Elena was born circa 1510 as the daughter of Prince Vasili Lvovich Glinsky and Princess Ana Jakšić. She was married to Vasili III of Russia on 21 January 1526, and reportedly she was chosen by Vasili for, “the beauty of her face and her young age.” To marry Elena Vasili had to divorce Solomonia Saburova and she was forced to take the veil under the name of Sophia at the Nativity Monastery of Moscow. Solomonia and Vasili had had no children in their twenty years of marriage.
Elena gave birth to her first child, the future Ivan IV (better known as “the Terrible”) in 1530. A second son, Yuri, was born in 1532. Vasili did not live to see his sons grow up. He died on 3 December 1533. Elena acted as regent for the three-year-old Ivan, although it is unclear if she was ever legally made regent.
During her regency, she was at odds with her brothers-in-law, who were imprisoned in 1534 and 1537. In 1535 she carried out a currency reform and signed an armistice with Lithuania in 1536.
Her death in 1538 must have come as a shock. She was still quite young, and this caused rumours that she was poisoned. Testing on her bones a few years ago does seem to support that theory. 1
The regency of the 8-year-old Ivan was usurped by several feuding boyar families.