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Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Herzog von Bayern (born 14 July 1933, as Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Prinz von Bayern), styled as His Royal Highness The Duke of Bavaria, is head of the Wittelsbach family, the former ruling family of the Kingdom of Bavaria. His surname at birth was Prinz von Bayern ( ). In 1997, after the death of his father, he changed his surname to Herzog von Bayern ( ).

Franz is a great-grandson of the last King of Bavaria, Ludwig III, who was deposed in 1918. He is also the current senior co-heir-general of King Charles I of England and Scotland, and thus is considered by Jacobites to be the heir of the House of Stuart and the rightful ruler of England, Scotland, France and Ireland as King Francis II, though he himself does not advance the claim.

Early life

Franz was born in Munichmarker, the morganatic son of Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria and his first wife, Countess Maria Drashkovich von Trakoshtyanmarker. On 18 May 1949 his parents' marriage was recognised as dynastic.

The Wittelsbachs were opposed to the Nazi regime in Germany, and in 1939 Franz's father Albrecht took his family to Hungarymarker. They lived in Budapestmarker for four years before moving to Somlovar Castle in late 1943. In March 1944, Nazi Germany occupied Hungary. On 6 October 1944, the entire family including Franz, then aged 11, were arrested. They were sent to a series of Nazi concentration camps including Oranienburgmarker and Dachaumarker. At the end of April 1945 they were liberated by the United States Third Army.

After the war Franz received his high-school education at the Benedictine Abbey of Ettalmarker. He then studied business management at the University of Munichmarker 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 Modernemarker in Munichmarker.

Wittelsbach dynasty today

Under German law royal titles are not recognised legally, but can be used as a part of a surname. Franz lives in an apartment in Nymphenburg Palacemarker, the former summer residence of the kings of Bavaria, in Munichmarker.

Franz is the current Grand Master of the Royal Order of Saint George for the Defense of the Immaculate Conception.ICOC Dynastic orders 2006 register He is also Grand Master of the Order of Saint Hubert and the Order of Saint Theresa . He is a Senator of the University of Munich and an Honorary Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He holds many honorary positions in civic and religious organisations in Bavaria.

Franz is the heir-general of the Royal House of Stuart and thus is regarded by Jacobites as the rightful King of England and Scotland. Jacobites refer to him as King Francis II of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, though he himself does not use these titles.

Succession rights

Franz has never married. On his death his position as head of the House of Wittelsbach will pass to his brother Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria. Because Max has no sons, the Bavarian titles will pass after his death to his first cousin Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and his descendants, while the position of heir of the House of Stuart will pass to Max's daughter Sophie, Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein.

Titles and styles

  • 14 July 1933 — 18 May 1949: Franz Prinz von Bayern
  • 18 May 1949 — 2 August 1955: His Royal Highness Prince Franz of Bavaria
  • 2 August 1955 – 8 July 1996: His Royal Highness The Hereditary Prince of Bavaria
  • 8 July 1996 — present: His Royal Highness The Duke of Bavaria

The Duke's full title is His Royal Highness Franz, Duke of Bavaria, of Fraconia and in Swabia; Count Palatine of the Rhine. In accordance with precedent Franz has not assumed the higher title of king.

See also




  • Die Wittelsbacher. Geschichte unserer Familie. Adalbert, Prinz von Bayern. Prestel Verlag, München, 1979
  • International Commission for Orders of Chivalry. 2006 register - DYNASTIC ORDERS

External links

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