Elena of Montenegro was born in 1873 as the daughter of King Nicholas I of Montenegro and his wife, Milena Vukotić. On 24 October 1896, she married the future King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, and they had five children. During the First World War, she worked as a nurse, and she turned two properties into hospitals.
Just three months after the German invasion of Poland and the declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France in 1939 Queen Elena wrote a letter to six ‘Queens’ of the still neutral countries in Europe, Queen Alexandrine of Denmark (Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin), Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium (Elisabeth of Bavaria), Queen Ioanna of Bulgaria (Giovanna of Italy) and Queen Maria, the Queen Mother of Yugoslavia (Maria of Romania), in the hopes of avoiding the Second World War. She even offers the example of the Ladies’ Peace, achieved between Louise of Savoy and Margaret of Austria. As we know, the Second World War still happened, but it’s still an inspiring letter.
(This letter was translated from Italian using Google Translate so keep in mind it will not be grammatically correct) 1
Lady and dear sister,
The deep emotion inspired by the vision of the terrible war that is taking place on the seas, on the ground, in the air, wherever big states with large populations around the lora courage, with all their genius and with all their wealth, struggling ceaselessly and without mercy interests and contrary feelings, I urge me to extend a cordial invitation: the war flashing so many heroic acts to destroy lives, work, faith in tomorrow, that same principals of civilization, threatens to spread in space and time, and toughen its terrible rigors worse every day, so as to shake the very foundation of the communion of the people.
High authorities have already addressed the belligerents in the name of God and in the name of one or another neutral people, wishes for peace that were not accepted.
These precedents could dry up the hopes and courage to take new initiatives. But not prevent innumerable hearts of women from all regions of the world, to elevate to the Heads of States at war to sort invocation from their horror, from their compassion and their wisdom, because they stop to consider not only their own reasons, but also those of human feeling. It begs truces to so much confusion of minds and of so much disruption of industries, the arts, civil studies, begs the cessation of war, not only to belligerents harsh scourge, but to all, without distinction, to causes of human sacrifice.
I therefore appeal to your Your Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Belgium,Your Majesty the Queen of Yugoslavia, to Her Majesty the Queen Alexandra of Denmark, You Majesty, Wilhelmina the Queen of the Netherlands, and Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess Charlotte Luxembourg, and please will accept with me the invocation but each of us would be ready to sacrifice herself and her own children for their own homeland. This same common sense leads us to understand what anxieties they live today millions of mothers; panting them well to proper recognition of the rights of their countries, but also for the salvation of goods and their children a wise and definitive peace.
At this invitation and hope to join efforts our peacemakers I encourage the example of two princesses of Savoy: Margaret of Austria’s widow Filipberto II Duke of Savoy, who was appointed by her father governor of the Netherlands, and Louise of Angoulême wife of Charles of Valois, born Princess of Savoy and the mother of King Francis I of France.
This two princesses, irresistibly urged to stop the uninterrupted blood feuds produced by wars between the Imperial family and French, in 1529 negotiated the Treaty of Cambrai, in their honor, was named the “Ladies Peace”.
May we too be allowed to persuade souls to admit that war is truncated, and that other methods to resolve it with honor to all, are equally sought by the Parties.