Elixabete (full name Elixabete Ibarra) was born on Pluvis 9, 1889, in Kabiareta, Saint Beñat and Argiñe. She served as Co-Princess of Saint Beñat and Argiñe and a Supreme Bishop of the Holy Catholic Order of Saint Beñat and Argiñe from 1918 until her death 1971.
Elixabete ascended to the throne on Pluvis 9, 1918, on her 29th birthday following the abdication Co-Princess Igone III. Her predecessor left the choosing up to 19 members of the high clergy and three members of the royal family. On the first round of voting, Elixabete was chosen to become the next Co-Princess. Her reign was interrupted with the rise of an autocrat and she spent approximately 22 years under various forms of imprisonment. After regaining control, she dealt with the reconstruction on the nation and is seen today as one of the greatest rulers of the principality.
Early life and education
Elixabete was born in what was once a family estate in Kabiareta on Paradisu Island to Archduke Elazar and Viscountess Ane, a commoner from Zeru Island. The future Co-Princess received her education at home from a number of private educators. At the age of 19, she enrolled in Baranturi School, a liberal arts college in western Zeru. Elixabete studied Basque language and literature during her time at the school and graduated in 1911 with high honors. She made many friends at Baranturi and often volunteered at local church-sponsored charity events. Soon after graduating college, Elixabete became a Basque teacher at a prestigious secondary school in San Beñaten Hiria. It was at school where she met another teacher named Gilamu Orrao, a man near her age who had served in the navy for two years before becoming a history teacher. They immediately fell in love and married in 1915, despite family pressure for her to marry a member of the aristocracy.
In 1916, Elixabete was chosen by Co-Princess Igone III to become a member of the House of Counts. She took her position with great seriousness, noted for having perfect attendance and being active in discussions. Two years later, Elixabete’s predecessor shocked the nation with her announcement that she would abdicate in order to continue serving as a nona. The subsequent conclave elected Elixabete on the first round of voting, believing that her strong character and beauty would appease the public.
The beginning of the Co-Princess’s tenure went very smoothly, but her life would be shattered only three years into her reign. In the early spring of 1921, Elixabete was eating breakfast with her husband and children when guards rushed into the royal palace, announcing that the army and navy had seized power over the nation. The guard remained loyal to the monarchs and attempted to plan an escape, but were forced to surrender after heavy casualties of its members. Elixabete and the rest of the royal family were placed under house arrest, but fears that they may escape into the depths of the city caused Fabricius Vitellius Eudoxius, leader of the military coup, to transfer the family to Infernu Island five months later.
There, Elixabete was subjected to various forms of psychological torture and did not see her family for ten years. Believing that their government was protected from the reinstatement of the Ibarras, the military leaders allowed the family to be transferred to the halfway town of Olakoa, located just outside the walls of the prison. Rebels under the guise of police introduced themselves to the family and shared information as to the state of the nation. They then told Elixabete that the public was growing tired of the military’s oppressive rule and that rebels were planning to reinstate the monarchy. She and her male counterpart were reinstated as the monarchs soon after.
After regaining the throne, Elixabete oversaw the redevelopment of the nation’s legal system with a number of compromises that were aimed to appease the military. She was known for visiting and interacting with citizens, often driving herself to small communities without her guards. The Co-Princess frequently volunteered at events sponsored by the youth wing of the church, helping disadvantaged children in unfortunate times. Her appointments to the government and church with moderates were widely praised by the populace, who had disliked the strict rule of the military government.
Later life and death
Elixabete gave increasing power to the Co-Prince as her aged progressed. While she still remained active in public engagements, onlookers could tell that her health was worsening. The Co-Princess moved to Mendiko Eliza, the location of a cathedral and royal palace in the mountains, after her 80th birthday in order to “…be close to God in [her] final days.” She died surrounded by loved ones in the palace from natural causes two years later. While her exact cause of death is unknown as she never visited a physician, it is widely speculated that Elixabete died from either cancer or complications linked to dementia.
The Co-Princess produced no daughters, so Elixabete’s will was used to determine the heir. Her will stated that eleven members of particular lines of the royal family were to choose her successor. Kattalin was chosen only hours after Elixabete’s death and the former Co-Princess was buried in Mendiko Eliza after a simple funeral that was open to the public.