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Rupert, King of Germany

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Rupert, King of Germany

Contemporary painting in the collegiate church of Neustadt an der Weinstraße
King of Germany
(formally King of the Romans)
Reign 21 August 1400 – 18 May 1410
Coronation 6 January 1401
Predecessor Wenceslaus
Successor Jobst of Moravia
Elector Palatine
Reign 6 January 1398 – 18 May 1410
Predecessor Rupert II
Successor Louis III
Born (1352-05-05)5 May 1352
Amberg, Upper Palatinate
Died 18 May 1410(1410-05-18) (aged 58)
Landskron Castle,
Oppenheim, Electoral Palatinate
Burial Church of the Holy Spirit, Heidelberg
Spouse Elisabeth of Hohenzollern
Issue Margaret of the Palatinate
Louis III, Elector Palatine
John, Count Palatine of Neumarkt
Stephen, Count Palatine of Simmern-Zweibrücken
Otto I, Count Palatine of Mosbach
House House of Wittelsbach
Father Rupert II, Elector Palatine
Mother Beatrice of Aragon

Rupert of the Palatinate (German: Ruprecht von der Pfalz; 5 May 1352 – 18 May 1410), a member of the House of Wittelsbach, was Elector Palatine from 1398 (as Rupert III) and King of Germany (rex Romanorum) from 1400 until his death.


Rupert was born at Amberg in the Upper Palatinate, the son of Elector Palatine Rupert II and Beatrice of Aragon, daughter of King Peter II of Sicily. Rupert's great-granduncle was the Wittelsbach emperor Louis IV. He was raised at the Dominican Liebenau monastery near Worms, where his widowed grandmother Irmengard of Oettingen lived as a nun.

King Rupert, Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

From his early years Rupert took part in the government of the Electoral Palatinate to which he succeeded on his father's death in 1398. He and the three ecclesiastical prince-electors (of Mainz, Cologne and Trier) met at Lahneck Castle in Oberlahnstein on 20 August 1400 and declared the Luxembourg king Wenceslaus deposed. On the next day the same four electors met at Rhens to ballot for Rupert as next German king, thus the majority of the college including the Elector Palatine's own vote. As the Imperial City of Aachen refused to let him enter through its gates, Rupert was crowned by Archbishop Frederick III in Cologne on 6 January 1401.

Lacking a solid power base in the Empire, his rule remained contested by the mighty House of Luxembourg, though Wenceslaus himself did not take any action to regain his royal title. In the Western Schism, Rupert backed Pope Boniface IX who, however, was reluctant to acknowledge his rule in view of the Luxembourg claims. After the king had won some recognition in Southern Germany, he started a campaign to Italy, where he hoped to crush the rule of Gian Galeazzo Visconti over the thriving Duchy of Milan and to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope. In the autumn of 1401 he crossed the Alps, but his troops, checked before Brescia, melted away during wintertime and in April 1402 Rupert, too poor to continue the campaign, had to return to Germany.

The news of this failure increased the disorder in Germany, but the king met with some success in his efforts to restore peace. The Luxembourg resistance waned after Wenceslaus was arrested at Prague Castle by his brother Sigismund in March 1402 and the next year his lordship was finally recognized by the Pope. Rupert also gained the support of England by the marriage of his son Louis with Blanche of Lancaster, daughter of King Henry IV on 6 July 1402. In his Palatinate hereditary lands, Rupert turned out to be a capable ruler.

Rupert and his wife Elisabeth of Hohenzollern, detail from their tomb in the Church of the Holy Spirit, Heidelberg

It was nevertheless only the indolence of Wenceslaus that prevented his overthrow. After attempts to enlarge the king's Eberhard III of Württemberg, the Zähringen margrave Bernard I of Baden and several Swabian cities in 1405, Rupert was compelled to make certain concessions. The quarrel was complicated by the Papal Schism, but the king was just beginning to make some headway when he died at his castle of Landskrone near Oppenheim on 18 May 1410 and was buried at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg.

On his deathbed Rupert had decreed the division of his heritage among his four surviving sons. He was succeeded as Elector Palatine by the eldest brother Louis III, while the second son John received the County Palatine of Neumarkt, the third-born Stephen the County Palatine of Simmern and Zweibrücken, and the youngest son Otto the County Palatine of Mosbach. In the following Imperial election on September 20, Elector Louis III voted for Sigismund of Luxembourg, who however lost to his cousin Margrave Jobst of Moravia.

Family and children

King Rupert and his consort Elisabeth

He was married in Amberg on 27 June 1374 to Elisabeth of Hohenzollern, daughter of Burgrave Frederick V of Nuremberg and Elisabeth of Meissen.

They had the following children:

  1. Rupert Pipan (20 February 1375, Amberg – 25 January 1397, Amberg)
  2. Margaret of the Palatinate (1376 – 27 August 1434, Nancy), married on 6 February in 1393 to Duke Charles II of Lorraine
  3. Frederick (ca. 1377, Amberg – 7 March 1401, Amberg)
  4. Louis III, Elector Palatine (23 January 1378 – 30 December 1436, Heidelberg)
  5. Agnes (1379 – 1401, Heidelberg), married in Heidelberg shortly before March 1400 to Duke Adolph I of Cleves
  6. Elisabeth (27 October 1381 – 31 December 1408, Innsbruck), married in Innsbruck 24 December 1407 to Duke Frederick IV of Austria
  7. Count Palatine [[John, Count Palatine of Neumarkt|John of
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