Prince Franz of Bavaria (German: Franz Maria Luitpold Prinz von Bayern) (10 October 1875 – 25 January 1957) was a member of the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach and a Major General in the Bavarian Army.

Early life and military career

Franz was born at Schloss Leutstetten, Starnberg, Bavaria. He was the third son of King Ludwig III of Bavaria and his wife Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria-Este. Initially, Franz served as a commander of the 2. Infanterie-Regiments König, but shortly before the outbreak of World War I, he was given command of the 3. bayerische Infanteriebrigade, which was later renamed and became the 4. Infanterie-Brigade. Prince Franz led this brigade through its victories at Fort Douaumont, Passchendaele and Kemmelberg.

For his exemplary leadership during these operations he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Max Joseph on 25 May 1916 and on 28 October 1916 was given command of the entire 4. Bayerische Infanterie-Division. In Spring 1918, Prince Franz was also awarded the Commander's Cross of the Military Order of Max Joseph and the prestigious Pour le Mérite, Prussia's highest military decoration, on 16 May 1918. However, during the summer 1918, the 4. Bayerische Infanterie-Division suffered severe loses during the Battle of the Somme and was transferred to Italian Front on border protection duties, where he stayed for the remainder of the war.


On 12 July 1912 Prince Franz married Princess Isabella Antonie of Croÿ, the daughter of Duke Karl Alfred of Croÿ and Princess Ludmilla of Arenberg. The wedding took place at the Schloss Weilburg in Baden near Vienna, Austria-Hungary. The couple had six children:

  • Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (1913–2008); married Princess Irmingard of Bavaria (1923–2010).
  • Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria (1914–2011); married Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza (1909–1981).
  • Princess Adelgunde Maria of Bavaria (1917–2004); married Baron Zdenko von Hoenning-O'Carroll (1906–1996).
  • Princess Eleonore Marie of Bavaria (1918–2009); married Count Konstantin of Waldburg-Zeil (1909–1972).
  • Princess Dorothea Therese of Bavaria (1920–2015); married Archduke Gottfried of Austria (1902–1984).
  • Prince Rasso Maximilian Rupprecht of Bavaria (1926–2011); married Princess Theresa of Bavaria (b. 1931) ,they had children:
    • Maria-Theresia in Baviera (n. 1956), married Count Tamas Kornis de Goncz-Ruszka.
    • Franz-Josef Michael Maria Ignatius in Baviera (n. 1957), is a Benedictine monk, a member of the Roman Catholic Order of Saint Benedict. Until 1996, he lived under the name Pater Florian.
    • Elizabeth Maria Immaculata Anastasia in Baviera (n. 1959), married Count Andreas von Kuefstein.
    • Wolfgang Rupprecht Maria Theodor in Baviera (n. 1960), married Countess Beatrice of Lodron-Laterano and Castelromano.
    • Benedikta Maria Gabrielle in Baviera (n. 1961), married Count Rudolf von Freyberg-Eisenberg.
    • Christoph Ludwig Maria in Baviera (n. 1962); married Gudila baronessa von Plettenberg.
    • Gisela Maria Carolina Aldegunde in Baviera (n. 1964), married Prince Alexander of Saxon-Gessaphe.


Prince Franz of Bavaria died on 25 January 1957 at Schloss Leutstetten in Starnberg, Bavaria and is buried in the Colombarium in the Michaelskirche in Munich, Bavaria.[citation needed]

Decorations and honors



Other German states

Other countries



  • Das Bayernbuch vom Kriege 1914-1918, Konrad Krafft von Dellmensingen, Friedrichfranz Feeser, Chr. Belser AG, Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart 1930
  • Die Wittelsbacher. Geschichte unserer Familie. Adalbert, Prinz von Bayern. Prestel Verlag, München, 1979