Queen consort of Bavaria

Maria Theresa Henriette Dorothea of Austria-Este (2 July 1849 – 3 February 1919) was the last Queen of Bavaria. She was the only child of Archduke Ferdinand Karl Viktor of Austria-Este and Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria.


On 20 February 1868 she married Prince Ludwig, eldest son of Bavaria's Prince Regent Luitpold, in the Augustinerkirche in Vienna. The couple had fallen in love during a visit of Ludwig to Austria to attend the burial of Archduchess Mathilda. Their decision to marry initially angered the Emperor, who had wished for her to marry Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The chief witness was Count Antonius Schaffgotsch.

The family mostly lived on their farms at Leutstetten south of Munich, where Maria Theresa cultivated rose gardens.

Maria Theresa became queen consort of Bavaria in 1913 when her husband the reigning Prince Regent proclaimed himself king as King Ludwig III in place of his living but insane cousin King Otto. She became the first Catholic queen in Bavaria since Bavaria was made a kingdom 1806. She spoke German, Hungarian, Czech, French, and Italian.

In 1914, she hosted festivities during the royal Bavarian jubilee. She appeared with her husband when war was announced. During World War I, she visited wounded soldiers and encouraged the women of Bavaria to support the troops by providing food and clothes, including with the donations references to legendary heroines.

On 7 November 1918 Ludwig III was forced to abdicate the Bavarian throne, and Maria Theresa fled Munich with her family to Wildenwart Castle near Frasdorf, in order to escape from the Bolsheviks. The health of the Queen soon declined and she died there on 3 February 1919, being buried at the local chapel. On 5 November 1921 her remains were transferred to the cathedral of Munich along with those of her husband, who died less than a month before.

Jacobite succession

Maria Theresa was the niece and heir of the childless Francis V, Duke of Modena who had been, at the time of his death, the Jacobite heir-general to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland; as such, she became the heiress after his death in 1875. Neither she, nor any of her Jacobite forebears since 1807, ever seriously pursued this claim.

Maria Theresa was the first Jacobite heir-general since James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766) who could also have claimed to be a natural-born citizen of Great Britain. While she was not born on British soil, as James had been, Maria Theresa was a descendant of the Electress Sophia of Hanover. Under the terms of the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705, the Electress Sophia and all "issue of her body" were declared to be natural-born British subjects, regardless of the actual place of their birth, unless they were Roman Catholics. The 1705 Act was not repealed until 1948 and, consequently, Maria Theresa would have been covered by its provisions.

Following her death in 1919, Maria Theresa's son Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria inherited the Jacobite claim. Like his mother, he and his descendants have not pursued a claim to the British thrones, although they are in the line of succession upon the basis of being legitimate descendants of George II of Great Britain.


Princess Maria Theresa of Bavaria, future Queen of Bavaria, 1870s.
Queen Maria Theresa, King Ludwig III and their son crown prince Rupprecht.

On 20 February 1868, at St. Augustine's Church in Vienna, Maria Theresa married the future Ludwig III, last king of Bavaria.

The couple had thirteen children:




  1. ^ "Rote Kreuz-Medaille", Königlich Preussische Ordensliste (in German), Berlin, 1895, p. 268 – via hathitrust.org


  • Schad, Martha. Bayerns Königinnen. Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1992. Includes a 75-page chapter on Marie Therese.
  • Beckenbauer, Alfons. Ludwig III. von Bayern, 1845-1921, Ein König auf der Suche nach seinem Volk. Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1987. The standard modern biography of Marie Therese's husband.
  • Glaser, Hubert. Ludwig III. König von Bayern: Skizzen aus seiner Lebensgeschichte. Prien: Verkerhrsverband Chiemsee, 1995. An illustrated catalogue of an exhibition held in Wildenwart in 1995.

External links

Maria Theresa of Austria-Este (1849–1919)
Cadet branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Born: 2 July 1849 Died: 3 February 1919
German royalty
Title last held by
Marie of Prussia
Queen consort of Bavaria
5 November 1913 – 13 November 1918
Monarchy abolished
Titles in pretence
Republic declared — TITULAR —
Queen consort of Bavaria
13 November 1918 – 3 February 1919
Title next held by
Antonia of Luxembourg
Preceded by Jacobite succession
Succeeded by