16 March 2015

Zorka of Montenegro

By Miguelemejia via Wikimedia Commons
On March 16, 1890, a young princess lost her life. Born Princess Ljubica of Montenegro (1864-1890), she is better known to history as Princess Zorka, wife of Peter of Serbia, the future King of the land that would later be known at Yugoslavia.

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. 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:


  1. "... she had yet another stormy argument with her husband, while heavily pregnant with her first child"; by the word "first" here you do mean "last", I suppose?

  2. Lovely photo of Zorka. I recently read "Nicola and Milena: King and Queen of Black Mountain" - enjoyed learning more about Montenegro's little known royal family