Franz, Duke of Bavaria

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Duke of Bavaria
Franz von bayern.JPG
Franz at the investiture of
Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre
Head of the House of Wittelsbach
Period 8 July 1996 – present
Predecessor Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria
Heir presumptive Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria
House House of Wittelsbach
Father Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria
Mother Countess Maria Draskovich of Trakostjan
Born (1933-07-14) 14 July 1933 (age 81)
Munich, German Reich
Religion Roman Catholicism
Bavarian Royal Family
Wappen Deutsches Reich - Königreich Bayern (Grosses).png

HRH The Duke of Bavaria

HRH The Duke in Bavaria
HRH The Duchess in Bavaria

HRH The Princess of Waldburg-Zeil
HRH The Princess of Quadt

Franz, Duke of Bavaria (Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern; born 14 July 1933), is head of the House of Wittelsbach, the former ruling family of the Kingdom of Bavaria. His great-grandfather King Ludwig III was the last ruling monarch of Bavaria until deposed in 1918.

Franz was born in Munich. During the Second World War, the Wittelsbachs were anti-Nazi. The family initially left Germany for Hungary, but were eventually arrested when Franz was aged eleven. He spent time in several Nazi concentration camps including Oranienburg and Dachau. After the war, he was a student at the University of Munich and became a collector of modern art.

Franz succeeded as head of the House of Wittelsbach, and as pretender to the Bavarian throne, on the death of his father in 1996. He lives at the Nymphenburg Palace.

Franz is also the current heir-general of King Charles I of England and Scotland, and thus as Francis II is considered by Jacobites to be the legitimate heir of the Stuart kings of England, France, Scotland and Ireland.[1] "HRM [sic] the Duke generally does not comment on issues concerning his familiar [sic] relationship to the Royal House of Stuart", a spokesman told the media.[2]


Franz was born on 14 July 1933 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.[citation needed]

The Wittelsbach dynasty 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 their Castle at Sárvár in late 1943. In March 1944, Nazi Germany occupied Hungary, and on 6 October 1944, the entire family, including the 11-year-old Franz, 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.[3]

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.[4] He is also an honorary trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.[5]

Franz lives in a wing of Nymphenburg Palace, the former summer residence of the Kings of Bavaria, in Munich. His country retreat is Berg Castle and he occasionally uses the former royal castle at Berchtesgaden and Hohenschwangau Castle, both of which house family museums.[citation needed]

He speaks German, Hungarian, English and French.[6]

Franz's 80th birthday party, in 2013, was held at the Schleissheim Palace near Munich. The party was attended by 2,500 of the "richest, most powerful and influential" people in Bavaria,[7] including the current Minister-President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer (formerly President of the German Bundesrat).[8]

Titles and styles[edit]

2005 painting by Dieter Stein

Franz uses the historical titles "Duke of Bavaria, of Franconia and in Swabia, Count Palatine of the Rhine".[9] The prefix "His Royal Highness" is used,[7][10][11] but has no legal status in Germany.

  • 14 July 1933 - 8 July 1996: His Royal Highness Prince Franz of Bavaria
  • 8 July 1996 - present: His Royal Highness The Duke of Bavaria
    • title in pretence: 8 July 1996 - present: His Majesty The King of Bavaria

Royal titles are not recognised under German Law, but may be used as a part of a surname. Franz's surname at birth was Prinz von Bayern.[12] In 1996, after the death of his father, he changed his surname to Herzog von Bayern (German for 'Duke of Bavaria').[13]

Franz is the current Grand Master of the Royal Order of Saint George for the Defense of the Immaculate Conception,[14] as well as Grand Master of the Order of Saint Hubert and of the Order of Queen Theresa (for Ladies).[14] He is a Hereditary Senator of the University of Munich[15] and an Honorary Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He holds many honorary positions in civic and religious organisations in Bavaria. He supports charitable enterprises helping orphans in Romania.[16]

Succession rights[edit]

Franz has never married. The heir presumptive to the headship of the House of Wittelsbach is his brother Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria. Because Max has 5 daughters but no sons, he is followed in the line of succession by his and Franz's first cousin Prince Luitpold.[17]

The Jacobite succession (which is not tied to the male line as the Bavaria/Wittelsbach succession is) would pass to Prince Max's eldest daughter, Sophie, Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein.[3]

Link to the Stuarts[edit]

Franz is the current senior co-heir-general of King Charles I of England and Scotland, and thus as King Francis II is considered by Jacobites to be the legitimate heir of the Stuart kings of England, France, Scotland and Ireland.[1] It is not, however, a claim which he pursues; the president of his administration, Baron Marcus Bechtolsheim, stating: "really, he is very happy and satisfied with being the Duke of Bavaria."[1] During the referundum about the independence of Scotland in 2014, this statement did not change even if the possibility of his becoming king was quoted by political analysts and German newspapers.[18][19][20][21][22][23]

His link to the House of Stuart is follows:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Alleyne, Richard; de Quetteville, Harry (7 April 2008). "Act repeal could make Franz Herzog von Bayern new King of England and Scotland". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  2. ^ Walker, Tim, "Duke Francis of Bavaria given hope of claiming British throne", The Telegraph, 11 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b Hamilton, Tom (8 April 2008). "German Duke could claim Scots throne". The Daily Record. Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Carla Schulz-Hoffmann and Peter-Klaus Schuster, Deutsche Kunst seit 1960 aus der Sammlung Prinz Franz von Bayern (München: Prestel-Verlag, 1985).
  5. ^ Cowell, Alan (11 July 1996). "Duke Albrecht Is Dead at 91; Pretender to Bavarian Throne". New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Francis II
  7. ^ a b "The blue-blooded Bavarian Duke". the 25 Jul 2013. 
  8. ^ "Party fit for a king". The Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Band 50, Fürstliche Häuser, Band IX, Limburg an der Lahn 1971, S. 7
  10. ^ Donaukurier. 20 November 2013;art596,2845684. Retrieved 23 November 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Die Welt. 3 November 2013 Retrieved 23 November 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Band 50, Fürstliche Häuser Band IX. Limburg an der Lahn: C. A. Starke, 1971, page 7.
  13. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Band 141, Fürstliche Häuser Band XVIII. Limburg an der Lahn: C. A. Starke, 2007, page 2.
  14. ^ a b ICOC Dynastic orders 2006 register
  15. ^ The Jacobite Heritage
  16. ^ OIWW website
  17. ^ Genealogie des Hauses Wittelsbach. München: Verwaltung des Herzogs von Bayern, 2000.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^


Franz, Duke of Bavaria
Born: 14 July 1933
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Duke Albrecht
King of Bavaria
8 July 1996 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Kingdom abolished in 1918
Duke Max
Jacobite succession
8 July 1996 – present