Princess Anka Obrenović
Princess Anka Obrenović (later Anka Konstantinović, ; 1 April 1821 – 10 June 1868 [29 May o.s.]) was a member of the Serbian royal Obrenović dynasty
House of Obrenovic
The House of Obrenović was a Serbian dynasty that ruled Serbia from 1815 to 1842, and again from 1858 to 1903. They came to power through the leadership of their progenitor Miloš Obrenović in the Second Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which led to the formation of the Principality of...

 as the niece of the dynasty's founder Miloš Obrenović I, Prince of Serbia
Miloš Obrenovic I, Prince of Serbia
Miloš Obrenović was Prince of Serbia from 1815 to 1839, and again from 1858 to 1860. He participated in the First Serbian Uprising, led Serbs in the Second Serbian Uprising, and founded the House of Obrenović...

. She was also a society leader and writer whose translations in 1836 were the first literary works compiled by a woman to be published in Serbia. She was the inspiration for a poem by renowned Croatian poet Antun Mihanović
Antun Mihanovic
Antun Mihanović was a notable Croatian poet and lyricist, most famous for writing the national anthem of Croatia, which was put to music by Josif Runjanin and adopted in 1891. Klanjec, his birthplace, holds a monument to him and a gallery of his works.Mihanović studied law and worked as a military...

, who had wished to marry her when she was 16 and he 41. In 1860, she established one of the first Serbian salon
Salon (gathering)
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to...

s in her home in Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

. She was also known as "Anka pomodarka" ("Anka the fashionable").

She was assassinated alongside her first cousin Mihailo Obrenović III, who was the ruler of the Principality of Serbia at the time.

It was due to his marriage to Princess Anka's granddaughter Natalija Konstantinović
Natalija Konstantinović
Natalija Konstantinović was a Princess of Montenegro as the wife of Prince Mirko Petrović-Njegoš. The couple had five sons; however, two died in early childhood. They divorced in 1917, a year after the royal family was forced to flee the kingdom...

, that Mirko, Prince of Montenegro was promised the Serbian crown. The present day pretender to the defunct throne of Montenegro is a descendant of Anka, and it's via her line that the family of Obrenović continues.


Princess Anka was born on 1 April 1821, the third daughter of Gospodar
Hospodar or gospodar is a term of Slavonic origin, meaning "lord" or "master".The rulers of Wallachia and Moldavia were styled hospodars in Slavic writings from the 15th century to 1866. Hospodar was used in addition to the title voivod...

 Jevram Obrenović and Thomanija Bogičević, daughter of Vojvoda Antonije Bogičević. Her father, who also served as Governor of Belgrade and Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of Serbia (1839), was a younger brother of Serbian Prince Miloš Obrenović I. Her paternal grandparents were Teodor Mihailović, who had been an impoverished peasant originally from Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, and Višnja Gojković. She had four sisters, Jelena, Simeona, Jekaterina, and Anastasia; and one brother, Miloš, whose son would later reign as Prince Milan IV and King Milan I.

Early literary achievements

She was described as having been "very beautiful, very intelligent, and well-educated". She was evidently more modern than Prince Miloš's daughters Petrija and Savka, who still wore traditional Turkish garb. In fact, an extant painting of Anka shows her seated at her piano wearing a fashionable and elegant gown. She was actually one of the few people in Serbia at that time who owned and played the piano, thanks to her family's wealth. It was Anka's very modernity that later earned her the sobriquet
A sobriquet is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation...

 Anka pomodarka ("Anka the fashionable")

A Frenchman who met Anka commented on her good looks, wit, and considerable accomplishments; her ability to speak French was rare among her contemporaries. Her father, Jevram was the first man in Belgrade to introduce Western European customs and manners into his home; he also owned an extensive library. His love of literature was shared by Anka, who along with her siblings, received an excellent education from one of the best tutors in Serbia. At the age of 13, Anka published a number of parables which she had painstakingly translated from the original German, a language in which she was also fluent. She went on to have her writings published in a variety of periodicals, including the literary journal Danica ilirska, in which she used her pseudonym, "An Illyrian woman from Serbia". Two years later, in 1836, she published a compilation of her translations which was the first literary work ever published by a woman in Serbia, and possibly one of the first books to be printed in that nation.

