Rupprecht, King of Bavaria

From Kaiserreich

Rupprecht von Wittelsbach (born Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand on May, 18 1877 at Munich, Germany)is the seventh and current King of Bavaria since October, 18 1921, succeeding to his father Ludwig III. The head of one of the constituent kingdoms of the German Empire, he's also Generalfeldmarschall of the German Army, and the Jacobite claimant to the throne of England.



Early life

Born in Munich from then Prince Ludwig (future King Ludwig III of Bavaria) and Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria-Este, Rupprecht was the eldest of thirteen children. His early education from the age of seven was conducted by Freiherr Rolf Kreusser, an Anglo-Bavarian. In his youth, he spent considerable time at Schloß Leutstetten, Starnberg, and at the family's villa near Lindau, Lake Constance, where he was able to develop a keen interest in sports. His education was traditional and conservative, but he became the first member of the royal house of Bavaria to spend time at a public school, when he was educated at the Maximilian-Gymnasium in Munich, where he spent four years. Apart from his schooling and his training in horse riding and dancing, he was also obliged to learn a trade. His choice fell to carpentry. At these times, his grandfather, Luitpold, was the Prince Regent due to the incapacity of King Otto: it was now obvious that Rupprecht would one day become King of Bavaria.

After graduating from high school, he entered the Bavarian Infanterie-Leibregement as a Second Lieutenant. He interrupted his military career to study at the universities of Munich and Berlin from 1889 to 1891. He rose to the rank of a Colonel and became the commanding officer of the 2nd Infanterie Regiment Kronprinz but found enough opportunity to travel extensively to the Middle East, India, Japan and China. His early journeys were made with his Adjutant, Otto von Stetten. Later he was accompanied by his first wife. At the age of 31, Rupprecht married the kinswoman Duchess Marie Gabrielle in Bavaria, with whom he had five children before her early death in 1912 at the age of 34. In 1906, Rupprecht was made commander of the Bavarian I Army Corps, with the rank of lieutenant general of the infantry, promoted to full general in 1913. In 1912, Luitpold was succeeded in the position of Prinzregent by his son Ludwig. On 5 November 1913, Ludwig was made king by vote of the Bavarian Senate, becoming Ludwig III. This decision also made Rupprecht the Crown Prince of Bavaria.

During the Weltkrieg

He commanded the German Sixth Army at the outbreak of the Weltkrieg in Lorraine. The appointment to command of the Sixth Army was as a result of his royalty, but the level of study he had performed before he took command was a factor behind his successful direction of the Sixth Army, and he proved to be a highly able commander. Rupprecht succeeded in holding back the French attack in August 1914, in the Battle of Lorraine, and then launched a counteroffensive later that month. Rupprecht failed to break through the French lines. He was later in command of the 6th Army at Ypres, facing the British Expeditionary Force, and remained on the Western Front during the stalemate, and would later assume the military occupation of Northern France (Lille region).

Rupprecht achieved the rank of Generalfeldmarschall in July 1916 and assumed command of Army Group Rupprecht on 28th August that year, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th Army. Rupprecht has been considered by some to be one of the best Royal commanders in the Imperial German Army of the Weltkrieg. Rupprecht was alas noticed to be a defeatist, seeing an ever increasing material advantage of the Entente. He was also engaged to the much younger Princess Antoinette of Luxemburg in order to strengthen the ties of this little Grand-Duchy with Germany, and married her in 1921, the ceremony being held by Papal Nuncio Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli his mother died: he succeeded his mother as Jacobite claimant to the throne of England (see below). The war was over since only a few months when his father Ludwig III died on October, 18 1921: the popular and successful Crown Prince then became King Rupprecht of Bavaria.

