|By Miguelemejia via Wikimedia Commons|
Zorka was the oldest child of King Nicholas I of Montenegro. She and her sisters were educated in Russia, by invitation of the Russian czar, who saw himself as the head of all Slavic princes. Zorka returned home at age 18 to marry the exiled Prince Peter Karageorgevich of Serbia. The couple settled in Montenegro, while Peter remained one of the contenders for the Serbian throne. Within a year, Zorka gave birth to her first child, a daughter, followed quickly by another daughter, who lived only a year. Then, followed two sons.
Zorka's personality has been described as "exuberant"--her sisters also were high-spirited. Two of them married Russian grand dukes, cousins of Czar Nicholas II, and it was they who introduced Rasputin to the Imperial family. Another sister is remembered for her impassioned reign as Queen of Italy. Zorka would leave no such claims to infamy or fame.
Instead, it is said, she had yet another stormy argument with her husband, while heavily pregnant with her last child. The fight caused her to fall down the stairs and pushed her into labor. She died that day, March 16. She was 25. Her new baby, a son named Andrew, died before the day was through.
Prince Peter stayed in Montenegro for a few more years before taking his surviving children to live in Paris. In 1903, he finally became King of Serbia. He never remarried.
Books about Zorka: