Prince Leopold of Bavaria (b. 1943)

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Prince Leopold
Prince Leopold of Bavaria
Leopold Prinz von Bayern IAA 2011.JPG
Born (1943-06-21) 21 June 1943 (age 73)
Schloss Umkirch near Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Spouse Ursula Möhlenkamp (m. 1977)
Issue Prince Manuel
Princess Maria del Pilar
Princess Maria Felipa
Prince Konstantin
Full name
German: Leopold Rupprecht Ludwig Ferdinand Adalbert Friedrich Maria et omnes sancti
House Wittelsbach
Father Prince Konstantin of Bavaria
Mother Princess Maria Adelgunde of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
Religion Roman Catholicism
Bavarian royal family
Wappen Deutsches Reich - Königreich Bayern (Grosses).png

HRH The Duke of Bavaria


HRH Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria
HRH Princess Elisabeth

HRH The Dowager Princess of Waldburg
HRH The Dowager Princess of Quadt

Prince Leopold (Poldi) of Bavaria (German: Leopold Rupprecht Ludwig Ferdinand Adalbert Friedrich Maria et omnes sancti Prinz von Bayern) (born 21 June 1943) is a member of the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach and a former champion race car driver. He descends from King Ludwig I of Bavaria in direct line and is a distant relative to the current head of the House of Wittelsbach, Franz, Duke of Bavaria and his brother, Maximilian, Duke in Bavaria. He also descends from Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth and from King George II of Great Britain, and is therefore a distant cousin of Elizabeth II. As a Roman Catholic he is excluded from the line for the British throne by the Act of Settlement 1701.

Early life[edit]

Leopold (aka "Poldi") was born on Schloss Umkirch near Freiburg im Breisgau in Baden-Württemberg. He is the eldest son of Prince Konstantin of Bavaria and his first wife Princess Maria Adelgunde of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

Since his parents separated soon after he was born, Leopold was raised by his grandparents Prince Friedrich von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Princess Margarete Karola of Saxony. He grew up on Schloss Umkirch together with his uncle Prince Ferfried (aka "Foffie") who is only two months his senior. It was there the Prince developed his love for cars and racing.

Marriage[edit]

On 21 October 1977 Prince Leopold married Ursula (Uschi) Möhlenkamp, the daughter of Wilhelm (Willi) Möhlenkamp and Ingeborg Brauckmann. The civil ceremony took place at Berg on Lake Starnberg in Bavaria. The religious ceremony followed a month later, on 19 November 1977 in Aufkirchen, Bavaria. Initially the union was considered morganatic, but on 3 March 1999 the marriage was decreed to be conditionally dynastic in accordance with the Bavarian house laws. Since his son Manuel married dynastically, he is kept in line of succession. The couple have four children:

  • Prince Manuel Maria Alexander Leopold Jörg of Bavaria (b. out of wedlock in 1972). Married Princess Anna of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (b. 1978) in 2005. They have three children:
    • Prince Leopold Maria Bengt Karl Manuel of Bavaria (b. 2007)
    • Princess Alva Manuelle Maria Petra Yvonne of Bavaria (b. 2010)
    • Prince Gabriel of Bavaria (b. 2015)
  • Princess Maria del Pilar Birgitta Adelgunde Charlotte of Bavaria (b. 1978)
  • Princess Maria Felipa Karin Marion Gabriele of Bavaria (b. 1981), married Christian Alexander Dienst (b. 1978) in 2012.[1] They have two sons:
    • August Maria Jürgen Leopold Dienst (b. 2013)
    • Ferdinand Maria Konstantin Joachim Dienst (b. 2014)
  • Prince Konstantin Eugen Alexander Max-Emanuel Maria Ludwig Ferdinand Leopold of Bavaria (b. 1986)

Later life[edit]

The Prince resides in a villa on the Lake Starnberg south of the Bavarian capital, Munich and is often seen in the company of the current Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf whom he has known since his teens. He is a godfather of King Carl Gustaf's only son, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. Prince Leopold is also involved with charitable causes helping disabled children, such as the Special Olympics and organizations promoting the use of animal-assisted therapy. This is in part, because his oldest daughter Princess Pilar has a form of autism, which she developed as a baby after she was given the wrong anesthetic during a heart surgery.[2]

Ancestry[edit]

Motor Racing career[edit]

Prince Leopold started his career with rallying and in 1969 moved to touring car racing winning the North American Championships with Porsche in 1972. In 1984 he also took part in the legendary sports car endurance race 24 Hours of Le Mans together with Walter Brun and Bob Akin, finishing fourth. In 1986, Leopold became a factory driver for the Munich based car manufacturer BMW and although he retired from competitive racing in 1998, he remains involved with the BMW racing team as an adviser.

