The kingdom went from difficulty to chaos. Joanna was besieged by one cousin, demanding she marry him; by the church, investigating Andrew’s death; and by the Hungarians who were not satisfied that their claim to the throne would be settled through Andrew and Joanna’s son—whose birth in December of 1345 brought a male heir to the line.
The kingdom was in shambles. The church sent a cardinal to sort out the criminal inquiry and return some stability to Naples. But in early 1347, Louis of Hungary formed an alliance and declared war on Joanna’s kingdom, seeking to avenge Andrew’s death and claim the throne.
When the Hungarians, with an impressive army, defeated Benevento—just three days from Naples—several of the Neapolitan princes betrayed their queen and led the Hungarians into Naples. In the dark of a January night, Joanna fled for her life, setting sail for Provence and the papal court at Avignon. The victorious Hungarians in Naples sent demands to the pope that Joanna be arrested and executed. The pope heard her case, and declared her above suspicion.