Queen Natalia Obrenovic

Queen Natalia Obrenovic
Queen Natalia Obrenovic

She was born 2nd/14th May 1859 in Florence. Her father was Russian colonel Peter Kesko and her mother Princess Pulcheria Sturdza from Moldova.

She married King Milan on 5th/17th October 1875 and had with him the son Aleksandar, who was born the following year.

Great differences between the spouses led to their separation.

While Milan sought support in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Natalia turned more to Russia.

Natalia’s coldness and Milan’s hot temper led him to numerous love adventures which insulted Natalia.

She became very popular because of the care and effort for the wounded people during the war with Bulgaria in 1885.

An open and public conflict with Milan was arose in 1886 on the occasion of his relationship with Ms. Nasos.

This led to the divorce of the King and Queen in 1888. Marriage proved to be divorced in an irregular manner, which was later annulled. Milan abdicated in 1889, and, as part of his settlement with the ruling Radicals and the Regency, Queen Natalia was expelled from Serbia on June 1st 1891.

A formal but not essential reconciliation came in 1893, and in 1894, they were again admitted to the Royal House.

During the reign of her son Aleksandar, Natalia tried to be his chief adviser. She pledged for orientation to Russia and the Radicals, believing that without them there would be no political stability in Serbia.

She was mostly living in Biarritz, France, in a villa called Sasino. She came to Belgrade in 1895 and in 1897, when she again clashed with King Milan. In her company, Draga Lunjevica came with her as a Court Lady and Aleksandar definitely fell in love.

Many disagreements with her son brought his wedding with Dragа Lunjevicа in 1900. The biggest blow came on May 29th/11th June 1903, when a group of “officers”, in a terrible way, unthinkable in Europe at the time, killed Aleksandar.

After 1903, she found some consolation in the company of a Spanish Catholic family, and she converted to Catholic faith and became a nun. She died on May 5th 1941 in Saint-Denis Monastery near Paris, and was buried at the Lardi cemetery near Paris. Her memoirs are kept in the Vatican and are not yet published.

After the May coup in 1903, all the property of the Obrenovic family, which was not illegally seized, went to Queen Natalia Obrenovic. She became a great benefactor. By her will, large estates in Serbia were given to Belgrade University and monasteries and churches that were foundations of the Obrenovic family

And one part of the money and of the artistic paintings were determined to be given to the living descendants of Lord Jakov Obrenovic, the brother of Prince Milos Obrenovic.

In 1903 Queen Natalia wanted to give properties in Serbia to the family Jakovljevic (descendants of Jakov Obrenovic), but they did not dare to accept it for fear of the former Karadjordjevic Dynasty, so that more than 7700 hectares of forest were given to Belgrade University.

The content of the will is unknown and there are only speculations about it. What can be said with certainty is that the personal diary of Queen Natalia has been preserved. Artworks are located in museums and private collections.