Anastasia of Kyiv – An Influential Hungarian Queen

anastasia of kyiv
King Solomon being cursed by his mother, Anastasia (public domain)

Yaroslav, the Wise, Grand Prince of Kyiv, had at least three daughters: Elisaveta, Anastasia, and Anna. From early on, he wanted them all to make prestigious marriages. He succeeded in this, and each of these three daughters married kings.

Early Life

Anastasia of Kyiv was born sometime in the 1020s to Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kyiv and Ingegerd Olafsdotter of Sweden. She had at least six brothers and at least two sisters. Like her, both of her sisters would later become queens. Elisaveta married Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, and Anna married Henry I, King of France. We know little about Anastasia’s upbringing, but it is fair to assume she was well-educated. We don’t have anything signed by Anastasia, but there are charters signed by her sister, Anna, who became Queen of France, so it is likely that she received a similar education and was literate. After all, Yaroslav’s court had a reputation for being a centre of learning.

Yaroslav was also known to have sheltered exiled foreign princes. These princes included Harald and Magnus of Norway, Andrew of Hungary, and Edmund and Edward of England. Elisaveta would marry Harald, Anastasia would marry Andrew, and Edward’s wife, Agatha, was possibly another of Yaroslav’s daughters, but that is far from certain.


Around 1031, Vazul, the father of Andrew of Hungary, was blinded by his cousin, King Stephen of Hungary, who wanted to remove him from the line of succession. Vazul died soon afterwards, and his sons, including Andrew, fled to Bohemia. They eventually went to Poland and then to Kyiv, where they lived at the court of Grand Prince Yaroslav.

Here, Andrew and Anastasia would have met for the first time. When Stephen died in 1038, he was succeeded by Peter Orseolo, his nephew in the female line. Stephen’s brother-in-law, Samuel Aba, also claimed the Hungarian throne. As a member of the royal Arpad dynasty, Andrew’s claim was supported by Yaroslav.

Yaroslav used both his sons and daughters for dynastic alliances. Due to his support for Andrew, the latter got to marry Anastasia. The date of their marriage is disputed. The earliest date is 1038 or 1039, and the latest date is 1050. If it happened during the earlier date, they would have been married in the Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Kyiv, according to the Byzantine rite. Even though this marriage was mainly political, it is also believed to be a love match. Andrew and Anastasia had two sons, Solomon and David. There might have also been one or two daughters. Andrew had a daughter named Adelaide, who married Duke Vratislaus II of Bohemia. It is possible that she was born from an earlier marriage of Andrew’s, especially if he married Anastasia around 1050. There also might have been another daughter named Euphemia, who married Otto of Bohemia, Duke of Olomouc, but she could possibly be the daughter of Andrew’s brother, Bela.

Queen of Hungary

In 1046, the Hungarian nobles became dissatisfied with King Peter and his pro-German policies. They rebelled and invited Andrew to Hungary. Yaroslav supplied Andrew, who was still living at his court, with an army and money. With Yaroslav’s help, Andrew was able to return to Hungary, depose Peter, and become king. That same year, he was crowned King Andrew I of Hungary.

At the beginning of his reign, Andrew had no sons, so he chose his brother, Bela, as his heir. Andrew made Bela a duke and gave him a third of the kingdom. By 1055, Bela was pushed back two places in the line of succession since Anastasia had given birth to two sons, Solomon and David.

Anastasia seems to have settled in as Queen of Hungary relatively quickly, but she still missed her homeland. Andrew purchased a castle and forest for her in present-day Slovakia because it was closer to Rus and reminded her of her homeland. Anastasia was involved in the founding of several monasteries during Andrew’s reign. These monasteries followed the Greek rite rather than the Latin rite, which was used in Hungary at the time. Under Anastasia’s invitation, Rus monks came to Hungary.

Around 1057, Andrew came down with an illness that left him paralyzed. Due to this, it is believed that Anastasia took on a powerful role at court and may have even ruled the kingdom herself. In 1058, five-year-old Solomon was crowned as Junior King, possibly due to Anastasia’s influence. That same year, Solomon was betrothed to Judith of Swabia, the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Henry III. These actions were done to make sure Solomon had a smooth accession to the throne. However, Bela, who was previously Andrew’s heir, was angered by these actions. He wanted to be king himself.

In 1059, Bela fled to Poland, where his wife was from. With the help of the Polish Duke, Boleslaw II, Bela’s nephew by marriage, he soon invaded Hungary. Anastasia and her children fled to Margrave Ernst of Austria for protection. A battle was fought between the two brothers, and Bela won. Andrew tried to flee to Austria, but he died on the way, soon before December 1060.