Anka, still in her teens, attracted and inspired many poets, some of whom dedicated poems as well as entire volumes of poetry to her, enthusiastically comparing her to the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 female poet, Sappho
Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life...

 as well as the Milesian Aspasia
Aspasia was a Milesian woman who was famous for her involvement with the Athenian statesman Pericles. Very little is known about the details of her life. She spent most of her adult life in Athens, and she may have influenced Pericles and Athenian politics...

, whose wit and coversation had drawn the greatest writers and philosophers in Athens. Croatian poet Antun Mihanović
Antun Mihanovic
Antun Mihanović was a notable Croatian poet and lyricist, most famous for writing the national anthem of Croatia, which was put to music by Josif Runjanin and adopted in 1891. Klanjec, his birthplace, holds a monument to him and a gallery of his works.Mihanović studied law and worked as a military...

, who was the Austrian consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

 in Belgrade and a frequent visitor to her father's home, fell deeply in love with her and sought her hand in marriage. She was 16 years old at the time and he was 41. While the proposal met with her father's approval, Anka's autocratic uncle Prince Miloš adamantly refused to give his consent to the match, possibly because Mihanović was Roman Catholic, while Anka and the royal family were Serbian Orthodox
Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia...

. In 1839, Mihanović departed from Serbia; it's not known whether he and Anka ever met again. In 1840 he wrote a poem about Anka which he entitled "The Stone Maiden" and which was published in 1844 in the Danica ilirska.

Marriage and issue

In 1842, she married Commandant
Commandant is a senior title often given to the officer in charge of a large training establishment or academy. This usage is common in anglophone nations...

 Alexander Konstantinović (son of Istvan Constantinovics de Germán, of the Nobility of Banat
The Banat is a geographical and historical region in Central Europe currently divided between three countries: the eastern part lies in western Romania , the western part in northeastern Serbia , and a small...

), by whom she had two children:
  • Colonel Alexander Konstantinović (died 1914), married Milena Opuić, by whom he had two daughters, Natalija
    Natalija Konstantinović
    Natalija Konstantinović was a Princess of Montenegro as the wife of Prince Mirko Petrović-Njegoš. The couple had five sons; however, two died in early childhood. They divorced in 1917, a year after the royal family was forced to flee the kingdom...

     and Vladimira.
  • Katarina Konstantinovic
    Katarina Konstantinović
    Katarina Konstantinović was a Serbian noblewoman and a descendant of the Obrenović dynasty as the daughter of Princess Anka Obrenović. She was also the first cousin of King Milan I to whom she acted as his de facto first lady of the royal court after the Queen, Natalie Keshko, separated from...

     (1848–1910), married firstly in 1868 General Milivoje Blaznavac
    Milivoje Petrović Blaznavac
    General Milivoje Petrović Blaznavac was Serbian soldier and politician. His father, Petar, was a rural merchant and shopkeeper from Blaznava, although a story circulated that his real father was Prince Miloš Obrenović. He finished elementary school and painting craft...

     (16 May 1824- 5 April 1873), by whom she had issue; she married secondly, Mihajlo Bogičević (1843–1899).

In 1860, she established one of the first Serbian salons at her home. Anka's "art gathering" as the Serbs called it, "greatly influenced the spiritual rebirth of Serbian society in the 1860s". Anka invited the most prominent artistic and intellectual women in Belgrade, as well as the wives of foreign diplomats to her celebrated salon, which featured musical performances along with readings of Serbian, French, German, and Italian poetry. Discussions about politics and current affairs also took place at the meetings.

Sometime after her husband's death, Princess Anka and her daughter, Katarina were invited by her cousin Prince Mihailo to live at the royal court. On an unknown date, Anka gave birth to an illegitimate daughter by her former brother-in-law, Jovan Ghermani, who was the husband of her late sister, Simeona, who had died in 1837 at the age of 19. Anka bestowed her dead sister's name on her daughter. The child, Simeona (died 1915) would later go on to marry an important Romanian minister, Alexander Lakhovari
Alexandru Lahovary
Alexandru Lahovary was a member of the Romanian aristocracy, a politician and diplomat who served as the Minister of Justice, Minister of Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Property, Minister of Public Works and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of Romania....

