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Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria (1869-1955) and Wives (Maria Gabriele and Antonia)
Maria Luitpold Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Bavaria (Munich, 18 May 1869 - Schloß Leutstetten, 2 August 1955);married 1stly in Munich on 10 July 1900, Duchess Marie Gabriele in Bavaria (Tegernsee, 9 October 1878 - Sorrento, 24 October 1912); married 2ndly at Schloß Hohenburg on 7 April 1921 Princess Antoinette Roberte Sophie Wilhelmine of Luxembourg (Schloß Hohenburg, 7 October 1899 - Lenzerheide, Switzerland, 31 July 1954)
Head of the family:
1921 - 1955
King Ludwig III of Bavaria
Duke Albrecht of Bavaria
Children Rupprecht & Maria Gabriele:
Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, Princess Irmingard of Bavaria; Duke Albrecht in Bavaria and Prince Rudolf of Bavaria
Children Rupprecht & Antonia:
Prince Heinrich of Bavaria, Princess Irmingard of Bavaria; Princess Editha of Bavaria, Mrs. Brunetti; Princess Hilda of Bavaria, Mrs. Lockett de Loayza; Duchess Gabriele of Croÿ and Princess & Duchess Sophie of Arenberg
Parents Rupprecht: King Ludwig III of Bavaria and Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria-Este
Parents Maria Gabriele:
Duke Carl Theodor in Bavaria and Infanta Marie José of Portugal
Grand Duke Guillaume IV of Luxembourg and Infanta Maria Ana of Portugal
Fürstin Adelgunde of Hohenzollern; Princess Maria of the Two Sicilies, Duchess of Calabria; Prince Karl of Bavaria; Prince Franz of Bavaria; Princess Mathilde of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; Prince Wolfgang of Bavaria, Princess Hildegarde of Bavaria; Princess Notburga of Bavaria; Duchess Wiltrud of Urach; Princess Helmtrud of Bavaria; Princess Dietlinde of Bavaria and Countess Gundelinde of Preysing-Lichtenegg-Moos
Siblings Maria Gabriele:
Duchess Amalie of Urach; Countess Sophie of Toerring Jettenbach; Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians; Duke Ludwig Wilhelm in Bavaria and Duke Franz Wilhelm in Bavaria
Siblings Antonia: Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide of Luxembourg; Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg; Fürstin Hilda of Schwarzenberg; Princess Elisabeth of Thurn und Taxis and Princess Sophie of Saxony
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Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria or Crown Prince Rupert of Bavaria (German: Kronprinz Rupprecht von Bayern) (18 May 1869 – 2 August 1955) was the last Bavarian Crown Prince.
His full title was His Royal Highness Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Bavaria, Duke of Bavaria, of Franconia and in Swabia, Count Palatine of the Rhine. He was also the Jacobite heir to the thrones of England and Scotland from the death of his mother in 1919.
Rupprecht was born in Munich, the eldest son of Ludwig III, the last King of Bavaria, and of Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria-Este, niece of Duke Francis V of Modena. He was the oldest of thirteen children. His early education from the age of seven was conducted by Freiherr Rolf Kreusser, an Anglo-Bavarian. In his youth, he spent considerable time at Schloß Leustetten, Starnberg, and at the families villa near Lindau, Lake Constance, where he was able to develop a keen interest in sports. His education was traditional and conservative, but he became the first member of the royal house of Bavaria to spent time at a public school, when he was educated at the Maximilian-Gymnasium in Munich, where he spent four years. Apart from his schooling and his training in horse riding and dancing, he was also obliged to learn a trade. His choice fell to carpentry.
Pre-first world war
Rupprechts grandfather, Luitpold, became de-facto ruler of Bavaria when King Ludwig II and his successor Otto both were declared insane in 1886. Rupprechts own position changed somewhat through these events as it became clear that he was likely to succeed to the Bavarian throne one day.
After graduating from high school, he entered the Bavarian Infanterie-Leibregement as a Second Lieutenant. He interrupted his military career to study at the universities of Munich and Berlin from 1889 to 1891. He rose to the rank of a Colonel and became the commanding officer of the 2nd Infanterie Regiment Kronprinz but found enough opportunity to travel extensively to the Middle East, India, Japan and China. His early journeys were taken with his Adjutant, Otto von Stetten. Later he was accompanied by his first wife.
