Maria Voichiţă was the last wife of the ruler Ştefan cel Mare. 25 years younger than Stephen the Great, the charming daughter of Radu the Fair managed to pass from the status of a prisoner at the court of the lord of Moldavia to that of a mistress and, finally, a wife.
Stephen the Great was married three times. About the first two marriages, historians recorded the fact that they were based on political alliances, and less on the feelings of the great ruler. Stefan married for the first time on June 5, 1463, with Evdochia from Kiev, the sister of Prince Simion, and the second time, in September 1472, with Maria de Mangop, heiress of the Byzantine imperial family. The ruler’s only love marriage was the last one, with Maria Voichiţă, the lady 25 years younger than him.
Maria Voichiţă was a 16-year-old teenager when she twisted the minds of the great ruler of Moldova. The lady, born in 1457 in Târgovişte, was the only child of voivode Radu cel Frumos. Arriving in conflict with Stephen the Great, Radu the Fair was banished, and his family became prisoners of the Moldavian ruler, on November 24, 1473, following a raid undertaken by Stephen the Great. Mrs. Despina and her daughter Maria Voichiţă, once they arrived at Ştefan’s court, were placed in the care of his wife, Maria de Mangop. The beautiful young lady was 16 years old and of impressive beauty.
Stefan the Great and Maria Voichita and children
“Maria Voichiţa seems to have inherited the beauty of her father Radu, nicknamed the Handsome”, writes Constantin Gane in “Past lives of ladies and gentlemen”. The 40-year-old ruler did not remain indifferent to the prisoner’s charms and in a short time, with the ruler’s heart, Maria Voichiţa passed from the status of a prisoner to that of a mistress.
It is said that the young woman even wanted to become Mrs. Moldova, although Stefan was married to Maria de Mangop.
Between mistress and wife
Under the eyes of his wife, the ruler of Moldova made love with the beautiful lady 25 years younger for almost 4 years. Historians record the fact that Stefan did not want to officially separate from Maria de Mangop because of the assets she owned in Crimea.
It is said that Maria de Mangop fell ill with anger, seeing herself defeated by her younger mistress. She died in 1477, humiliated and abandoned, leaving Maria Voichiţă free way to the status of Lady of Moldavia.
“And the rivalry between two women, between the lady and the lady-to-be, the pain of seeing her love embarrassed, of seeing herself abandoned when she just needed more support, these of course took the young lady of royal descent to her grave” , writes Constantin Gane in “Past Lives of Ladies and Gentlemen”
A year later, the relationship between Ştefan and Maria Voichiţă becomes official. At the time of the marriage, the Moldavian ruler was 45 years old, and the beautiful mistress was only 21 years old. At the wedding, in the summer of 1478, Despina, the wife of Radu cel Frumos, was also present, who accepted Stefan as her son-in-law, despite past misunderstandings.
Maria Voichiţa gave him three children
It is said that, after the marriage with Maria Voichiţă, the ruler’s fame as a skirt would have faded. Evidence of Ştefan’s love for his younger wife remains the churches founded together such as the Voroneţ Monastery, Dorohoi and the frescoes that the ruler ordered as a sign of love for his last wife. When Maria Voichiţă turned 30, Ştefan gave her the church in Pătrăuţi.
Maria Voichiţa gave Stefan three children. Bogdan-Vlad was the first born, one year after the marriage, in 1479.
A few years later, Ana and Maria were born. The first daughter died in 1499, and the second, Maria, became the wife of the Polish noble Teodor Wisniowiecki. Maria Voichiţa was with ruler Ştefan until his death in 1504. Maria Voichiţa lived until 1511.