Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Franz, Duke of Bavaria (Southern Germany)
Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern (born 14 July 1933, as Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Prinz von Bayern), styled as His Royal Highness The Duke of Bavaria, is head of the Wittelsbach family, the former ruling family of the Kingdom of Bavaria. His great-grandfather Ludwig III was the last King of Bavaria before being deposed in 1918.
Franz is also the current senior co-heir-general of King Charles I of England and Scotland, and thus is considered by Jacobites to be the legitimate heir of the House of Stuart.
Franz was born in Munich, the son of Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria and his morganatic wife, Countess Maria Draskovich of Trakostjan (of the House of Drašković, an ancient Croatian noble family). On 18 May 1949, when Franz was sixteen, his grandfather Crown Prince Rupprecht recognised the marriage of Franz's parents as dynastic and Franz became a prince of Bavaria.
The Wittelsbachs were opposed to the Nazi regime in Germany, and in 1939 Franz's father Albrecht took his family to Hungary. They lived in Budapest for four years before moving to Somlovar Castle in late 1943. In March 1944, Nazi Germany occupied Hungary. On 6 October 1944, the entire family including Franz, then aged 11, were arrested. They were sent to a series of Nazi concentration camps including Oranienburg and Dachau. At the end of April 1945 they were liberated by the United States Third Army.
After the war Franz received his high-school education at the Benedictine Abbey of Ettal. He then studied business management at the University of Munich and in Zurich. Franz developed a passion for collecting modern art; today many items from his private collection are on permanent loan to the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich
Franz is the current Grand Master of the Royal Order of Saint George for the Defense of the Immaculate Conception. He is also Grand Master of the Order of Saint Hubert and the Order of Saint Theresa (for Ladies). He is a Senator of the University of Munich and an Honorary Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He holds many honorary positions in civic and religious organisations in Bavaria
Franz lives in an apartment in Nymphenburg Palace, the former summer residence of the kings of Bavaria, in Munich.
Under German law royal titles are not recognised legally, but can be used as a part of a surname. Franz's surname at birth was Prinz von Bayern (German for 'Prince of Bavaria'). In 1997, after the death of his father, he changed his surname to Herzog von Bayern (German for 'Duke of Bavaria').
Franz has never married. On his death his position as head of the House of Wittelsbach will pass to his brother Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria. Because Max has no sons, the Bavarian titles will pass after his death to his second cousin Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and his descendants