Could the Duke of Bavaria be the next King of Scotland?

Could the Duke of Bavaria be the next King of Scotland?

German newspapers make tongue-in-cheek suggestion that descendent of James I could be entitled to rule Scotland

Duke Franz von Bayern attends the religious wedding ceremony of Georg Friedrich Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia to Princess Sophie of Prussia in the Friedenskirche Potsdam, Germany Credit: Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

If Scotland votes for independence it could choose to restore a Scottish monarch - in the very German form of the Duke of Bavaria.

On the eve of the independence vote a number of German newspapers, perhaps mischievously, have suggested that an independent Scotland should depose the Queen and offer the throne to the Duke of Bavaria, as the rightful heir of the Stuart dynasty.

His Royal Highness Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria von Bayern, Duke of Bavaria, Duke in Franconia and Swabia, and Count-Palatine of the Rhine, could add King of Scotland to his titles.

The 81-year-old Duke is descended from James I, the king who first united the Scottish and English thrones in 1603, and his son Charles I.

To the Jacobites, the small group who support the Stuart claim, he is the rightful King Francis II of England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

But the 81-year-old Duke has made it clear he has no interest in the throne.

"The Duke generally does not comment on this issue because he sees it as an entirely British question which does not concern him," the head of his office, Baron Marcus Bechtolsheim, said in 2008, when the issue last came up.

"All this interest in his opinion makes him smile because, really, he is very happy and satisfied with being the Duke of Bavaria."

Under a mocked up picture of the Duke wearing a crown against a backdrop of the Scottish saltire, Welt newspaper suggested that Bavaria and Scotland have much in common - "bizarre customs, a soft spot for traditional costumes and a high affinity for beer".

Lederhosen are as commonly worn in modern Bavaria as the kilt in Scotland, and the two historic kingdoms even share national colours of blue and white. Bavaria has its own independence movement, although it is far less influential than Scotland's and doesn't have a single seat in parliament.

Scotland's is not the only royal throne the Duke could lay claim to. As head of the House of Wittelsbach, he is pretender to the throne of Bavaria.

His great-grandfather, Ludwig III, was the last ruling King of Bavaria before the kingdom was abolished at the end of the First World War.

The Duke still lives in a wing of the Nymphenburg Palace, the former royal residence in Munich, and uses his titles, although they are not recognised in modern Germany except as part of his surname.

Born in 1933 into a family that was outspoken against the Nazis, the Duke quickly found himself swept up in the upheaval of the Second World War.

In 1939 the family fled to Hungary. When the Nazis occupied Hungary in 1944 and the entire family, including the 11-year-old Franz were arrested. They spent the rest of the war in a series of concentration camps, including the notorious Dachau, where tens of thousands died.