Maria Theresa of Austria-Este (1849–1919)

Maria Theresa of Austria-Este (1849–1919)
Maria Theresa of Austria-Este
Queen consort of Bavaria
Tenure 5 November 1913 – 7 November 1918
Spouse Ludwig III of Bavaria
Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria
Adelgunde, Princess of Hohenzollern
Princess Maria, Duchess of Calabria
Prince Karl
Prince Franz
Mathilde, Princess Ludwig of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary
House House of Wittelsbach
House of Austria-Este
Father Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este
Mother Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria
Born 2 July 1849(1849-07-02)
Died 3 February 1919(1919-02-03) (aged 69)
Wildenwart Castle, Chiemgau

Maria Theresia Henriette Dorothee of Austria-Este (2 July 1849 – 3 February 1919) was a Queen consort of Bavaria and a Jacobite pretender. She was the daughter and only child of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and his wife, Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria. She was the last Queen of Bavaria and the Jacobite pretender as Mary IV and III from 1875 until her death.


Ancestry and Family

Maria Theresia circa 1913

Her paternal grandparents were Francis IV, Duke of Modena, and Princess Maria Beatrice of Savoy. Her maternal grandparents were Archduke Josef Anton of Austria and his third wife Duchess Maria Dorothea of Württemberg.

Maria Theresa was born at Brünn in Moravia, now Brno in the Czech Republic. On 15 December 1849, when she was only five months old, her father Archduke Ferdinand died from typhoid. Maria Theresa was raised by her mother Archduchess Elisabeth.

On 18 April 1854, Archduchess Elisabeth married Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria, Duke of Teschen, by whom she had six children:

Through her mother, Maria Theresa was also first cousin to Princess Stephanie of Belgium, Crown Princess of Austria-Hungary; and Princess Clementine of Belgium, Princess Napoleon; and Maria Dorothea, Duchess of Orleans.


Queen Maria Theresa, King Ludwig III and their son crown prince Rupprecht

On February 20, 1868, she married Prince Ludwig, eldest son of Prince Regent Luitpold, in the Augustinerkirche in Vienna. The couple had fallen in love with each other during a visit of Ludwig at Pfingsten in Austria to attend the burial of Archduchess Mathilda of Austria, who was his cousin and a friend of Maria Theresa, in representation of King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1867, and they decided to marry, which initially angered the Emperor, who had wished for her to marry Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The chief witness was Count Antonius Schaffgotsch, just the one who baptised Maria Theresa the new princess.

After marriage, Maria Theresa spent most time raising her children. The couple lived a humble life in spite of the bright future that they would probably become King and Queen of Bavaria in future. With no official salary the family mostly lived on their farms at Leutstetten south of Munich, where Maria Theresa had her famous rose gardens.

Maria Theresa got various orders:

  1. Dame of the (Austrian) Order of the Starry Cross (January 10, 1865);
  2. Grand Mistress of the (Bavarian) Order of Theresia and of the (Bavarian) Order of Saint Elisabeth (October 19, 1872);
  3. Dame of the (Spanish) Order of Maria Luisa;
  4. The (Austrian) Order of Elisabeth 1st Class, the Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown, the Cross of Merit for the Year 1870/71, the Cross of Merit for Voluntary Nursing, and the (Prussian) Red Cross Medal 2nd Class.

Maria Theresa became queen consort of Bavaria in 1913 when her husband the reigning Prince Regent proclaimed king himself as King Ludwig III in place of his living but insane cousin King Otto. She became the first Catholic queen in Bavaria since Bavaria was made a kingdom 1806. She spoke German, Hungarian, Czech, French, and Italian. In 1914, she hosted great festivities to the royal Bavarian jubilee and appeared with her spouse to announce the war. During World War I, she was a great patriot and also supported the Habsburg monarchy. She encouraged the women of Bavaria to support the soldiers by providing food and clothes for them with references to legendary heroines and visited wounded soldiers.

On November 7, 1918, Ludwig III was forced to abdicate Bavarian throne, and Maria Theresa fled Munich with her family to Wildenwart Castle near Frasdorf, in order to escape from Bolsheviks. The health of the Queen soon fell and she died there on February 3, 1919, and was buried at the local chapel. On November 5, 1921, her remains were transferred to the cathedral of Munich along with those of her husband, who died less than a month before.

Jacobite pretender

She was the niece and heir of the childless Francis V, Duke of Modena, Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England and Scotland; as such, Jacobites styled her Queen Mary IV and III after his death in 1875. Her son Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria inherited the Jacobite claim.


Maria Theresa and Ludwig III of Bavaria were parents to thirteen children.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 2 July 1849 – 20 February 1868: Her Imperial & Royal Highness Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este
  • 20 February 1868 – 5 November 1913: Her Imperial & Royal Highness Princess Maria Theresa of Bavaria
  • 5 November 1913 – 13 November 1918: Her Majesty The Queen of Bavaria
  • 13 November 1918 – 3 February 1919 : Her Majesty Queen Maria Theresa of Bavaria



  • Schad, Martha. Bayerns Königinnen. Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1992. Includes a 75 page chapter on Marie Therese.
  • Beckenbauer, Alfons. Ludwig III. von Bayern, 1845-1921, Ein König auf der Suche nach seinem Volk. Regensburg: Friedrich Pustet, 1987. The standard modern biography of Marie Therese's husband.
  • Glaser, Hubert. Ludwig III. König von Bayern: Skizzen aus seiner Lebensgeschichte. Prien: Verkerhrsverband Chiemsee, 1995. An illustrated catalogue of an exhibition held in Wildenwart in 1995.


  • This page is a translation of its German equivalent.

External links

Maria Theresa of Austria-Este (1849–1919)
Cadet branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Born: 2 July 1849 Died: 3 February 1919
German royalty
Title last held by
Marie of Prussia
Queen consort of Bavaria
5 November 1913 – 13 November 1918
Monarchy abolished
Titles in pretence
Republic declared — TITULAR —
Queen consort of Bavaria
13 November 1918 – 3 February 1919
Title next held by
Antonia of Luxembourg
Preceded by
Francis I
Jacobite succession
Succeeded by
Robert I and IV

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