Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria

Princess Maria Elisabeth
Princess of Bavaria
Princess of Orléans-Braganza
Born (1914-09-14)September 14, 1914
Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria
Died 13 May 2011(2011-05-13) (aged 96)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Spouse Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza
Issue Prince Luiz
Prince Eudes Maria
Prince Bertrand
Princess Isabel Maria
Prince Pedro de Alcântara Henrique
Prince Fernando Diniz
Prince Antônio
Eleanora, Princess of Ligne
Prince Francisco Maria
Prince Alberto Maria
Princess Maria Teresa
Princess Maria Gabriela
Full name
German: Maria Elisabeth Franziska Josepha Therese
House Wittelsbach
Father Prince Franz of Bavaria
Mother Princess Isabella Antonie of Croÿ
Religion Roman Catholicism

Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria (German: Prinzessin Maria Elisabeth Franziska Josepha Therese von Bayern; 9 September 1914 – 13 May 2011) was the eldest daughter of Prince Franz of Bavaria, third son of King Ludwig III of Bavaria.

Early life

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 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).

Princess Maria Elisabeth was born at the beginning of First World War; most of her relatives fought during the war, even her father. Her childhood and youth were very troubled because of the regimes that were established in Germany after the war.

Until coming of age the princess lived in Sárvár Castle, in Hungary, which was owned by his grandmother, Queen Maria Teresa, a born Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Hungary and of Modena, among others. The Bavarian Royal Family returned to 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.

The times in Germany between the wars (1918–1938) were difficult, due to the Great Depression of 1929 and the rise of the Nazis, and Adolf Hitler in the German government. The uncle of the princess, Rupprecht (1869–1955), head of the Royal House of Bavaria, declared himself an enemy of Hitler. This fact had a huge impact on the Royal Family; they were forced to flee to Italy. The second wife of Prince Rupprecht, Princess Antonia of Luxembourg (1899–1955), and her children, however, were captured by the Nazis, while Rupprecht, still in Italy, evaded arrest. They were imprisoned at Sachsenhausen. Although liberated that very same month, the imprisonment greatly impaired Antonia's health, and she died nine years later, at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.[1]

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.

Marriage and departure to Brazil

On 19 August 1937 Princess Maria Elisabeth married Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza, head of one of the branches of the Imperial House of Brazil. The wedding took place in the chapel of Nymphenburg Palace.

The imperial couple lived first in France; although they made numerous attempts to immigrate to Brazil, they were prevented by World War II. It was not until 1945 that the family was able to move. First, they settled in the 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, in Jacarezinho, Paraná, where the family lived until 1964. In 1965, the imperial family moved to Vassouras, within the state of Rio de Janeiro.


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 media.

Children and descendants

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

In pretence:




  1. Theroff, Paul. "Luxemburg Genealogy". (Paul Theroff’s Royal Genealogy Site).


Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria
Cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach
Born: 9 September 1914 Died: 13 May 2011
Titles in pretence
Title last held by
Gaston, Count of Eu
as Emperor Consort
Empress consort of Brazil
19 August 1937 – 5 July 1981
Succeeded by
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