Queen Maria of Sicily was born in Catania, in the Ursino Castle, between 1362 and 1363.
She reigned in Sicily from 1377 to 1401.
She descended directly from Peter III of Aragon and Constance of Hohenstaufen, last of the Swabian family.
She inherited the crown of the kingdom of Sicily and the duchies of Athens and Neopatria at the age of about fifteen, and remained under the protection of Artale I Alagona, great executioner of the kingdom, lord of Paternò, already his godfather of baptism.
Since the king of Sicily Frederick III had forbidden the descent by female line, Queen Mary had to undergo the hostility of the great Sicilian barons.
A particular aspect of these hostilities was about the man the queen was supposed to marry: Artale Alagona proposed the duke of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti, but some barons preferred a Spanish influence.
Among these, Guglielmo Raimondo Moncada count of Augusta kidnapped the queen from the Ursino Castle on the night of 23 January 1379, with the approval and help of the king of the Crown of Aragon, Peter IV of Aragon, who later took control of the situation, appointing his son viceroy, Martin I.
Maria was then taken to the castle of Licata, where she remained about two years; it was then transferred from Moncada to the castle of Augusta, where remained besieged by Artale Alagona for other two years.
Later Maria was transferred first to Sardinia and finally to Barcelona, to the court of King Peter IV of Aragon where, on 24 June 1391, between the protests of the Sicilian barons and Pope Urban VI, she married Martin the young, eldest son of the future king of Aragon Martino the Elder.
In 1392 the royal couple went to Sicily and were crowned in the cathedral of Palermo.
Maria, who survived her only son Pietro (1394-1400), died of a plague in the castle of Lentini on 25 May 1401; with her the Aragonese-Sicilian dynasty became extinct; it started with her's great-grandfather, Frederick III of Aragon.
She was buried in the chapel of the Madonna del Rosario (Cathedral of Catania): she shares the great sarcophagus with King Federico III, with King Ludovico, with the Duke of Randazzo and the little Federico, his son.
Today we discover...
Grifeo Castle of Partanna
One of the best preserved western Sicilian castles
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