At the age of 31, Rupprecht married the Duchess Maria Gabrielle, whom he had five children with before her early death in 1912 at the age of 34.
In 1906, Rupprecht was made commander of the Bavarian I Army Corps, with the rank of lieutenant general of the infantry, promoted to full general in 1913.
In 1912, Luitpold was succeeded in this position of Prinzregent by his son Ludwig. On 5 November 1913, Ludwig was made king by vote of the Bavarian Senate, becoming Ludwig III. This decision also made Rupprecht the crown prince of Bavaria.
First world war
He commanded the German Sixth Army at the outbreak of World War I in Lorraine. The appointment to command of the Sixth Army was as a result of his royalty, but the level of study he had performed before he took command was a factor behind his successful direction of the Sixth Army, and he proved to be a highly able commander. Rupprecht succeeded in holding back the French attack in August 1914, in the Battle of Lorraine, and then launched a counteroffensive later that month. Rupprecht failed to break through the French lines and remained on the Western Front during the stalemate that would last until the end of the war. He was in command of the 6th Army at Ypres after this, facing the British Expeditionary Force.
Rupprecht achieved the rank of field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) in July 1916 and assumed command of Army Group Rupprecht on 28th August that year, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th Army. Rupprecht has been considered by some to be one of the best Royal commanders in the Imperial German Army of World War I, possibly even the only one to deserve his command. Rupprecht came to the conclusion much earlier then most other German generals (towards the end of 1917), that the war could not be won, seeing an ever increasing material advantage of the allies. He also opposed the "scorched earth" policy during withdraws, but his royal position made a resignation on those grounds impossible for him, even though he threatened it. He eventually resigned from his command on 11th November 1918
He got engaged to the much younger Princess Antoinette of Luxembourg in 1918 but the German defeat made this marriage impossible and the engagement was canceled again.
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Second part of this
Inter war years
Rupprecht lost his chance to rule Bavaria when it became a republic in the revolutions that followed the war. Although some royalists still referred to him as the King of Bavaria, the 738 years of Wittelsbacher rule ended in 1918. Rupprecht escaped to Tyrol in fear of reprisals from the brief communist rule in Bavaria under Kurt Eisner but returned in September 1919. While away from Bavaria, he succeeded his mother, Maria Theresia of Austria-Este, the last Queen of Bavaria, as the Jacobite heir. This occurred upon her death on 3 February 1919. As such, under his anglocized name he would be King Robert I (King of England) and IV (King of Scotland), although he has never claimed these crowns.
The changed political situation however allowed him to finally marry the Princess Antoinette of Luxembourg on 7 April 1921. The ceremony was carried out by the papal nuncio to Bavaria, Eugenio Pacelli, the later Pope Pius XII.
Shortly after the 1922 Washington Naval Conference, he made a statement regarding the possible ban of aerial bombing, poison gas, sea blockades and long range guns, blaming them for a majority of civilian casualties during the last war. He also advocated Germanys participation in future peace conferences and dismissed claims, that Kaiser Wilhelm II was to blame for the first world war.
While opposed to the Weimar Republic and never having renounced his rights to the throne, Rupprecht envisioned a Constitutional monarchy for Bavaria. Upon his fathers death in October 1921, Rupprecht declared his claim to the throne since his father had never formally renounced his crown. While never crowned king, he did become the head of the House of Wittlesbach after his fathers death. He formed the Wittelsbacher Ausgleichfond in 1923, which was an agreement with the state of Bavaria leaving the most important of the Wittelsbach palaces, like Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, to the Bavarian people.
He was never enticed to join the far right in Germany, despite Hitlers attempts to win him over through Ernst Röhm and promises of royal restoration. Hitler confided in private to a personal dislike of the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince in turn confessed to King George V at a lunch in London in the Summer of 1934 that he considered Hitler to be insane.
With the worsening of the Great Depression in 1932, a plan was floated to give Rupprecht dictatorial powers in Bavaria under the title of Saatskommissar. The plan attracted support from a wide coalition of parties, including the SPD and the post-war Bavarian Minister-President (First Minister) Wilhelm Hoegner but the legal appointment of Hitler as Reichskanzler in 1933 by Hindenburg and the hesitant Bavarian government under Heinrich Held ended all hopes for the idea.
