Franz, Duke of Bavaria

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Duke of Bavaria
Franz von bayern.JPG
Franz overseeing an investiture among Knights and Dames of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
Head of the House of Wittelsbach
Period 8 July 1996 – present
Predecessor Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria
Heir presumptive Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria
Born (1933-07-14) 14 July 1933 (age 82)
Munich, German Reich
House Wittelsbach
Father Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria
Mother Countess Maria Draskovich of Trakostjan
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 Dowager Princess of Waldburg
HRH The Dowager Princess of Quadt

Franz, Duke of Bavaria (German: 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.[1] The family initially left Nazi Germany for Hungary but were eventually arrested when Franz was aged 11. He spent time in several Nazi concentration camps, including Oranienburg and Dachau.[1]

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 in Munich. Franz is not married.

Also the current heir-general of King James II of England and VII of Scotland, Franz is, as Francis II, considered by Jacobites to be the legitimate heir of the Stuart kings of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland.[2] A spokesman has said that the Duke generally does not comment on issues concerning his "familiar relationship" to the Royal House of Stuart.[3]


2005 painting by Dieter Stein.

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, a Croatian noble family. On 18 May 1949, when Franz was 15, 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.[4]

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.[5] He is also an honorary trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.[1]

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 guests.[7] including the current Minister-President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer.[8]

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.[9]

Link to the Stuarts[edit]

The current senior heir-general of King James II of England and VII of Scotland, Franz is, as King Francis II, considered by Jacobites to be the legitimate successor to the Stuart kings of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland.[2] It is not, however, a claim which he pursues.[2][10][11][12][13][14][15]

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.[4]

His link to the House of Stuart is as follows:


Titles and styles[edit]

Franz uses the titles Duke of Bavaria, of Franconia and in Swabia, Count Palatine of the Rhine,[16] plus the style "His Royal Highness".[7][17][18]

  • 14 July 1933 – 8 July 1996: His Royal Highness Prince Franz of Bavaria
    • (in Germany): Franz Prinz von Bayern
  • 8 July 1996 – present: His Royal Highness The Duke of Bavaria
    • (in Germany) Franz Herzog von Bayern

Franz was styled Prinz von Bayern at birth.[19] In 1996, after the death of his father, he changed his style to Herzog von Bayern ('Duke of Bavaria').[20]

Grand Magistry of dynastic orders[edit]

As of 2015 Franz was the Grand Master of the Royal Order of Saint George for the Defense of the Immaculate Conception,[21] and Grand Master of the Order of Saint Hubert and of the Order of Queen Theresa (for Ladies).[21]

Orders of knighthood[edit]


He is a Hereditary Senator of the University of Munich[22] 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.[23]


See also[edit]



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


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