Cyprus Heads

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Female Cyprus Heads of State

Also see Cyprus Ministers

Thanks to Pandelis A. Mitsi for corrections and additions to this list.

BCE 520-15 Ruler Pheretima of Cyrene of Salamis
Mother of Arkesilaos III, who was deposed and she escaped to Salamis. She lead the government-in-exile from Bule, while her son re-concord Cymene. He was murdered and she got assistance from Egypt to get her revenge. Died in Egypt. 

BCE 131-29 Co-ruler Cleopatra of Egypt of Cypros
She was in exile from Egypt. Later again ruler in Egypt

BCE 47-46 Queen Regnant Arsino
Succeeded father, the Egyptian king Ptolemos XII. She was killed 41.

From 1205 Regent Princess Burgundia
After the death of her father, Amalric I of Cyprus-Jerusalem she was Joint regent together with husband Gautier de Montfaucon-Montbeliard, during the minority of her brother, Hugh or Hugo, who came of age in 1205. Their half-sister, Maria, became Queen of Jerusalem after the realm was devided. Burgundia or Bourgogne lived (circa 1176-after 1205)

1218-28 Regent Dowager Queen Alice de Champagne
1243-46 () Regent of Jerusalem
She was the daughter of Queen Isabella of Jerusalem and her second husband Henri de Champagne. 1208 Alice married Hugues of Cyprus who took over the reigns in Cyprus in 1210/11 from his sister Burgundia. After his sudden death at Tripoli in 1218, Alice acted as regent for her 8 month old son Henri in Cyprus. In 1223 she married Bohemond V of Antiochia. In Jerusalem, Friedrich II, Holy Roman Emperor was recognized as suzerain but not regent of Cyprus in 1228, because of his marriage to Queen Yolanda. When she died, Alice traveled to Acre to put forward her claim to Crown of Jerusalem - without success. After she and Bohemond divorced because they were too closely related (third cousins), she married Ralph, Count of Soissons. As she was the great-aunt of King Conrad of Germany - who had failed to come East to accept throne - Alice was entrusted with regency of Jerusalem in 1243. After her death the regency passed to her son and heir, Henri, King of Cyprus. She lived (circa 1193-1246).

1253-61 () Regent Dowager Queen Plaisance de Antiochia
1257-61 () Regent of Jerusalem in Acre (Israel)
After the death of her husband, Henri of Lusignan, her son Hugh II was only a few months old ans she claimed the regency. The High Court of Cyprus confirmed her in this position, but the Barons in the mainland, in Akkon (what remained of the former Kingdom of Jerusalem) demanded that she showed up herself before they would confirm her as regent. Lord Jean d'Ibelin of Arsuf was bailliff in Jerusalem and she contemplated marrying his son. In 1258 she tried to strenghten her pssition and arrived in Tripoli with her son. The High Court of the Kingdom assembled, and her brother, Boemond tried to be accepted as heir to the throne of Cyprus in the abcense of, grandson of Emperor Frederik II and Queen Maria of Jerusalem, but this was rejected and the royal family was drawn into the civil war between the Genoese, Venetians, Hospitallers and the Templars. A majority was in favour of Plaisance's regency, and she returned to Cyprus after haveing reappointed Jean d'Ilbelin as bailliff. She was daughter of Boemond V of Antiochiaia and Lucienne de Cacammo-Segni, and lived (1236-61)

1263-64 () Regent Princess Isabella of Cyprus
As Queen Plaisance of Cypern died in 1261 her son Hugo II was eight years old, at first Isabella's son was appointed regent because the Supreme Court thought a man would be a better regent than a woman, but in 1263 Isabella and her husband, Henri de Poitou of Antiochiaia (d. 1276 ), came to Cypern and the nobles hailed her as regent, but she died the following year. As the younger daughter of King Hugo I Lusignan of Cypern and Alice de Champagne-Blois she was Heriess Presumptive of Jerusalem. Alice was daughter and Heriess Presumptive of King Henri I of Jerusalem and Princess Isabella d'Anjou of Jerusalem. Isabella' ldest son, Hugo III, was king of Cypern (1235-84) and her daughter Marguerite Titular-Princess of Antiochiaia and Lady of Tyros and lived (before 1244-1308) and married to Jean de Montfort, Lord of Tyros (d. 1289), and she lived (circa 1215-64).

