11/8/13

Karl Pavlovich Bryullov, The murder of Andrew, Duke of Calabria, by order of his wife, Joanna I of Naples

Date: 1835
Technique: Watercolour

Andrew, Duke of Calabria (1327 – 1345) was the second surviving son of Charles I of Hungary and Elizabeth of Poland. Andrew was the younger brother of the King Louis I of Hungary.

He was betrothed in 1334, at a young age, to his cousin Joanna I of Naples, daughter of Charles, Duke of Calabria (eldest son of king Robert of Naples).

Robert's claim to the throne was rather tenuous and didn't follow primogeniture. Andrew's grandfather, Charles Martel of Anjou had died before ascending the throne, and therefore, the throne should have passed to Charles I of Hungary. However, due to fears of impending invasion from Sicily, it was felt that a seven year-old heir was too risky and would not be able to hold off invasions. The throne was offered to the next son of Charles II of Naples, Louis of Anjou, but he refused on religious ground and then it passed to Robert. To recompense Charles I of Hungary Charles II of Naples decided to assign him, the territory of Hungary, which was part of his wife's dowry.

When the King died in 1343, in his last will and testament, he formally bequeathed his kingdom to Joanna I of Naples, and made no mention of Andrew, even as a consort and tried to exclude him from rule.

With the approval of Pope Clement VI, Joanna was crowned as sole monarch of Naples in August 1344. Fearing for his life, Andrew wrote to his mother Elizabeth that he would soon flee the kingdom. She intervened, and made a state visit; before she returned to Hungary, she bribed Pope Clement to reverse himself and permit the coronation of Andrew. She also gave a ring to Andrew, which was supposed to protect him from death by blade or poison, and returned with a false sense of security to Hungary.

When Joanna fell ill in the summer of 1344, Andrew caused great controversy when he released the Pipini brothers. They had been locked up by Robert the Wise after having been convicted for murder, rape, pillage, treason and several other offenses. Their possessions had been given to other nobles, which now became increasingly hostile to Andrew.

Hearing of the Pope's reversal, a group of noble conspirators (the involvement of Queen Joanna remaining unproved) determined to forestall Andrew's coronation. During a hunting trip at Aversa, Andrew left his room in the middle of the night and was set upon by the conspirators. A treacherous servant barred the door behind him; and as Joanna cowered in their bed, a terrible struggle ensued, Andrew defending himself furiously and shrieking for aid. He was finally overpowered, strangled with a cord, and flung from a window. Isolde, Andrew's Hungarian nurse beheld the whole conflict, and took the Prince's corpse to the church of the monks, and remained with it until next morning sorrowing it. When the Hungarian knights arrived she told them everything in their mother tongue so no one else would learn about the truth, and soon they left Naples informing everything to the Hungarian King.

The deed would taint the rest of Joanna's reign, although she was twice acquitted of any charge in the trials that followed. Andrew's elder brother Louis I of Hungary several times invaded the Kingdom of Naples and drove out Joanna, only to meet with reverses. Ultimately, 37 years later, Louis' kinsman Charles III of Naples conquered Naples with Hungarian aid and put Joanna to death. She had been married three times more since Andrew.

Andrew and Joanna had one posthumous son, Charles Martel (Naples, 25 December 1345 – aft. 10 May 1348) who died young in Hungary.

Source 1
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