Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria

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Maria Elisabeth
Princess of Bavaria
Princess consort of Brazil (disputed)
Tenure 19 August 1937 – 5 July 1981
Born (1914-09-14)14 September 1914
Born Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria
Died 13 May 2011(2011-05-13) (aged 96)
Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Spouse
(m. 1937; died 1981)
Issue Luiz, Prince of Brazil
Prince Eudes
Bertrand, Prince of Brazil
Antônio, Prince Imperial
Eleanora, Princess of Ligne
Princess Isabel Maria
See more
House Wittelsbach (by birth)
Orlésns-Braganza (by marriage)
Father Prince Franz of Bavaria
Mother Princess Isabella Antonie of Croÿ
Burial 14 May 2011
Nossa Senhora da Conceição Cemetery, Vassouras, Brazil

Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria (14 September 1914 – 13 May 2011), nicknamed "Empress-mother", was a German princess of the House of Wittelsbach, granddaughter of King Luwdig III of Bavaria and consort of Pedro Henrique, Prince of Brazil, head of the Vassouras branch of the House of Orléans-Braganza and one of the two claimants to the Brazilian throne.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria was born at Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria, the second child and first daughter of Prince Franz of Bavaria (1875–1957), (son of King Ludwig III of Bavaria and Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este) and his wife, Princess Isabella Antonie of Croÿ (1890–1982), (daughter of Karl Alfred, Duke of Croÿ and Princess Ludmilla of Arenberg). Her birth loosely coincided with beginning of First World War, on which most of her relatives fought, including her father. Her childhood and youth were very troubled because of the regimes that were established in Germany after the war such as de deposition of her grandfather and the abolition of the Bavarian monarchy when she was four.

Until coming of age the princess lived in Sárvár Castle, in Hungary, which was owned by her grandmother, Queen Maria Teresa, a born Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Hungary, etc. The Bavarian royal family was able to resettle in Bavaria in the 1930s. The republican government was forced to return a substantial part of goods and castles that had been confiscated in 1918 after the revolution. Princess Maria Elisabeth received education from her parents, as schooling in the art of well as painting. The Princess specialized in porcelain painting, a traditional art of Bavaria.

The interwars period (1918–1938) was particularly difficult for the House of Wittelsbach. As the Nazis rose to power in Germany, Maria Elisabeth's uncle, Rupprecht (1869–1955), who by then had suceeded King Ludwig as head of the dynasty, publicly declared himself an enemy of Hitler. As a consequence the Nazis threathened and harassed the Wittelsbach and they were eventually forced to leave the country first for Italy and then to France.[1]

Marriage and departure to Brazil[edit]

On 19 August 1937 Princess Maria Elisabeth married Pedro Henrique, Prince of Brazil, head of one of the branches of the Imperial House of Brazil and, same as her, the grandson of the last royal ruler of his country. The wedding took place in the chapel of Nymphenburg Palace in Nazi-dominated Bavaria. It is reported that no Nazi official had been invited to the wedding which deeply annoyed the local Nazi headship and prompted them to further harass the Bavarian royals.

The imperial couple lived first in France; although they made numerous attempts to immigrate to Brazil, they were supposedly prevented by the Second World War, even though it only begun after two years of their marriage. It was not until 1945 that the couple, by then with three son already, was able to move. First, they settled in the Imperial Palace of Grão-Pará, in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, and later in a house of the neighborhood of Retiro. In 1951, Prince Pedro Henrique acquired the Fazenda Santa Maria (Santa Maria, or St. Mary Farm), in Jacarezinho, Paraná, where the family lived until 1964. The following yeats they moved to a estate in Vassouras, within the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Widowhood[edit]

In 1981, Prince Pedro Henrique died at Vassouras and his eldest son became the Head of the Vassouras branch of the Imperial House of Brazil. Maria Elisabeth's life was divided between Santa Maria and her daughter Isabel's apartment in the district of Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro. She frequently visited Bavaria and Belgium, where her other daughters resided.

In 2004, a Mass honoring her 90th birthday was celebrated by the abbot emeritus of St. Benedict of Rio de Janeiro, Jose Palmeiro Mendes, and co-celebrated by priests Sérgio Costa Couto, judge of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro and chaplain of the Glory of the Outeiro, and Jorge Luis Pereira da Silva at the Church of Imperial Brotherhood of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro, in Rio de Janeiro. It was attended by all of her children and numerous grandchildren, making the event noteworthy enough to be reported on by Brazilian mainstream media.

Last years and death[edit]

Due to old age and frailty, she remained indoors for the last five years of her life. Under the care of nurses, the Princess Mother read a lot, always in German, knitted and watched opera and ballet DVDs. In an apartment, she lived with her eldest daughter, Princess Isabel Maria of Brazil, and her grandson, Rafael, Prince of Grão-Pará, Princess Amélia of Brazil and Princess Maria Gabriela of Brazil, children of Prince Antônio, Prince Imperial of Brazil and Princess Christine of Ligne, residents of Petrópolis, who were in Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Princess Maria Elisabeth died at 1:00 pm on 13 May 2011, aged 96, on the 123rd anniversary of the signing of the Lei Áurea (Golden Law) by her husband's grandmother, Empress Isabel I of Brazil. Maria Elisabeth was comforted in her faith, having received Extreme Unction and the blessing of Pope Benedict XVI, her countryman.[2]

