King of Hungary and Crotia, Duke of Styria
Oldest son of King Andrew II and his first of three wives, Gertrude of Merania.
Husband of Maria Laskarina 1208-1270, daughter of Theodore I Laskaris, the Emperor of Nicaea. They married about 1220 and became the parents of:
* Kunigunda b 1224 married Boleslaw the Chaste, Duke of Cracow
* Margaret 1225-1242 unmarried
* Anna b 1226 married Rostislav Mikhailovich of the Rurik dynasty of Russia
* Catherina died unmarried before 1242
* Elizabeth married Henry XIII Duke of Bavaria abt 1245
* Constance married Lev Danylovich abt 1251
* Yolanda married Boleslaw the Pious, Duke of Poland
* Stephen b 1239, succeeded his father
* Margaret b 1242, became a nun
* Bela b 1243 to 1250
His father’s rule was so unpopular his son was crowned by a group of prominent noblemen in 1214. In 1220 his father acquiesced and was appointed Bela to be Duke of Slavonia with control over Croatia and Dalmatia. After the Mongols invaded and destroyed much of the lands, Bela made decisions concerning rebuilding, following in the footsteps and philosophy of his grandfather, Bela III, that would win him the title of “second founder.”
After Bela’s mother was murdered by conspirators 28 Sept 1213, his father executed only the leader and pardoned the remaining members, causing permanent estrangement between the two.
After two years of marriage, Andrew convinced Bela to leave Maria, but the Pope Honorius III refused to declare the marriage annulled. Bela took Maria and fled to Austria to avoid his father’s wrath. Eventually the Pope interceded between father and son, Bela took over control of Slavonia, Dalmatia and Croatia. One of Bela’s most interesting rules would be to have all the advisor’s seats burned so they would have to stand in the presence of their king.
The unease between Bela and his father increased when Andrew married his third wife, Yolanda de Courtenay, about 1198. His father would die in 1235, Bela was crowned 14 October and would accuse his step-mother and his father’s advisor, Denis, of adultery, and had them both imprisoned.
Despite unease with his oldest son, as he favored his youngest son, Bela crowned Stephen a junior king. Stephen gathered an army against his father and convinced him to cede him the government of Transylvania in 1258Despite joining forces in 1261 against Bulgaria, father and son would continue their conflicts until two archbishops interceded, and Stephen took control of the Kingdom of the East Danube.
When his youngest and favorite son, Bela, died in 1269, he favored his daughter, Anna, and her husband, now the Prince of Novgood and Tsar of Bulgaria. Bela’s will urged his followers to abide by his son-in-law as he still did not trust his first born son, Stephen, who would rule Hungary amidst battles against Anna until his death in on Csepel Island in 1272.
Béla's family was famed for his piety: he died as a Franciscan tertiary, and the veneration of his three saintly daughters—Kunigunda, Yolanda, and Margaret—was confirmed by the Holy See.
Bio by Anne Stevens
Gravesite Details Find a Grave does not have the capital city of the Hungarian county of Komárom-Esztergom, which it DOES have, so here is the church of his burial: Esztergom Franciscan Minorite Church, Komárom-Esztergom, Hungary. Lat, Long: 48.082086, 19.518007