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A Brave Woman Steals the Royal Crown – Helene Kottannerin (c. 1400-after 1458)
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When they were about to celebrate the Mass, I had to lift up the young king and hold his grace while they confirmed him. And Nicholas Ujláki, the Lord of Freistadt, had been appointed to dub the young king a knight and thus make him rightly a true lord of the realm. And the noble Count Cillei had a sword all mounted with silver and gold, on which was written the motto: “Invincible.” And this same sword he presented to the young king so that with it he could be made a knight. Then I, Helene Kottanner, took the king in my arms, and the Lord of Freistadt took the sword in his hand and made the king a knight, but he hit him so hard with the sword that I could feel the blow in my arm. The noble queen, who stood beside me, had noticed this, and she said to the Lord of Freistadt: “Az istenért, még ne sértsd!” which means: “For God’s sake, don’t hurt him.” Then he said: “Nem,” which means: “No,” and he laughed. Then the Right Reverend Prelate, Archbishop of Gran, took the holy oil and anointed the noble royal child king. Then they dressed him in the golden gown that is worn by all kings. Then the archbishop took the Holy Crown and placed it on the head of the noblest king who ever lived in holy Christendom, King Lászlá, son of King Albert, grandson of Emperor Sigmund, who was crowned with the Holy Crown in Stuhlweissenburg on the holy day of Pentecost by the Archbishop of Gran.

For they have three laws in the kingdom of Hungary, and if a monarch fails to observe even one of them, the people refuse to acknowledge him as their rightful king. The first law requires that the king of Hungary be crowned with the Holy Crown. The second, that he be crowned by the Archbishop of Gran. The third, that the coronation take place in Stuhlweissenburg (12). All three laws were carefully observed in the case of the noble King Ladislaus, and on the day on which his grace was crowned, he was exactly twelve weeks old. And you probably know that as the Archbishop placed the Holy Crown on the child’s head and held it there, he held up his head with the strength of a one-year-old, and that is rarely seen in children of twelve weeks.

When the noble King Lászlá had been crowned in my arms at the altar of Saint Stephen, I carried the noble king up a small flight of stairs to a platform, as is the tradition there. Then they read the coronation charter, which is part of the ceremony. For this they needed a golden cloth for the king to sit on, as is the custom there. Therefore, to comply with this rule, I took from his cradle a cover, red and golden and banded with white ermine. And notice how the colors red and white once again came together by chance. Then the noble king was held on the golden cloth and Count Ulrich Cillei held the Crown over his head until we finished singing the Mass. But the noble young king had little joy of his coronation, for he cried so loud that it could be heard throughout the entire church and the common people marveled and said that it was not the voice of a child of twelve weeks but rather of a one-year-old, which he really was not. Then the lord of Freistadt, Nicholas Ujláki, bestowed knighthood on behalf of the noble King Lászlá.



(12) The “laws” enumerated and described here were unwritten rules, legal traditions which, with the exception of the first one, were observed without interruption from 1001 to 1526. The only Hungarian king who was not crowned with the Holy Crown of Saint Stephen was Elizabeth’s opponent Wladislaus, King of Poland, who was crowned by the Archbishop of Gran on 17 July 1440, only two months after the Archbishop had crowned Elizabeth’s son.

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