Bela was crowned as King of Hungary on 6 December 1060. With her husband dead, Anastasia sought help from abroad. She could not return to her native Rus since the reigning prince, her brother Izyaslav, supported Bela. Through his marriage to Gertrude of Poland, Izyaslav was brother-in-law to Bela. Instead, Anastasia and her children went to Bavaria.

Anastasia still hoped that her son, Solomon, would become King of Hungary. However, political problems kept Anastasia and her sons in Germany for the next couple of years. In August 1063, she met with the young German king, Henry IV, in Regensburg. Henry’s sister, Judith, was married to Solomon around this time. There, Anastasia begged Henry for help. He supplied her and Solomon with an army to invade Hungary. However, Bela died soon after a bizarre accident in September when the throne he was sitting on collapsed. Solomon’s forces started to make their move, and Bela’s sons fled.

Solomon’s Reign

Soon after returning to Hungary, Solomon was crowned King. Since he was only ten years old, Anastasia became his regent. Around this time, Anastasia gave a special gift to Otto, Duke of Bavaria, who had led the German troops in Solomon’s campaign for the throne. She presented him with a sword that, according to legend, belonged to Attila the Hun. This gift shows that she was very grateful to Otto for his support.

Some believe that Anastasia married for a second time to the German count, Potho. Potho was one of the leaders of the German army. However, it seems like most believe this marriage never happened. Not much is known about Anastasia’s role as regent. She did not act alone and was assisted by the bishops and noblemen of Hungary. Solomon’s minority probably ended before 1071.

Throughout his reign, Solomon remained at odds with his cousins, Geza, Ladislaus, and Lampert, the sons of Bela. Solomon was also known to be irresponsible and relied heavily on a Hungarian nobleman named Vid. In 1074, Geza, who had his eye on the Hungarian throne, went to war against Solomon. With the help of the Polish, Geza defeated Solomon in battle. Solomon soon fled to Anastasia, who was in the city of Musun, near the Austrian border. Here, a heated argument broke out between Anastasia and Solomon. Anastasia scolded Solomon for ignoring her council and relying too much on the nobleman, Vid. In response, Solomon raised his hand and was about to slap Anastasia, but her daughter-in-law, Judith, seized his hand in order to prevent him from doing so.


After this incident, it is believed that Anastasia settled in the Abbey of Admont in Styria, Austria. Solomon made several unsuccessful attempts to retake the Hungarian throne. He died childless in exile in 1087. It is uncertain what happened to Anastasia after 1074. Most believe she spent her final years in the Abbey of Admont. Some believe that she may have become a nun there. The date of her death is not known. At the latest, Anastasia would have died in 1094 or 1096 when she was first mentioned as deceased. It is also not known where she was buried, but most believe it was at the Abbey of Admont.

Although we don’t know much about her regency, Anastasia seems to be the first Hungarian queen who acted on behalf of her minor son. Anastasia seems to have been one of the more active early Hungarian queens and is deserving of more attention.


Evgenievna, Morozova Lyudmila; Great and Unknown Women of Ancient Russia

Font, Marta; “The princess of Kievan Rus in Hungarian History” on

Karpov, A. Yu.; “Anastasia Yaroslavna” on

Mielke, Christopher; “Every hyacinth the garden wears: the material culture of medieval queens of Hungary (1000-1395)”

Mielke, Christopher; “No Country for Old Women: Burial Practices and Patterns of Hungarian Queens of the Arpad Dynasty (975-1301)”

Mielke, Christopher; The Archaeology and Material Culture of Queenship in Medieval Hungary, 1000-1395

Voloshchuk, Myroslav; “Ruthenian-Hungarian Matrimonial Connections in the Context of the Rurik Inter-dynasty Policy of the 10th-14th centuries: Selected Statistical Data”

“Anastasia of Kiev” on the website The Court of Russian Princesses of the XI-XVI centuries

About CaraBeth 59 Articles
I love reading and writing about the royals of medieval Europe- especially the women. My interest was first started by the Plantagenet dynasty, but I decided to dive deeper, and discovered that there were many more fascinating royal dynasties in medieval Europe. Other dynasties I like reading and writing about are; the Capets, and their Angevin branch in Naples and Hungary, the Luxembourgs, the early Hapsburgs, the Arpads, the Piasts, the Premyslids and many more!

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