August 1294).
  7. John (26 February 1294 – 1 March 1295).
  8. John (21 February 1295 – 6 December 1296).
  9. Margareta (21 February 1296 – 8 April 1322), married to Bolesław III the Generous, Duke of Wrocław.
  10. Judith (born and died 21 May 1297).

Of the ten children only four lived to adulthood.

Family legacy

Wenceslaus III and then Anna and Elisabeth succeeded their father as rulers of Bohemia. Elisabeth was the mother of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, his son was Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor.

Judith is also an ancestor of Anne of Denmark, who married James I of England. Among Anne's children were Charles I of England and Elizabeth of Bohemia; Elizabeth is one of Judith's successors as Queen of Bohemia.

Related Research Articles

Rudolf I of Germany 13th century King of the Romans

Rudolf I was the first king of Germany from the House of Habsburg. The first of the count-kings of Germany, he reigned from 1273 until his death.

History of the Czech lands Overview of the history of the Czech lands

The history of the Czech lands – an area roughly corresponding to the present-day Czech Republic – starts approximately 800,000 years BCE. A simple chopper from that age was discovered at the archeological site of Red Hill in Brno. Many different primitive cultures left their traces throughout the Stone Age, which lasted approximately until 2000 BCE. The most widely known culture present in the Czech lands during the pre-historical era is the Únětice Culture, leaving traces for about five centuries from the end of the Stone Age to the start of the Bronze Age. Celts – who came during the 5th century BCE – are the first people known by name. One of the Celtic tribes were the Boii (plural), who gave the Czech lands their first name Boiohaemum – Latin for the Land of Boii. Before the beginning of the Common Era the Celts were mostly pushed out by Germanic tribes. The most notable of those tribes were the Marcomanni and traces of their wars with the Roman Empire were left in south Moravia.

Ottokar II of Bohemia King of Bohemia from 1253 to 1278

Ottokar II, the Iron and Golden King, was a member of the Přemyslid dynasty who reigned as King of Bohemia from 1253 until his death in 1278. He also held the titles of Margrave of Moravia from 1247, Duke of Austria from 1251, and Duke of Styria from 1260, as well as Duke of Carinthia and landgrave of Carniola from 1269.

Wenceslaus II of Bohemia King of Bohemia

Wenceslaus II Přemyslid was King of Bohemia (1278–1305), Duke of Cracow (1291–1305), and King of Poland (1300–1305).

Rudolf I of Bohemia

Rudolf I, Rudolf of Habsburg, was a member of the House of Habsburg, the King of Bohemia and titular King of Poland from 1306 until his death. He was also Duke of Austria and Styria from 1298.

Bretislav III Bishop of Prague

Henry Bretislaus, a member of the Přemyslid dynasty, was Bishop of Prague from 1182, then Duke of Bohemia as "Bretislaus III" from 1193 to his death.

Henry of Bohemia King of Bohemia

Henry of Gorizia, a member of the House of Gorizia, was Duke of Carinthia and Landgrave of Carniola and Count of Tyrol from 1295 until his death, as well as King of Bohemia, Margrave of Moravia and titular King of Poland in 1306 and again from 1307 until 1310. After his death, the Habsburgs took over Carinthia and Carniola and held them almost without interruption until 1918.

Battle on the Marchfeld 1278 battle of the Great Interregnum

The Battle on the Marchfeld at Dürnkrut and Jedenspeigen took place on 26 August 1278 and was a decisive event for the history of Central Europe for the following centuries. The opponents were a Bohemian (Czech) army led by the Přemyslid king Ottokar II of Bohemia and the German army under the German king Rudolph I of Habsburg in alliance with King Ladislaus IV of Hungary. With 15,300 mounted troops, it was one of the largest cavalry battles in Central Europe during the Middle Ages. The Hungarian cavalry played a significant role in the outcome of the battle.

Rudolf II, Duke of Austria Duke of Austria and Styria

Rudolf II, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Duke of Austria and Styria from 1282 to 1283, jointly with his elder brother Albert I, who succeeded him.