As well as competing in Europe and America, Prince Leopold competed in Australia also with a drive the 1984 James Hardie 1000 driving a Group A BMW 635 CSi for Frank Gardner's factory backed JPS Team BMW, partnering 1967 Formula One World Champion Denny Hulme. In Australian touring car racing Group A was only a minor class introduced for the endurance races in 1984 before taking over as top class in 1985. After a troubled week which included losing a day after the Prince crashed the BMW at the top of The Mountain due to a lost front wheel, the pair finished the race in 15th place and 2nd in class, 4 laps behind the class winning TWR Rover Vitesse and 15 laps behind the race winning Holden Dealer Team Commodore. von Bayern (and Hulme) both had a new experience while racing at Bathurst in 1984. Their BMW was equipped with a racecam unit fitted in place of the left front headlight and both drivers were able to talk to the Channel 7 television commentary team while they were driving with the Prince saying at one point that "The race is very much fun for me".[3]

Career Results[edit]

Complete World Endurance Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 DC Points
1971 Italy International Martini Racing Team Porsche 908/02 BUE DAY SEB BRA MNZ SPA TAR NUR
DNS
LMS WAT ZEL NC 0
1972 West Germany Tony Fischhaber Porsche 911 S BUE DAY SEB BRA MNZ SPA TAR NUR
14
LMS ZEL WAT NC 0
1973 West Germany Tony Fischhaber Porsche 911 Carrera RSR DAY VAL DIJ MNZ SPA TAR NUR
14
LMS ZEL WAT NC 0
1977 West Germany Jörg Obermoser TOJ SC302 Ford DIJ VAL MNZ PER EST PAU
Ret
IMO SAL NC 0
1981 Austria Helmut Marko BMW M1 DAY SEB MUG MNZ RIV SIL NUR LMS
Ret
PUR DAY WAT SPA MOS RAM BRA NC 0
1983 Switzerland Brun Motorsport
West Germany Joest Racing
BMW M1
Porsche 936
MNZ SIL NUR
Ret
LMS
Ret
SPA FJI KYA
7
67th 4
1984 Switzerland Brun Motorsport GmbH
West Germany Porsche Kremer Racing
Porsche 956B MNZ SIL LMS
4
NUR
9
BRA
8
MOS SPA IMO
4
FJI KYA
7
SAN 25th 25
1985 Switzerland Brun Motorsport GmbH Porsche 956B
Porsche 962C
MUG
DNS
MNZ SIL LMS
Ret
HOC MOS BRA NUR SPA BRA FJI SHA NC 0

Complete World Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 DC Points
1987 West Germany Schwaben Motorsport BMW M3 MNZ
JAR
DIJ
NUR
Ret
SPA BNO SIL
Ret
BAT
CLD
Ret
WEL
ovr:12
cls:5
FJI NC 0

† Not registered for series & points

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1981 Austria Helmut Marko RSM West Germany Christian Danner
West Germany Peter Oberndofer
BMW M1 GT 49 DNF DNF
1983 Switzerland Brun Motorsport
Switzerland Angelo Pallavicini
Switzerland Angelo Pallavicini
Denmark Jens Winther
BMW M1 B 160 DNF DNF
1984 Switzerland Brun Motorsport GmbH Switzerland Walter Brun
United States Bob Akin
Porsche 956B C1 340 4th 4th
1985 Switzerland Brun Motorsport GmbH Switzerland Walter Brun
France Joël Gouhier
Belgium Didier Theys
Porsche 962C C1 304 DNF
(DND)
DNF
(DND)

Complete Bathurst 1000 results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1984 Australia JPS Team BMW New Zealand Denny Hulme BMW 635 CSi Group A 148 15th 2nd

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Die Wittelsbacher. Geschichte unserer Familie. Adalbert, Prinz von Bayern. Prestel Verlag, München, 1979
  • Prinz und Demokrat. Konstantin von Bayern: Ein Gedenkbuch. Konstantin, Prinz von Bayern and Arens, Hanns. München; Wien : Langen/Müller, 1970
  • Ich habe einen Traum. DIE ZEIT, 18 September 2003. Nr.39