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Mihailo Obrenović

Prince Michael Obrenović III of Serbia (Serbian: Михаило Обреновић, Mihailo Obrenović; 16 September 1823 – 10 June 1868) was the ruling Prince of Serbia from 1839 to 1842 and again from 1860 to 1868. His first reign ended when he was deposed in 1842, and his second when he was assassinated in 1868. He is considered to be the most enlightened ruler of modern Serbia. He advocated the idea of a Balkan federation against the Ottoman Empire.

Mihailo Obrenović
Knez Mihajlo III Obrenovic.jpg
Prince of Serbia
Reign8 July 1839 – 14 September 1842
PredecessorMilan Obrenović II
SuccessorAlexander Karadjordjević
Reign26 September 1860 – 10 June 1868
PredecessorMiloš Obrenović I
SuccessorMilan Obrenović IV
Born(1823-09-16)16 September 1823
Died10 June 1868(1868-06-10) (aged 44)
SpouseJúlia Hunyady de Kéthely
FatherMiloš Obrenović I
MotherLjubica Vukomanović
ReligionSerbian Orthodox
SignatureMihailo Obrenović's signature
Styles of
Prince Michael Obrenović III of Serbia
Royal Monogram of Prince Mihailo Obrenović III of Serbia.svg
Reference styleHis Serene Highness
Spoken styleYour Serene Highness
Alternative styleSir

Early lifeEdit

Michael was the son of Prince Miloš Obrenović (1780–1860) and his wife Ljubica Vukomanović (1788–1843, Vienna). He was born in Kragujevac, the second surviving son of the couple. He spent his childhood in Kragujevac, then in Požarevac and Belgrade. Having finished his education in Požarevac, Michael left Serbia with his mother to go to Vienna. His elder brother Milan Obrenović II was born in 1819 but was frequently in poor health. [1]

Prince Michael speaks to the Society of Serbian Scholarship members at the first meeting on 8 June 1842.

First reignEdit

Young Prince Michael.

Initially, Prince Miloš abdicated in favour of his firstborn Milan Obrenović II, who was by then terminally ill and died after just month of rule. So Michael came to the throne as a minor, having been born in 1823, and acclaimed prince on 25 June 1839 upon the abdication of his father and death of his elder brother.[1] He was declared of full age the following year. Few thrones appeared more secure, and his rule might have endured throughout his life but for his want of energy and inattention to the signs of the times. In his first reign he showed himself to be a very inexperienced ruler. Michael did not cope well with the complicated situation in which Serbia found itself at the time. In 1842 his reign came to a halt when he was overthrown by a rebellion led by Toma Vučić-Perišić, which enabled the Karađorđević dynasty to take the Serbian throne.

Life in exileEdit

After the overthrow, Prince Michael withdrew from Serbia with around one thousand of his sympathizers across Sava and Danube. His destiny was decided by Austria and Turkey. Prince Michael was directed to the estate of his sister Savka Nikolić, while Princess Ljubica was sent to Novi Sad. She died there in 1843. Michael organized her burial at Krušedolo monastery.

He addressed Vučić through a letter in 1853 saying that he did not want to take the throne back by violence. The prince later moved to Vienna with his father, Prince Miloš Obrenović, and everybody who knew him. There he disposed of large father's estate. He traveled Europe looking for a wife. At that time he wrote, Što se bore misli moje. At Vienna Michael married Countess Júlia Hunyady de Kéthely (26 August 1831 – 19 February 1919), the daughter of Count Ferenc Hunyady de Kéthely and Countess Júlia Zichy de Zich and Vásonkeő. The marriage was childless, although he did have at least one illegitimate child by a mistress whose identity has not been ascertained. While in exile he learned French and German fluently.

Second reign and assassinationEdit

The statue of Prince Michael on Republic Square in Belgrade.
Prince Michael's summer residence in Aranđelovac.

Finally, Michael was accepted back as Prince of Serbia in September 1860, after the death of his father who had regained the throne in 1858. For the next eight years he ruled as an enlightened absolute monarch. During his second reign the People's Assembly was convened just three times, in 1861, 1864 and 1867. Prince Michael's greatest achievement was in persuading the Turkish garrisons to leave Serbia, in 1862 (when the Ottoman Army left the fortresses of Užice and Soko Grad) and 1867 (when the Turks left their fortifications in Belgrade, Šabac, Smederevo and Kladovo). This was done with major diplomatic support from Russia and Austria. In 1866 Michael began campaign of forging The First Balkan Alliance by signing the series of agreements with other Balkan entities in period 1866-68.

Michael wished to divorce his wife Julia in order to marry his young mistress, Katarina Konstantinović, who was the daughter of his first cousin, Princess Anka Obrenović. Both resided at the royal court at his invitation. His plans for a divorce and subsequent remarriage to Katarina met with much protest from politicians and clergy, as well as the general public. His astute and gifted Prime Minister Ilija Garašanin was dismissed from his post in 1867 for daring to voice his opposition to the divorce. However, his divorce from Julia never took place.

Michael Obrenović's grave at St. Michael's Cathedral in Belgrade.

While Prince Michael Obrenović was gradually introducing absolutism in the country, a conspiracy was formed against him. The main organizers and perpetrators of the conspiracy were the brothers Radovanović, who wanted to avenge Ljubomir Radovanović who was in prison. Kosta Radovanović, the main perpetrator of the murder, was a wealthy and respected merchant. His brother, Pavle Radovanović, was with him during the assassination attempt, and the third of the brothers was Djordje Radovanović.

On 10 June 1868 Michael was travelling through the park of Košutnjak in a carriage, near his country residence on the outskirts of Belgrade, with Katarina and her mother Princess Anka,[2] when they were shot by assassins. In the park appeared Pavle and Kosta Radovanović in formal black suits, and with a loaded gun pointed in the direction of the Prince's carriage. Kosta approached the carriage. Prince Michael Obrenović recognized him, because of a dispute over his brother Ljubomir. The last words of the Prince, which Kosta himself admitted when on trial were: "Well, it's true." Michael and Anka were both killed, and Katarina was wounded. The plot behind the assassination has never been clarified; the sympathizers of the Karađorđević dynasty were suspected of being behind the crime, but this has not been proven.

Anka's granddaughter Natalija Konstantinović was married in 1902 to the Montenegrin Prince Mirko Petrović-Njegoš (1879–1918), whose sister Zorka had married King Petar Karađorđević I in 1883.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mijatovich, Chedomille (1911). "Michael Obrenovich III." . Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). p. 360.
  2. ^ Celia Hawkesworth, Voices in the Shadows: Women and Verbal Art in Serbia and Bosnia, Google Books, 2000, retrieved June 16, 2010

External linksEdit

Mihailo Obrenović
Born: September 16 1823 Died: 10 June 1868
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Milan Obrenović II
Prince of Serbia
Succeeded by
Aleksandar Karađorđević
Preceded by
Miloš Obrenović I
Prince of Serbia
Succeeded by
Milan Obrenović IV