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Mary of Enghien
Mary of Enghien.jpg
Portrait of Mary of Enghien, Queen of Naples, first half of 15th century, fresco in Basilica of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Galatina (Lecce)
Countess of Lecce
PredecessorPeter of Enghien
SuccessorGiovanni Antonio Orsini Del Balzo
Queen consort of Naples
Tenure1406 – 6 August 1414
Born1367 or 1370
Died9 May 1446
SpouseRaimondo Orsini Del Balzo
Ladislaus of Naples
Caterina del Balzo Orsini
Giovanni Antonio Orsini Del Balzo
FatherJohn of Enghien
MotherSancia Del Balzo

Mary of Enghien, also known as Maria d'Enghien (1367 or 1370 – 9 May 1446), was Countess of Lecce from 1384 to 1446 and Queen of Naples and titular Queen of Sicily, Jerusalem and Hungary from 1406 to 1414 by marriage to Ladislaus of Naples.[1]


Early life

Probably born in Lecce, she was the daughter of John of Enghien, Count of Castro, and Sancia Del Balzo. Her father was the third son of Isabella of Brienne (who died in 1360) and her husband, Walter of Enghien (who died in 1345).

Her paternal grandmother Isabella survived her brother Walter VI of Brienne, titular Duke of Athens etc., who died without issue at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. As his heir, she became Countess of Lecce and Brienne etc. and titular Duchess of Athens. As her eldest son, Walter, had died before her brother, her second son, Sohier of Enghien, became her heir. She allowed her inherited lands to be divided among her numerous children during her lifetime. Mary's father, the third (but second surviving) son, had received the County of Lecce and the Lordship of Castro.

Countess of Lecce

Mary's father, John, died in 1380, leaving minor children. Mary's brother Peter of Enghien, also known as Pyrrhus (Pyrro or Pirro), became Count of Lecce. However, Peter died childless in 1384 and was succeeded by Mary and her husband, Raimondo del Balzo Orsini di Nola, whom she married in Taranto the same year.

Chroniclers describe her as beautiful, fearless and adventurous: adored by her children, loved by her first husband, besieged by King Ladislaus of Naples and treated cruelly by the king's sister.

She stayed in her castles of Lecce and Copertino when Raimondo travelled and served the king against the papal troops and the supporters of the junior Angevin line. She was occupied by her children, Marias, Caterina, Giovanni Antonio and Gabriele.

Raimondo became Prince of Taranto (in her hereditary rights) and died in 1406.

Queen of Naples

After her husband's death, she was besieged in Taranto (1406) and resisted the troops of Ladislaus until he decided to propose to her. Thus forced to marry Ladislaus, the wedding took place in the chapel of the Castle of Taranto. Her second marriage remained childless. Ladislaus died on 6 August 1414; his sister and successor, Joanna II of Naples, described as cruel, hated Mary and imprisoned her. However, Joanna's husband, James II, Count of La Marche, soon allowed her to leave. She returned to Lecce after Joanna had expelled her and her children from the royal estates to Tarentine lands.

Mary lived a long life and died in Lecce at the age of 78. In 1444 she witnessed the marriage of her granddaughter Isabella of Clermont, daughter of Tristan and Catherine and heiress to considerable feudal estates in Southern Italy, to Ferdinand of Aragon. He was the illegitimate son of King Alfonso V of Aragon, who had conquered Southern Italy in 1441.


Peter Paul Rubens's copy of The Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci. Allegedly the knight at far right is Giovanni Orsini.
Peter Paul Rubens's copy of The Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci. Allegedly the knight at far right is Giovanni Orsini.

Her children were:


  1. ^ "MARIA d'Enghien, regina di Sicilia in "Dizionario Biografico"".
Royal titles Preceded byMary of Lusignan Queen consort of Naples 1406 – 6 August 1414 Succeeded byJames II, Count of La Marche Regnal titles Preceded byPeter of Enghien Countess of Lecce 1384–1446with Raimondo Orsini Del Balzo and Ladislaus of Naples Succeeded byGiovanni Antonio Orsini Del Balzo