Princess Elena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro

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Queen Jelena Petrović Njegoš, of Montenegro

Also Known As: "кралица Елена Петрович-Ниегош", "Helene", "Elena", "Petrović-Njegoš", "of", "Montenegro. Elena Princess of Montenegro"
Birthdate: (79)
Birthplace: Cetinje, Montenegro
Death: November 28, 1952 (79)
Montpellier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Place of Burial: Queen Consort
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Nikola I King of Montenegro; King Nicholas Montenegro, I and Milena Petrović-Njegoš
Wife of King Victor Emanuel Italy, III and Vittorio Emanuele III, re d'Italia (King of Italy)
Mother of Jolanda Margherita Milena Elisabetta Romana Maria, princess de Savoie; Mafalda Maria Elisabetta Anna Romana von Hessen; Umberto II, re d'Italia (King of Italy); Giovanna of Italy and Maria Francesca Anna Romana di Savoia
Sister of Princess Zorka/Ljubica Yugoslavia; Grand Duchess Milica Nikolaevna, Princess Milica of Montenegro; Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolayevna Romanova Chernogorskaya; Marija Marica Petrović-Njegoš; Danilo Aleksandar Petrovich-Nyegosh / Petrović Njegoš and 6 others

Occupation: Queen consort of Italy (July 29, 1900 - May 9, 1946); Princess of Montenegro
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Princess Elena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro

Helen of Montenegro (born Princess Jelena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro) (8 January 1873 – 28 November 1952) was the daughter of King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro and his wife, Milena Vukotić. As the result of Jelena's marriage to King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy on 24 October 1896 converting to Catholicism, she became Queen of Italy when her husband acceded to the throne in 1900.

Princess Elena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro (8 January 1873 – 28 November 1952) nicknamed Jela was the daughter of King Nicholas I of Montenegro and his wife, Milena Vukotić. As wife of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, she was Queen of Italy from 1900 until 1946.

Princess Elena of Montenegro, or more commonly known as Queen Elena of Italy was the daughter of King Nicholas I of Montenegro and his wife, Milena Vukotić. As wife of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, she was Queen of Italy from 1900 until 1946 and Queen consort of the Albanians from 1939 until 1943.

She was born in Cetinje as daughter of Montenegrin Prince and future King Nicholas I and his wife Milena. At the age of 10, she went to the Institute for young ladies in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She was very talented at painting and architecture and she designed the monument for Prince-Bishop Danilo I.

As the result of Elena's marriage to King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy on 24 October 1896, she converted to Catholicism from Orthodoxy and became Queen of Italy when her husband acceded to the throne in 1900. Her mother was so distressed with the fact that Elena had changed her religion that she refused to come to the wedding ceremony in Rome.

Due to the Fascist conquest of Ethiopia in 1936 and Albania in 1939, Queen Elena briefly used the claimed titles of Empress of Ethiopia and Queen of Albania; both titles were dropped when her husband formally renounced them in 1943.

She influenced her husband to lobby Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister of Italy, for the creation of the independent Kingdom of Montenegro in 1941. In 1943 she subsequently obtained the release from a German prison of her nephew, Prince Michael of Montenegro, and his wife, Geneviève. Prince Michael had been imprisoned after refusing to become King of Montenegro under the protection of Italy.

On 29 July 1900, following his father's assassination, Victor Emmanuel ascended the Italian throne. Officially, Elena assumed her husband's whole titles: she became Queen of Italy, and with the birth of the Italian Colonial Empire she became Queen of Albania and Empress of Ethiopia.

On 28 December 1908 Messina was hit by a disastrous earthquake. Queen Elena helped with the rescuers, as some photographs show. This helped to increase her popularity within the country. During the First World War Elena worked as a nurse and, with the help of the Queen Mother, she turned Quirinal Palace and Villa Margherita into hospitals. To raise funds, she invented the "signed photograph", which was sold at the charity desks. At the end of the war, she proposed to sell the crown treasures in order to pay the war debts.

Elena was the first Inspector of the Voluntary Nurses for the Italian Red Cross from 1911 until 1921. She studied medicine and was able to obtain a laurea honoris causa. She financed charitable institutions for people with encephalitis, tuberculosis, former soldiers and poor mothers.

She was deeply involved in her fight against disease, and she promoted many efforts for the training of doctors, and for research against poliomyelitis, Parkinson's disease and cancer.

On 15 April 1937 Pope Pius XII gave her the Golden Rose of Christianity, the most important honour for a Catholic lady at the time. Pope Pius XII, in a condolence telegram sent to her son Umberto II for the queen's death, defined her a "Lady of charitable work".

In 1939, three months after the German invasion of Poland and the declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France, Elena wrote a letter to the six European queens still neutral (Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Queen Ioanna of Bulgaria and Queen Maria The Queen Mother of Yugoslavia) in order to avoid the great tragedy World War II would become.

On 25 July 1943 Victor Emmanuel III had Benito Mussolini arrested. The king left Rome on 9 September to flee to Brindisi with the help of the Allies and Elena followed her husband in his escape. In contrast, on 23 September their daughter Mafalda was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, where she died in 1944.

Following the war, on May 9, 1946, Victor Emmanuel III abdicated in favour of their son Umberto, and the former king assumed the title of Count of Pollenzo. On June 2, 1946, a referendum resulted in 52 percent of voters favouring an Italian republic over the monarchy. The republic was formally proclaimed four days later, and the House of Savoy's reign over Italy formally ended on June 12, 1946. Elena and Victor Emmanuel III went to Egypt, where they were welcomed with great honor by King Faruk, but forced to live the rest of their lives in exile. Vittorio Emmanuel III died a year later of pulmonary congestion in Alexandria. Elena stayed in Egypt a short time before moving to France. There, in Montpellier, she was diagnosed with a severe form of cancer, and died while having surgery to treat it.

65 years after her death, on December 15, 2017, the remains of Elena were repatriated from Montpellier, to the sanctuary of Vicoforte, near Turin. The remains of Victor Emmanuel III were transferred two days later from Alexandria, and interred alongside hers.

King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Queen Elena had 5 children: Princess Yolanda Margherita Milena Elisabetta Romana Maria of Savoy (1901–1986), married to Giorgio Carlo Calvi, Count of Bergolo (it), (1887–1977); Princess Mafalda Maria Elisabetta Anna Romana of Savoy (1902–1944), married to Prince Philipp of Hesse (1896–1980) with issue; Prince Umberto Nicola Tommaso Giovanni Maria of Savoy, Prince of Piedmont, later Umberto II, King of Italy (1904–1983) married Princess Marie José of Belgium, with issue. Princess Giovanna Elisabetta Antonia Romana Maria of Savoy (1907–2000), married to Boris III, King of Bulgaria; Princess Maria Francesca Anna Romana of Savoy (1914–2001), who married Prince Luigi of Bourbon-Parma (1899–1967), with issue.

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Princess Elena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro's Timeline

January 8, 1873
Cetinje, Montenegro
January 8, 1873
- October 24, 1896
Cetinje, Cetinje, Montenegro
January 14, 1873
Cetinje, Cetinje, Montenegro
October 24, 1896
- July 29, 1900
Age 23
Rome, Rome, Lazio, Italy
July 29, 1900
- May 9, 1946
Age 27
Rome, Rome, Lazio, Italy
June 1, 1901
Age 28
Rome, Lazio, Italy
November 19, 1902
Age 29
Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Lazio, Italy
September 15, 1904
Age 31
Racconigi, Piemonte, Italia
November 13, 1907
Age 34
Rome, Lazio, Italia