 (1841–1897), by whom she had issue; and she would serve Queen consort Elisabeth of Romania
Elisabeth of Wied
-Titles and styles:*29 December 1843 – 15 November 1869: Her Serene Highness Princess Elisabeth of Wied*15 November 1869 – 26 March 1881: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Romania...

 as one of her ladies-in-waiting
A lady-in-waiting is a female personal assistant at a royal court, attending on a queen, a princess, or a high-ranking noblewoman. Historically, in Europe a lady-in-waiting was often a noblewoman from a family highly thought of in good society, but was of lower rank than the woman on whom she...



Since the death of Prince Milos in September 1860, his only surviving son and Anka's first cousin, Prince Mihailo had ruled Serbia for the second time after being deposed in 1842 in favour of Alexander Karadordevic
Alexander Karadordevic, Prince of Serbia
Aleksandar Karađorđević was the prince of Serbia between 1842 and 1858. He was a member of the House of Karađorđević.-Early life:...

. He was described as having been an educated and cultured man, as well as the most enlightened of Serbian rulers. Anka's daughter Katarina was his mistress who nurtured hopes of one day becoming his wife as Mihailo's marriage to Countess Julia Hunyady de Kéthely
Julia Hunyady de Kéthely
Countess Júlia Hunyady de Kéthely , was a Hungarian noblewoman and the Princess consort of Serbia as the wife of Mihailo Obrenović III. She remained a widow for seven and a half years after his assassination in 1868, until January 1876 she married her lover, Duke Karl von Arenberg, Prince von...

 was childless, and he had begun to consider a divorce, with the aim of making Katarina his consort. On 10 June 1868 Anka, Katarina, and Prince Mihailo were taking a stroll through the park of Kosutnjak
Košutnjak is a park-forest and urban neighborhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is divided between in the municipalities of Čukarica and Rakovica .-Location:...

, near Mihailo's country residence on the outskirts of Belgrade, when they were shot by assassins believed to be in the pay of the Obrenović's rival dynasty, the Karađorđevićs. Mihailo was killed, and Katarina wounded; Anka allegedly fought bravely with her attackers before she was also shot dead.

The Serbian newspapers announced her death with the obituary: "With his Royal Highness, his cousin Mrs.Note: This is possibly mistranslated by the author from the original Serbian gospoda which could also mean Lady Anka Konstantinovic was also killed".


In 1902, Princess Anka's granddaughter, Natalija Konstantinović married Prince Mirko of Montenegro. The king who sat on the Serbian throne was Anka's great-nephew Alexander I who was married to the much older and unpopular, Draga Mašin. As Princess Natalija was Anka's granddaughter, thus a descendant of the Obrenović dynasty, the Serbian government promised that should Alexander die childless, which seemed likely after Queen Draga's false pregnancies and encroaching age, the crown of Serbia would pass to Prince Mirko.
Events, however did not proceed according to the hopes of Prince Mirko and Princess Natalija. Following the brutal assassination
May Overthrow
The May Overthrow was a 1903 coup d'état in which the Serbian King Alexander Obrenović and his wife, Queen Draga, were assassinated inside the Royal Palace in Belgrade on the night between 28 and 29 May 1903 by the Julian calendar...

 of King Alexander and Queen Draga by a group of Army officers led by Captain Dragutin Dimitrijevic Apis on the night of 10/11 June 1903 (by the New Style calendar), the crown instead passed to Peter Karađorđević, who was viewed as pro-Russian, while the rival Obrenovics were known allies of the detested Habsburgs. Peter was the preferred candidate for the throne in the tide of Pan-Slavic
Pan-Slavism was a movement in the mid-19th century aimed at unity of all the Slavic peoples. The main focus was in the Balkans where the South Slavs had been ruled for centuries by other empires, Byzantine Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Venice...

 nationalism that had engulfed Serbia since the mid-19th century.

Princess Anka's descendants are the only known surviving line of the Obrenović dynasty, which became extinct in the male line upon the regicide
The broad definition of regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a monarch. In a narrower sense, in the British tradition, it refers to the judicial execution of a king after a trial...

of King Alexander. The modern pretender to the defunct Montenegrin throne is her descendant.
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