Maria of Calabria
Duchess of Durazzo
Countess of Avellino, Lady of Baux
Princess consort of Taranto and Achaea
titular Latin Empress consort
Tomb in Santa Chiara, in Naples
Born6 May 1329
Died20 May 1366(1366-05-20) (aged 37)
(m. 1343; died 1348)
Robert, Lord of Baux and Count of Avellino
(m. 1350; died 1353)
(m. 1355)
FatherCharles, Duke of Calabria
MotherMaria of Valois
ReligionRoman Catholic

Maria of Calabria (6 May 1329 – 20 May 1366) was a Neapolitan princess of the Capetian House of Anjou whose descendants inherited the crown of Naples following the death of her older sister, Queen Joanna I.


Early years

Maria was the fifth and posthumous child of Charles, Duke of Calabria (eldest son of King Robert the Wise of Naples), and Marie of Valois (sister of King Philip VI of France). She was born approximately six months following her father's death, on 9 November 1328.[1] At the time of her birth, from her older three sisters and one brother, only Joanna, born in March 1328, was alive. Two years later, on 23 October 1331, Marie of Valois died during a pilgrimage to Bari,[2] leaving Maria and her older sister (now heiress of the throne of Naples) orphans. Both were raised at the court of their paternal grandfather, King Robert, in Naples.

By a bull dated on 30 June 1332, Pope John XXII officially decreed that Maria and her older sister would be married to the sons of the King of Hungary, Charles I Robert: Joanna was betrothed with Andrew, while Maria was destined to his older brother and heir of the Hungarian throne, Louis; however, this engagement was conditioned that if Joanna died before her marriage could be consummated, then Maria would marry Andrew.[3] In this way, King Robert wanted to reconcile his bloodline with the descendants of his older brother, deprived from the crown of Naples in his favor.

The king died on 20 January 1343. By the provisions of his will, her elder sister Joanna was to become ruler of Naples, while Maria was not only given the County of Alba and a vast inheritance[4] but also was confirmed her betrothal with Louis of Hungary,[5] or in the case that this union never happened, the king instructed that she then could marry John, Duke of Normandy, heir of the French throne (although he was already married since 1332).

First marriage

Shortly after the death of her grandfather, however, Maria was abducted by Agnes of Périgord, widow of John, Duke of Durazzo. Agnes arranged the marriage of Maria to her son, Charles, Duke of Durazzo. The marriage took place on 21 April 1343, the bride being almost fourteen years old and the groom twenty.[4] They had five children:

Charles and Maria headed a faction opposing Queen Joanna and her second husband, Louis of Taranto. On 15 January 1348, Charles was named Lieutenant General and Governor of the Kingdom of Naples. The King and Queen had fled in the face of an invasion by the King of Hungary, Charles apparently seeing an opportunity to claim power in their absence. He was captured by the Hungarians only days later, near Aversa. On 23 January 1348, Charles was decapitated in front of San Pietro a Maiella. His period of power had lasted less than a week.[4] Maria had become a nineteen-year-old widow.

Second marriage

With Charles dead, Maria fled Naples for Avignon. She sought refuge at the court of Pope Clement VI. In 1348, the Black Death reached the Italian Peninsula, forcing the King of Hungary and the majority of his army to retreat back to their homeland in hope of escaping the spreading epidemic. Maria returned to Naples and settled at the Castel dell'Ovo.

According to the Chronicle of Parthénope, the Neapolitan princes whom King Louis of Hungary had imprisoned during his first campaign in Southern Italy proposed him to marry Maria, his previous bride. During the siege of Aversa in the summer of 1350, Louis met her envoy in the nearby Trentola-Ducenta and the terms of their marriage were accepted. However, before the marriage could take place, she was abducted again, this time by Hugh IV, Lord of Baux and Count of Avellino, who forced Maria to marry with his eldest son and heir, Robert.[3] They had no children.[a]

Hugh IV was murdered on the orders of Maria's brother-in-law Louis of Taranto, in 1351. Two years later (1353), Maria was finally rescued by King Louis of Hungary, but her husband Robert was captured and imprisoned by Louis of Taranto at Castel dell'Ovo, where he was killed by her orders. She reportedly witnessed the murder first hand.[6]

Third marriage

Shortly after her second husband's death, Maria was again imprisoned, this time by Louis of Taranto, and was released only after her marriage, in April 1355, to Philip II of Taranto, Louis' younger brother. They had three sons who died young: Philip (1356), Charles (1358), and Philip (1360). They also had two stillborn sons, in 1362 in 1366.[7][8]

In his will, Robert of Naples named Maria heir to the kingdom of Naples in the event that Joanna I died childless. When Maria died in 1366, her claims passed to her three surviving daughters, of whom the husband of the third eventually claimed the throne of Naples in 1382 as Charles III.[9] Maria died at age 37, probably from childbirth complications, and was buried at Santa Chiara Basilica, Naples.


  1. ^ Although in some sources it appears that this marriage produced four children – Raymond III, Francis, Phanette and Ettienette of Baux – they were Robert's siblings and not his children. The marriage of Raymond III with Jeanne de Montfort in 1358 supported from a chronological point this view. Source: Genealogy of the Family del Balzo (de Baux) at. [retrieved 8 January 2015].


  1. ^ Émile-G. Léonard: Histoire de Jeanne Ire, reine de Naples, comtesse de Provence (1343-1382) : La jeunesse de la reine Jeanne, t. I, Paris et Monaco, Auguste Picard, coll. « Mémoires et documents historiques », 1932, 730 p., p. 110.
  2. ^ Émile-G. Léonard: Histoire de Jeanne Ire, reine de Naples, comtesse de Provence (1343-1382) : La jeunesse de la reine Jeanne, t. I, Paris et Monaco, Auguste Picard, coll. « Mémoires et documents historiques », 1932, 730 p., p. 142
  3. ^ a b Nancy Goldstone: Joanna: The Notorious Queen Of Naples, Jerusalem And Sicily [retrieved 7 January 2015].
  4. ^ a b c Cawley, Charles (August 2012), Profile of Maria, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,[self-published source][better source needed]
  5. ^ Francesca Steele: The Beautiful Queen: Joanna I of Naples, retrieved 7 January 2015
  6. ^ Mihail-Dimitri Sturdza, Dictionnaire historique et Généalogique des grandes familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople (1983), p. 504.
  7. ^ Cawley, Charles (August 2012), Profile of Philip, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,[self-published source][better source needed]
  8. ^ Genealogy of the House of Anjou at. [retrieved 8 January 2015].
  9. ^ Marcelle-René Reynaud, Le temps des princes: Louis II & Louis III d’Anjou-Provence 1384-1434, Collection d’histoire et d’archéologie médiévales 7 (Lyon, France: Presses Universitaires, 2000), pp 20-21.
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Marie of Bourbon
Latin Empress consort of Constantinople
Reason for succession failure:
Conquest by Empire of Nicaea in 1261
Succeeded by
Elisabeth of Slavonia