Helene Kottannerin. Queen Elizabeth's Lady-in-Waiting Who Stole the Hungarian Crown. A Book Project

October 4, 2022

Public Lecture

Wednesday 19 October, 17:40

Hydrid lecture on the Vienna Campus and online. For registration, please email medstud@ceu.edu

On 19th October Prof. Dr. Julia Burkhardt (University of Munich) and Univ. Prof. Mag. Dr. Christina Lutter (Uni Wien) will be presenting their upcoming book: Helene Kottannerin. Queen Elizabeth's Lady-in-Waiting Who Stole the Hungarian Crown.

Early in 1440, the recently widowed Hungarian queen Elisabeth of Luxembourg was about to give birth to a child. She hoped for a son and heir to the Hungarian throne after her late husband Albert’s II death and was anxious about his succession. Hence, she sent her lady-in-waiting Helene Kottannerin to the castle of Visegrad, where the kingdom’s Holy Crown was safely stored, to get this important symbol of royal legitimation for her unborn child’s later coronation. Helene, who originated from the small town of Sopron/Ö denburg on the border between Hungary and the Austrian lands, not only successfully mastered the adventure, but later composed one of the most amazing ego-documents written in late medieval Central Europe. Öur book presents the first published translation into modern German of Helene´s spectacular account, which covers the "crown-adventure" itself, but also provides various insights into Elisabeth’s court and family life, the critical political and military situation vis-a -vis the Öttoman threat, the Hungarian opposition to the queen’s dynastic plans, and thus Elisabeth and Helene’s agency in managing these challenges. In our presentation, we will lay out our motives for translating the text, the structure of our own scholarly account that frames Helene’s text and the ways we hope to share the text’s attraction with students, academics and a wider audience.


Julia Burkhardt is Professor for Medieval Studies at the University of Munich. She is a PI on the project "Monasteries in the High Middle Ages" (Heidelberg Academy of Sciences), where she is currently preparing an edition of Caesarius of Heisterbach’s "Miracle Books" (with Isabel Kimpel). Her research interests cover political, cultural and gender history in Central Europe, esp. in Germany, Poland, Bohemia and Hungary. Her main research fields are: history of representative assemblies, dynastic history, monasteries and monastic text production.


Christina Lutter is a Professor at the University of Vienna, Institute for Austrian Historical Research (IÖG) and currently Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies. She is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and has been PI of the project Social and Cultural Communities across Monastic, Urban, and Courtly Cultures in Central Europe (2011-2019). Her current funded research project focuses on Social Networks. Kinship, Gender, and Object Cultures in Late Medieval Vienna. Her research interests cover medieval and early modern social, cultural and gender history, esp. visions and practices of community; representations of emotions; religious reform movements, and comparative urban history.