Franz, Duke of Bavaria

Happy Birthday to the Duke of Bavaria, who turns 90 today! The third child and elder son of Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria and Countess Maria Draskovich of Trakostjan, Prince Franz was the grandson of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and grew up in Munich before moving to Sárvár Castle in Hungary ahead of the Second World War, as the Wittelsbach Dynasty were opposed to the Third Reich. After the Nazi Occupation of Hungary in 1944, the entire family were arrested and sent to a series of Nazi concentration camps, including Oranienburg and Dachau before being liberated by the United States Third Army in 1945.

After the war, Prince Franz received his secondary education at the Benedictine Abbey of Ettal, before studying business management at the University of Munich and in Zurich. The Prince developed a passion for collecting modern art and items from his private collection are on permanent loan to the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. He is also an honorary trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Through the Hilfsverein Nymphenburg e. V. aid organization, the Duke supports in his charitable work in Romania, Albania and African countries and he is also patron of the Nymphenburger Gespräche, a platform for intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

He succeeded as Head of the House of Wittelsbach, and as Pretender to the Bavarian Throne in 1996, styled as the Duke of Bavaria, of Franconia and in Swabia, and Count Palatine of the Rhine, but is usually styled as Herzog von Bayern (Duke of Bavaria). He is also the Jacobite Pretender to the British Throne as a direct descendant of the House of Stuart but does not pursue the claim. As the Head of the House, the Duke appoint the board of directors of the Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds and the Wittelsbacher Landesstiftung für Kunst und Wissenschaft, a foundation which has held the collections and treasures of the Royal House since 1923, and pays out around 14 million euros in annual payments to members of the Royal Family, the largest share going to the Duke of Bavaria. The Duke resides at Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich and at Schloss Berg though there are dozens of Castles and Palaces still owned by the Royal Family.

Since 1980, the Duke of Bavaria has resided with his partner, Thomas Greinwald, though they have never been married and only first appeared in public as a couple in 2023, at the Wedding of the future Heir, Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who is third in the line of succession after the Duke’s brother, Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria, and his father, Prince Luitpold. We wish HRH a very Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns!


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