King Béla III (Harmadik Béla) of Hungary
- Born: 1148, Esztergom, Komaron-Esztergom, Hungary
- Marriage (1): Agnes de Chatillon Queen Of Hungary in 1168 in Constantinople, Constantinople, Turkey
- Marriage (2): Unknown
- Died: 30 Apr 1196 at age 48
- Buried: Szekesfehervar, Fejer, Hungary
Béla III of Hungary (Hungarian: III. Béla, Slovak: Belo III), born in 1148, was the King of Hungary from 1172-1196. He was the son of King Géza II and Euphrosyne, the daughter of Grand Duke Mstislav of Kiev.
In 1164, the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus concluded a treaty with Béla's brother, Stephen III, by which Béla was given the Croatian and Dalmatian territories and sent to Constantinople to be educated in the court of the emperor. Manuel, who had no sons of his own, intended the youth to succeed him and thus betrothed him to his daughter, Maria Comnena. Béla received a Greek name, Alexius, and the title of despot. When a son was born to the emperor this engagement was broken, but another marriage was arranged between Béla and Agnes de Chatillon, a princess of Antioch. She was also the half-sister of Empress Maria.
Béla succeeded his brother King Stephen III and was crowned under the influence of Emperor Manuel. As the new king, Béla adopted Catholicism and selected his son Emeric as his successor. He was a powerful ruler, and his court was counted among the most brilliant in Europe.
Béla was a warrior by nature and training, and the death of Emperor Manuel in 1180 left him free to expand Hungarian power in the Balkans. His attempt to recover Dalmatia led Hungary into two wars against the Republic of Venice which ultimately faltered. He also aided the Serbs against the Byzantine Empire. At the time of his death Béla was assisting Emperor Isaac II Angelus in a war against Bulgaria. He was succeeded by both of his sons in turn, Emeric and Andrew.
His remains were the only to be identified by archeologists exactly after the excavations at the ruins of the former crowning and burial cathedral of the Árpáds in Székesfehérvár in the late XIXth century, due to his enormous body height documented by contemporary sources. Based on the examination of his skeleton he must have been over two meters tall, a really outstanding height at that time. After this he has been reinterred at the Mathias Church in Budapest, with his second wife Agnes. Through his son Andrew II, he is the ancestor of Edward III of England through Isabella of France. He is therefore an ancestor to the present-day British royal family including Queen Elizabeth II.
Béla III was engaged once and married twice.
* Maria Porphyrogenita Comnena, daughter of Emperor Manuel I Comnenus, with no issue. They were engaged in 1163, separated in 1169.
* Agnes de Chatillon (1154-1184), daughter of Raynald of Chatillon and Constance of Antioch (joint princes of Antioch). They married in 1172 with issue:
1. King Emeric of Hungary (1174-1204)
2. Margaret of Hungary (1175-1223), married Emperor Isaac II Angelus and Boniface of Montferrat.
3. King Andrew II of Hungary (1176-1235)
4. Salamon, died young
5. István, died young
6. Konstancia of Hungary (1180-1198), married King Otakar I of Bohemia
* Marguerite of France, daughter of King Louis VII of France, married in 1186, with no issue.
Béla married Agnes de Chatillon Queen Of Hungary in 1168 in Constantinople, Constantinople, Turkey. (Agnes de Chatillon Queen Of Hungary was born in 1154 in Palace of Versailles, Île-de-France, died in 1184 and was buried in Szekesfehervar, Fejer, Hungary.)
Béla next married.