Rupprecht continued to believe that restoration of the monarchy was possible, an opinion he voiced to the British ambassador Eric Phipps in 1935.
Second world war
Rupprecht was forced into exile in Italy in December 1939 (the last straw being the confiscation of Schloß Leustetten by the Nazis) where he stayed as a guest of King Victor Emmanuel, residing mostly in Florence. He and his family were barred from returning to Germany. He continued to harbor the idea of the restoration of the Bavarian monarchy, in a possible union with Austria as an independent Southern Germany. In a memorandum in May 1943, he voiced his opinion that Germany would be completely defeated in the war and hoped to spare the German people from the worst when the Nazi regime finally fell. He even mentioned his ambition for the German crown, which had been held by the House of Wittelsbach in the past.
In October 1944, when Germany occupied Hungary, Rupprechts wife and children were captured, while he, still in Italy, evaded arrest. They were first imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp at Oranienburg, Brandenburg. In April 1945 they were moved to the Dachau concentration camp, where they were liberated by the United States Army. Crown Princess Antoinette never recovered completely from the captivity, and died a few years later in Switzerland, having vowed never to return to Germany after her ordeal. She was buried in Rome but her heart was, complying with Wittelsbach tradition, enshrined in the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Miraculous Image) at Altötting.
Rupprecht continued to advocate the restoration of the Bavarian monarchy upon his return but found no support from the US occupation authorities, who treated him courteously never the less. General Eisenhower provided a special plane to fly him back to Munich in September 1945 and he returned to Schloß Leustetten.
It is estimated that he had the support of 60 to 70% of the Bavarian population in his goal to restore the monarchy in the post-war years. Of the 170 members of the Bavarian parliament, 70 declared themselves to be monarchists in September 1954, a clear sign of support for the Crown Prince.
Upon his death in 1955 at the age of eighty-six, he was treated like a deceased monarch, receiving a state funeral. He is buried in the crypt of the Theatinerkirche in Munich near his grandfather Prince Luitpold and great-great-grandfather King Maximilian I, between his first wife Duchess Maria Gabrielle and his oldest son Prince Luitpold.
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Crown Princess Antonia of Bavaria (Antoinette Roberte Sophie Wilhelmine) (7 October 1899 - 31 July 1954) was a princess of the Luxembourgish House of Nassau-Weilburg.
Born at Hohenburg Castle, in Upper Bavaria, Antonia was the fourth daughter of Guillaume IV, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who reigned between 1905 and 1912, and Marie Anne, a princess of the Portuguese House of Braganza. Her maternal grandparents were Miguel of Portugal and Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.
She was the younger sister of two successive Grand Duchesses: Marie-Adélaïde and Charlotte.
Antonia became the second wife of Rupprecht, the last Crown Prince of Bavaria. The two were engaged on 26 August 1918. At the time, Rupprecht was Generalfeldmarschall in the Imperial German army, and had successfully commanded the German Sixth Army at the Battle of Lorraine. This led to criticism of the close ties between the Luxembourgian Grand Ducal Family and the royalty of the German Empire at a time when Luxembourg was occupied by Germany. This added to the pressure already on Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde, who was forced to abdicate on 10 January 1919. Despite the abdication of her elder sister, and the overthrow of the Kingdom of Bavaria in favour of a republic, the two were married on 7 April 1921 at Hohenburg Castle.
As opponents of the Nazi regime, Antonia and Rupprecht were forced into exile in Italy in 1939. From here, they moved to Hungary. When Germany occupied Hungary in October 1944, Antoinette and her children were captured, although Rupprecht escaped. They were imprisoned at Sachsenhausen. In early April 1945, they were moved to the Dachau concentration camp. Although liberated that same month, the imprisonment greatly impaired Antonia's health, and she died only nine years later, at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
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||03-04-2009 05:57 PM
I have lots of postcards of the Crown Princly family and I always feel rather sad when I see the Prince Luitpold, knowing that he was a bright, active and promising young man taken away so early at the age of thirteen.
||03-05-2009 03:19 PM
I wondered, do you have any pictures with the couple's daughter Irimgard? The princess only lived for one year, sadly.
||03-06-2009 04:11 AM
I have never seen any photos of their daughter at all, cards or otherwise. Often wondered if any existed.
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