1365-68 In Charge of the Government Queen Leonor de Gandia of Aragon of Cyprus, Titular Queen Consort of Jerusalem (Israel)
1369 Co-Regent of Cyrus
Her husband, Pierre I de Lusignan, who had been away on various expeditions since 1365, returned to Cypern in 1368, he retaliated on the nobles who had been her favourites during his absence, and behaved with such haughtiness and tyranny that he alienated the sympathy of his barons and even of his brothers. In January 1369 he was assassinated by a body of nobles with the concurrence of his brothers. His son Pierre, a boy of thirteen, succeeded to the throne under the regency of his uncles, Jean, prince of Antiochia, and Jacques, constable of Cyprus. She quarreled with both of them, who had both been concerned in the assassination of her husband. She first welcomed the invaders as a means of avenging the murder of her husband, but when she saw that the Genoese were bent on destroying her son's kingdom, she joined the other royalists and took refuge with Jacques, the constable of Cyprus, in the Kyrenia castle. It was not until 1374 the her son was reinstated on the throne. She lived (1333-1416)

1442-58 () De Facto Co-Regent Queen Helena Paleologina of Cyprus
The most important event in the reign of Jean II was his marriage to Helena of Byzantine-Morea. She was stronger in character than her husband, took over the running of the kingdom and brought Greek culture out of the oblivion in which it had languished for three centuries. Her actions in favour of the Orthodox faith and Greek culture naturally disturbed the Franks, who came to consider her a dangerous enemy, but she had become too powerful to attack. Greek Cypriots have always revered Queen Helena as a great heroine because of her boldness. Their daughter and heir, Charlotte, was married to Joo, duke of Coimbra, grandson of the king of Portugal, who used his influence in support of the Catholic party, and so incurred the enmity of the Queen that Helena persuaded King Jean II to exclude him from any share in the government, on the grounds that he might grow too powerful and attempt to seize the crown. Joo left the court with his wife and died within a year under circumstances which led to the belief that he had been poisoned at the instigation of Helena. In 1458 Helena died and the king, now entirely under the influence of his illegitimate son, Jacques, thought to make him his heir. But a few months later Jean himself died and Charlotte succeeded him as Queen at the age of twenty-two. Helena lived (1432-58).

1458-64 Queen Regnant Charlotte of Cyprus and Titular Queen of Jerusalem and Armenia
As she succeeded her father, Jean II, the Grand Caraman, the Turkish ruler of Caramania, seized the opportunity afforded by a weak government in Cypern to capture Courico, the last Latin outpost in Armenia, which had been in the possession of the Lusignans since the reign of Pierre I. In 1453 the Ottoman Turks had expanded to the shores of the Bosphorus and invested Constantinople by sea and land. While she had the support of the nobility, her half-brother Jacques the Bastard, had the sympathy of the Cypriot population, and had been led to believe that his father wished him to succeed to the throne. But the barons were too strong for him, and Jacques, although archbishop, was not allowed to take part in the coronation. In 1459 Charlotte married her cousin, count Louis of Savoy, and Jacques broke into open rebellion and took refuge in Cairo. Presenting himself to the sultan, who was suzerain of Cyprus, Jacques complained that, though next male heir to the throne, he had been driven from the island, and appealed successfully for help to recover his inheritance. In 1460, with a fleet of eighty Egyptian galleys, Jacques landed at Larnaca. The Cypriots, hating the Savoyards whom Charlotte's husband had brought to the island, received him gladly, and he was soon master of the island. Charlotte and her husband took refuge in the castle of Kyrenia, where they were blockaded for three years. The castle, which was not actively attacked, was finally surrendered by the treachery of its commandant. Queen Charlotte with her husband fled to Rome, where she died in 1487 after bequeathing her sovereignty to the house of Savoy. Her half-brother was renowned for his political amorality. She lived (1436-87).

1473-74 Regent Dowager Queen Catherine Cornaro of Cyprus
1474-89 Queen Regnant of Cyprus and Titular Queen of Jerusalem and Armenia
1489-1510 Sovereign Countess of Alonso (Italy)
When her husband King Jacques II died, she was appointed Queen until the birth of an heir, with a council of regency among whom were her uncles Her son King Jacques III only lived one year. The Venetians acquired increased importance, but their pretensions were resented by the Cypriot nobility, who designed to place on the throne Alfonso, a natural son of Ferdinand of Napoli. The Latin archbishop, Fabricius, who was the leader of Alfonso's party, arrived in Cyprus with two armed galleys and a letter from the Pope denouncing the uncles of the Queen as murderers of Jacques II. Her uncles, Andrea Cornaro and Marco Bembo were killed. But the conspiracy was not supported by the Cypriots. On the arrival of a Venetian fleet at Famagusta to demand satisfaction for the murder of the uncles of the Queen, the conspirators sought safety in flight. Caterina was allowed to remain Queen of Cyprus, but she had no real power, since all the principal offices of the kingdom were in the hands of the Venetians. After 15 years she was persuaded ther to leave Cyprus. To compensate her she was allowed to retain the title of Queen, with an ample allowance. In 1489 Queen Caterina embarked for Venice, and remained in exile at Alonso for the remainder of her life. She lived (1454-1510).

1952-60 Queen Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God Queen of Cyprus and   Her other Realms and Territories (...)
She has been Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since 1952. (b.1926-)




Last update 18.07.04