Rule and 1923 Bavarian uprising


General von Epp

After only eight years of his father's conservative rule, Rupprecht vowed to be a liberal and reformist king, helped in this by the state of grace that his military achievements had secured for him. He urged the government in Berlin for democratization and to stop world expansion, concentrating in Peace Conferences. He drafted a new Constitution for Bavaria in 1922, allowing opposition parties to be elected to the Parliament, which was made far more powerful. However, such democratization reforms, that the King hoped to be a model for the whole Germany, were comprised as signs of weakness by Syndicalist activists such as Kurt Eisner, who staged a leftist uprising in Munich by early 1923. To avoid destabilization to get worse, King Rupprecht was forced, against his will, to proclaim martial law in Bavaria and to handle executive powers to the authoritiarian General Franz Ritter von Epp, who would carry massive and bloody reprisals against the Syndicalists, known by historians as one of the greatest post-Weltkrieg White Terrors. Eisner was forced to exile in France, von Epp came to national prominence, the once powerful Bavarian trade unions were decapitated, but King Rupprecht had failed his vows of peaceful parliamentary monarchy, and had to acknowledge the rise of the National-Populist GDVP in his kingdom and of his formerly subject, Ernst Röhm.

Claim to the thrones of England and Scotland

Jacobitism was in the beginning the political movement dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland, after their removal in 1688 by William of Orange. If the movement, heavily supported by British Catholics and Scottish nobility, practically ended with the defeat of Charles Edward Stuart at Culloden in 1746, and that the Stuart line ended with the death of Cardinal "Henry IX" in 1807, the claims continued to travel through the House of Savoy and the Modenese branch of the Habsburgs, even if the claimants didn't really claimed the title of King of England and Scotland and declared the ruling British kings to be Protestant usurpers. On February, 3 1919, the then Jacobite claimant, Maria Theresia of Austria-Este, died, and her claim passed to her son, Bavarian Crown Prince Rupprecht, who would have claimed the regnal name of Robert I (of England) and IV (of Scotland). As the future King of Bavaria was known to be a competent and intelligent military leader, there was a few German strategists to suggest that, in case of a German invasion of the British isles, the Bavarian King should be crowned King of England and Scotland. The project was abandoned after the Peace with Honour, but was revived after the 1925 British Revolution: with Great Britain left without a king and king George V in exile in Canada, could Rupprecht or one of his sons be installed in London? Even if Rupprecht never seriously claimed his potential throne for himself, there is some British monarchists and German plotters to sometimes pass their drink over a glass of water, to salute the King Over the Water.


Rupprecht married twice and had a total of eleven children, seven of them still living:

From Duchess Marie Gabrielle in Bavaria, daughter of Duke Karl-Theodor in Bavaria (October 9, 1878-October 24, 1912), married on July 10, 1900 in Munich:

  • Prince Luitpold Maximilian Ludwig Karl of Bavaria (8 May 1901-27 August 1914, from poliomelytis)
  • Princess Irmingard Maria Therese José Cäcilia Adelheid Michaela Antonia Adelgunde of Bavaria (September, 21 1902-21 April 1903, diphtheria)
  • Albrecht Luitpold Ferdinand Michael, Crown Prince of Bavaria (born May, 3 1905), who would succeed his father as King Albrecht
  • Stillborn daughter (1906)
  • Prince Rudolf Friedrich Rupprecht of Bavaria (30 May 1909-26 June 1912, diabetes)

From Queen Antonia of Bavaria, daughter of William IV, Grand Duke of Luxembourg (born October, 7 1889), married on 7 April, 1921 in Lenggries:

  • Prince Heinrich Franz Wilhelm of Bavaria (born March, 28 1922).
  • Princess Irmingard Marie Josefa of Bavaria (born May, 29 1923).
  • Princess Editha Marie Gabrielle Anna of Bavaria (born September, 16 1924).
  • Princess Hilda Hildegard Marie Gabriele of Bavaria (born March, 24 1926).
  • Princess Gabrielle Adelgunde Marie Theresia Antonia of Bavaria (b. 10 May 1927).
  • Princess Sophie Marie Therese of Bavaria (born 20 June 1935).
Personal tools