Kingdom of Bohemia Monarchy in Central Europe (1198-1918), predecessor of modern Czech Republic

The Kingdom of Bohemia, sometimes later in English literature referred to as the Czech Kingdom, was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Central Europe, the predecessor of the modern Czech Republic. It was an Imperial State in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Bohemian king was a prince-elector of the empire. The kings of Bohemia, besides the region of Bohemia proper itself, also ruled other lands belonging to the Bohemian Crown, which at various times included Moravia, Silesia, Lusatia, and parts of Saxony, Brandenburg, and Bavaria.

Přemyslid dynasty Czech royal dynasty during the Middle Ages

The Přemyslid dynasty or House of Přemyslid was a Czech royal dynasty which reigned in the Duchy of Bohemia and later Kingdom of Bohemia and Margraviate of Moravia, as well as in parts of Poland, Hungary, and Austria.

Kunigunda Rostislavna was Queen consort of Bohemia and its Regent from 1278 until her death. She was a member of the House of Chernigov, and a daughter of Rostislav Mikhailovich.

Duchy of Troppau

The Principality of Opava or Duchy of Troppau was a historic territory split off from the Margraviate of Moravia before 1269 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia to provide for his natural son, Nicholas I. The Opava territory thus had not been part of the original Polish Duchy of Silesia in 1138, and was first ruled by an illegitimate offshoot of the Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty, not by the Silesian Piasts like many of the neighbouring Silesian duchies. Its capital was Opava (Troppau) in the modern day Czech Republic.

Nicholas I, Duke of Troppau

Nicholas I was the natural son of Bohemian king Ottokar II Přemysl and his mistress Agnes of Kuenring. In 1269 he became Duke of Opava and thereby the progenitor of the Silesian cadet branch of the Přemyslid dynasty that lasted until 1521.

Bolko I of Opole

Bolko I of Opole, was a Duke of Opole from 1282, Niemodlin and Strzelce Opolskie until his death.

Kunigunde of Bohemia Duchess consort of Mazovia

Kunigunde of Bohemia was the eldest daughter of Ottokar II of Bohemia and his second wife, Kunigunda of Slavonia. She was a member of the Přemyslid dynasty. She was Princess of Masovia by her marriage to Boleslaus II of Masovia and later became abbess of the St. George's Convent at Prague Castle.

Zavis of Falkenstein

Zavis of Falkenstein, a member of the noble house of Vítkovci, was a Bohemian noble and opponent of King Ottokar II.

Margraviate of Moravia Part of the Bohemian Crown from 1182 to 1918

The Margraviate of Moravia was one of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown within the Holy Roman Empire existing from 1182 to 1918. It was officially administrated by a margrave in cooperation with a provincial diet. It was variously a de facto independent state, and also subject to the Duchy, later the Kingdom of Bohemia. It comprised the historical region called Moravia, which lies within the present-day Czech Republic.

Czech lands in the High Middle Ages

The history of the Czech lands in the High Middle Ages encompasses the period from the rule of Vladislav II to that of Henry of Bohemia (c.1265–1335). The High Middle Ages includes the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. It was preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which ended about 1500. The High Middle Ages produced a number of intellectual, spiritual and artistic works and saw the rise of ethnocentrism, which evolved into nationalism. The rediscovery of the works of Aristotle led Thomas Aquinas and other thinkers of the period to develop the instructional method of scholasticism. In architecture, many notable Gothic cathedrals were built or completed during this era.


  1. "Bella gerant alii" Laodamia's Sisters, Habsburg Brides: Leaving Home for the Sake of the House, Joseph F. Patrouch, Early Modern Habsburg Women: Transnational Contexts, Cultural Conflicts, Dynastic Continuities, ed. Anne J. Cruz, Maria Galli Stampino, (Routledge, 2013), 30.
  2. Translation from Czech Wikipedia with further sources
  3. Guta Habsburg, Index of Persons, Translation from Czech
Judith of Habsburg
Born: 13 March 1271 Died: 21 May 1297
Royal titles
Preceded by Queen consort of Bohemia
Succeeded by
Preceded by Queen consort of Poland