Children and descendants[edit]

  • HI&RH Prince Luiz Gastão Maria Jose Pio de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1938–), present Head of the Imperial House of Brazil (according to the Vassouras branch). Unmarried and without issue.
  • HRH Prince Eudes Maria Ranieri Pedro José de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1939–), renounced his rights of succession to the Brazilian throne for himself and his descendants on 3 June 1966. He first married (1967–1976) Ana Maria de Moraes e Barros (1945–) with issue, and second married Mercedes Neves da Rocha (1955–), with issue.
  • HI&RH Prince Bertrand Maria José Pio Januaria de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1941–), Prince Imperial of Brazil (according to the Vassouras branch). Unmarried and without issue.
  • HRH Princess Isabel Maria Josefa Henriqueta Francisca de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1944–2017). Died unmarried and without issue.
  • HRH Prince Pedro de Alcántara Henrique Maria Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1945–), he renounced his rights of succession to the Brazilian throne for himself and his descendants on 28 December 1972. He married (1974) Maria de Fátima de Lacerda Rocha (1952–), with issue.
    • HRH Princess Maria Pia de Orléans-Bragança e Lacerda Rocha (1975–), she married (2001) Rodrigo Broglia Mendes (1974–), with issue.
      • Dom Antônio Broglia Mendes e Orléans-Bragança (2004–).
    • HRH Princess Maria Caroline de Orléans-Bragança e Lacerda Rocha (1978–), she married (2005) Nuno de Carvalho Moreira (1974–), with issue.
      • Dom Jaquim Pedro de Orleans-Bragança e Moreira (2008–).
    • HRH Prince Gabriel Jose de Orléans-Bragança e Lacerda Rocha (1980–).
    • HRH Princess Maria de Fatima de Orléans-Bragança e Lacerda Rocha (1988–).
    • HRH Princess Maria Manuela de Orléans-Bragança e Lacerda Rocha (1989–).
  • HRH Prince Fernando Diniz Maria José Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1948–), he renounced his rights of succession to the Brazilian throne for himself and his descendants on 24 February 1972. He married (1975) Maria de Graça Baere de Araújo (1952–), with issue.
    • HRH Princess Isabel de Orléans Bragança e Baere de Araújo (1978–).
    • HRH Princess Maria de Gloria de Orléans Bragança e Baere de Araújo (1982–).
    • HRH Princess Luíza de Orléans Bragança e Baere de Araújo (1984–).
  • HI&RH Prince Antônio João Maria José Jorge Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1950–), married Princess Christine of Ligne (1955–), with issue.
  • HRH Princess Eleonora Maria Josefa Rosa Filipa Miguela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1953– ), married (1981) Prince Michel, The 14th Prince of Ligne (1951–), with issue.
  • HRH Prince Francisco Maria José Rasso Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1955–), he renounced his rights of succession to the Brazilian throne for himself and his descendants on 11 December 1980. He married (1980) Claudia Regina Godinho (1954–), with issue.
    • HRH Princess Maria Elizabeth de Orléans-Bragança e Godinho (1982–).
    • HRH Princess Maria Thereza de Orléans-Bragança e Godinho (1984–).
    • HRH Princess Maria Eleonora de Orléans-Bragança e Godinho (1984–).
  • HRH Prince Alberto Maria José João Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1957–), he renounced his rights of succession to the Brazilian throne for himself and his descendants on 11 December 1980. He married (1983) Maritza Ribas Bockel (1961–), with issue.
    • HRH Pedro de Orléans-Bragança e Bockel (1988–).
    • HRH Princess Maria Beatriz de Orléans-Bragança e Bockel (1990–).
    • HRH Princess Ann Tereza de Orléans-Bragança e Bockel (1995–).
    • HRH Prince Antonio Alberto de Orléans-Bragança e Bockel (1997–).
  • HRH Princess Maria Teresa Aldegunda Luiza Josefa Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1959–), married (1995) Jan Hessel de Jong (1953–), with issue.
    • Dom Johannes Pedro Michel Marie de Jong e Orléans-Bragança (1997–).
  • HRH Princess Maria Gabriela Dorotèa Isabel Josefa Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga de Orléans-Bragança e Wittelsbach (1959–), married Theodore Senna de Hungria Machado (1952–).

Titles and honors[edit]

Styles of
Princess Maria Elisabeth
Reference styleHer Imperial and Royal Highness
Spoken styleYour Imperial and Royal Highness
Alternative styleMa'am

Titles[edit]

  • 14 September 1914 - 19 August 1937: Her Royal Highness Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria
  • 19 August 1937 - 13 May 2011: Her Imperial and Royal Highness The Princess Consort of Brazil

Honors[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Theroff, Paul. "Luxemburg Genealogy". www.angelfire.com/realm/gotha/ (Paul Theroff’s Royal Genealogy Site).Template:Self-published sourceTemplate:Better source
  2. https://monarquia.miraheze.org/wiki/Maria_Isabel_da_Baviera Maria Isabel da Baviera - Monarquia Wiki

Sources[edit]

Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria
Cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach
Born: 9 September 1914 Died: 13 May 2011
Brazilian royalty
Preceded byas Emperor Consort Princess Consort of Brazil
19 August 1937 – 5 July 1981
Succeeded by
None

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