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Caroline of Baden (July 13, 1776 – November 13, 1841) was by marriage an Electress of Bavaria and later the first Queen consort of Bavaria by marriage to Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria.

Early life

Caroline of Baden was the eldest child of Charles Ludwig, Hereditary Prince of Baden, and his wife Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt, the daughter of Ludwig IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Henriette Caroline of Palatine-Zweibrücken. Caroline was born July 13, 1776, twin sister of Catharina Amalie Christiane Luise of Baden.

Caroline of Baden, Queen of Bavaria

Caroline was considered as a bride for Louis Antoine Henri de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, but the fear of attracting opposition from France made her family hesitate.

Marriage

On March 9, 1797, in Karlsruhe, she became the second spouse of Maximilian, Duke of Palatine-Zweibrücken from 1795 to 1799. Two years later would inherit the Electorate of Bavaria and became Prince-Elector as Maximilian IV Joseph from 1799 to 1806. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.

Maximilian’s first wife was Princess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt, daughter of Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hesse-Darmstadt. They were married on September 30, 1785 in Darmstadt. In March 1796 Augusta Wilhelmine, who had always had delicate lungs, finally succumbed and died at Rohrbach. She was buried in the Schlosskirche in Darmstadt.

As a result of the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the rank of Elector became obsolete, and the ruler of Bavaria was promoted to the rank of King. As a result, Caroline became Queen of Bavaria. Caroline had seven children with her husband, including two pairs of twins, an interesting occurrence considering Caroline was also a twin herself.

Caroline was allowed to keep her Protestant religion and had her own Protestant pastor, which was unique for a Bavarian queen. She was described as a very dignified consort and hostess of the Bavarian court and raised her daughters to have a strong sense of duty.

Death and funeral

Caroline of Baden died November 13, 1841, outliving her husband by sixteen years and one month. Due to her Protestant religion, her funeral was conducted with so little royal dignity that there were public protests.

By order of the Catholic archbishop of Munich, Lothar Anselm von Gebsattel, all participating Catholic clergy were dressed in ordinary clothes instead of church vestments. The Protestant clergy were halted at the church door and not allowed to proceed inside for the service, so Ludwig Friedrich Schmidt gave the funeral sermon there.

Afterward, the funeral procession dissipated, and the coffin was placed in the burial crypt without ceremony. This treatment of his beloved stepmother permanently softened the attitude of Caroline’s stepson King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who up until that time had been a strong opponent of Protestantism despite his marriage to the Protestant Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

One of Caroline’s daughters was Princess Sophie of Bavaria (January 27, 1805 – May 28, 1872) Sophie was the identical twin sister of Princess Maria Anna of Bavaria, Queen of Saxony as wife of Friedrich August II of Saxony.

Sophie was said to be her father’s favorite daughter although she was more attached to her mother, Caroline, whom she loved dearly. Sophie adored her twin sister Maria Anna and was very close to all her sisters.

On November 4, 1824, Sophie married Archduke Franz Charles of Austria. Her paternal half-sister, Caroline Augusta of Bavaria, had married the groom’s widowed father, the last Holy Roman Emperor, Franz II, in 1816. Sophie and Franz Charles had six children, among them were, her eldest son Franz Joseph who reigned as Emperor of Austria, and King of Hungary; her second son was Maximilian briefly reigned as Emperor of Mexico.