HBICs of history » Jadwiga of Poland
Jadwiga (1373/4 – 1399) was monarch of Poland from 1384 to her death. Her official title was ‘king’ rather than ‘queen’, reflecting that she was a sovereign in her own right and not merely a royal consort. She was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, the daughter of King Louis I of Hungary and Elizabeth of Bosnia.She is known in Polish as Jadwiga, in English and German as Hedwig and in Latin as Hedvigis. Queens regnant being relatively uncommon in Europe at the time, Jadwiga was officially crowned a King. She is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Hedwig, where she is the patron saint of queens.
She admired the Byzantine liturgy and attempted to unite her people through the use of Slavonic rites. In Cracow cathedral she endowed sixteen priests to sustain the Divine Office almost continuously. She also dealt with the dangerous Teutonic Knights by skilful negotiation.
In 1399, expecting a child, she withdrew from public life. A daughter was born prematurely and she herself died four days later. She was buried in Wawel cathedral and Pope John Paul II canonized her in Cracow in 1997.