On 16 August 1397, King Albert of Hungary, the first Habsburg monarch of Hungary, was born (d. 1439). Albert (Albrecht) was born in Vienna as the son of Albert IV, Duke of Austria, and Joanna Sophia of Bavaria. He was the only Habsburg king who ruled his countries from Buda castle and who was loved by the Hungarians during his short reign.
He succeeded the Duchy of Austria at the age of seven on his father’s death in 1404. As for his father, he had excellent diplomatic skills since as early as 1402 he had concluded a succession treaty with King Zsigmond (Sigismund) of Hungary, according to which, in the absence of a son heir, Albert, who had been crowned the previous year, would succeed Zsigmond on the Hungarian throne.
The treaty was in fact Zsigmond’s gratitude to the Habsburg dukes, who had supported the Hungarian king politically and with armed force in his struggle – so far unsuccessful – with his half-brother, Vencel (Václáv), to obtain the Czech crown.
Young Albert inherited the Austrian dukedom at a young age, on 14 September 1404, after the death of his father.
A believer in the synodal ideal, he relied on his own church. The Synod of Constance, convened in 1414, almost single-handedly deposed the three popes and recognized Martin V as the new pope, who supported Albert’s Melk reform aimed at the economic modernization of church estates.
In the 1420s he took part in the Hussite wars, and King Zsigmond granted him the title of Margrave of Moravia in 1423. in 1434-1435 he fought against the Turks in the south of the country.
In 1422 Albert married Elisabeth of Luxemburg, the daughter, and heiress of the King Zsigmond of Hungary (later also Holy Roman Emperor) and King of Bohemia), and his second wife, the Slovenian noblewoman Barbara Celje (Cillei Borbála).
His father-in-law, King Zsigmond of Hungary, died on 9 December 1437. Recognizing his wife Elizabeth’s right of succession, a small group of lords and high priests elected Albert King of Hungary in Pozsony (Pressburg, Bratislava) on 18 December 1437, but his election was conditional, including his refusal to accept the title of Holy Roman Emperor. Albert, just as his predecessor did, moved his court to the Hungarian Kingdom from where he later oversaw his other domains.
The Hungarian coronation took place on 1 January 1438 in Székesfehérvár, where Albert was crowned by the Archbishop of Esztergom and Elisabeth by the Bishop of Veszprém. In Frankfurt on 18 March 1438, he was elected King of Germany as Albert II, but during his short reign, he was never crowned King of Germany.
He was elected King of Bohemia on 6 May 1438. Because of his mother-in-law Queen Barbara’s conspiracy with the Poles in Silesia, he had to fight a minor war for the Czech throne, as some of the Czech nobles elected the Polish heir to the throne, Casmer of Jagello, over Albert. Let us recall that the Cillei family was hostile both against the Habsburgs and the Hunyadi families.
Cillei Borbála, the widow of the late King Zsigmond, supported the Polish king in the hope of a new marriage, but Albert emerged victorious. He was crowned in Prague on 29 June 1438. Albert was an energetic and warlike ruler, whose short reign as a triple king gave great promise of usefulness for the Holy Roman Empire.
As King of Hungary, he was at the mercy of the nobility who tied his hands with the coronation conditions, and during his long stay abroad, power was in their hands. For this reason, the smaller and medium nobility voiced their demands at the Buda Diet in 1439. At the same time, the defense of the country was transferred to the king. The lower noblemen seem to have trusted King Albert.
Because of the threat of the Turks (the fall of Szendrő castle, 1439), he decided to go on a campaign in 1439, but his army only reached Titel. Here, partly because the Turks had turned against Bosnia instead of Hungary, and partly because his army had been attacked by dysentery, he left his troops and headed for home. He himself fell ill and died on the way at Neszmély in Komárom county. You can read more details about this period here:
According to legend, he drank from the King’s well on the Szőlő hill after eating melons, which caused his death (based on local tradition, Szénássy Zoltán reported it in his Neszmély Chronicle). His heart and internal organs were buried in the garden of the Reformed Church of Neszmély, the place is marked by a heart-shaped stone.
His wife was pregnant by him at the time; his son, the future King László V of Hungary, was born on 22 February 1440. Allegedly, the king had expressed his distrust in his wife regarding the upbringing of his child. He proved to be right in this respect. Later, it was King László V who had Hunyadi László, the son of Hunyadi János executed.
According to the Last Will drawn up in Neszmély, Albert designated Pozsony (Pressburg, Bratislava) as the residence of his unborn child, and entrusted his guardianship to the Hungarian, Czech, and Austrian aristocracy. According to his will, he wished to be buried in St. Stephen’s Church in Vienna but was nevertheless buried in Székesfehérvár.
Full titulature Albert possessed went as follows: Albert, by the grace of God elected King of the Romans, always August, King of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Rama, Serbia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Cumania and Bulgaria, elected King of Bohemia, duke of Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, margrave of Moravia, Lord of the Wendish March and Port Naon, Count of Habsburg, Tyrol, Ferrete and Kyburg, etc. Margrave of Burgau and landgrave of Alsace.
In practice he often used a shorter version: Albert, by the grace of God, elected King of the Romans, always August, King of Hungary, Dalmatia and Croatia, etc. elected King of Bohemia, Duke of Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, Margrave of Moravia and Count of Tyrol, etc.
Source: Ezerszínű Világ
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