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Katarina Vukcic-Kosaca (married King Stephen Thomas of Bosnia)
Birth:     1424
Death:     Oct. 25, 1478


Bosnian Queen Katarina (portrait by Giovanni Bellini, Rome)


Bosnia Monarch. The last queen of Bosnia, she was born in Blagaj Buna, (near to present day Mostar), and died in Rome, Italy. She was raised in the Bogomil faith, and remained as such until her marriage on May 26,1446 to King Stepan Tomas of Bosnia, an illegitimate son of King Tvrtko II, last of the Kotramanic line. King Stjepan Tomas died in 1461. They had two children, a boy named Sigismund, and a girl named Kattarina. In accordance with a series of agreements prior to the marriage of Queen Katarina and King Stjepan Tomas, an illegitimate son of Stepan Tomas' namely Stjepan Tomasevic was the next king. He was the son of Stjepan Tomas by a prior relationship which was annulled by Pope Eugene IV, prior to the marriage of Katarina and Stjepan Tomas. Because Stejpan Tomasevic wanted good relations with Herzog Stjepan Kosaca,one of the most most powerful noblemen of Bosnia-Herzegovina of those times, he immediately confirmed Queen Katarina as Queen Mother. All of the 14th century was a turbulent time for Bosnia, mainly because of incursions by the Ottoman Turks under Mehmet II. Because under Stjepan Tomasevic Bosnia ceased paying tributes to the Turks, the Turks invaded. Jace fell in July of 1463, and King Stjepan Tomasevic was beheaded.

The children of Queen Katarina and King Stjepan Tomas then fell into captivity. . At that time Sigismund was 14 years old, and Katarina was 10 years of age. They were taken to Constantinople and were converted to the Muslim religion. Queen Katarina only escaped captivity because she was at the time visiting her brother, Vladislav, who was by then the ruler in Herzegovina. He helped her make her way to the free city of Dubrovnik, where she stayed a time. From Dubrovnik, she and her faithful lady-waiting, Pavka Mirkovic went to Rome. In Rome, Pope Paul II welcomed her and she lived reasonable comfort. Her time was spent attempting to ransom her children, attempting to aid efforts to free Bosnia from foreign rule, or doing good works. She was a Franciscan Tertiary. Four days before her death she sent for one of the Croatian monks in the St. Jerome monastery and dictated her will to him. She willed Bosnia to the Holy See in the event that her children were never recovered and never reconverted to Catholicism. The children were never recovered. They grew up in Turkey, the son became governor of Karas, the daughter was married to a man who later was Sultan. Pope Paul II beatified Queen Katarina. Until the beatification of Ivan Merz, she was the only Bosnian beatified. To this day, Bosnians regard her as a role model for women. To this day women from Kraljeva Sutjeska wear black scarves, even at weddings, in memory of Queen Katarina. She and her faithful lady in waiting, Pavka Mirkovic are both buried in Aracoeli church, in Rome. There are full sized relief statues of them over the graves, and a memorial stone for Queen Katarina. Her grave is under the present location of the altar. There are two extant portraits of her, one in the Capitol Museum in Rome, done when she was relatively young, one portrays her in maturity. Both are attributed to Bellini, who interestingly enough painted Sultan Mehmet II from life as well. Queen Katarina is portrayed on stamps issued by the Croatian government, and by the Bosnian government.


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