Archduchess Maria-Theresa of Austria-Este, Duke of Modena., House of Habsburg, House of Wittelsbach, Jacobite Succession, James Francis Stuart, Ludwig III of Bavaria, Luitpold of Bavaria, Queen of England, Regent of Bavaria
Archduchess Maria-Theresa of Austria-Este (Maria Theresa Henriette Dorothee; July 2, 1849 – February 3, 1919) was the last Queen of Bavaria. She was the daughter and only child of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and his wife, Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, the daughter of Palatine Joseph of Hungary (1776–1847) and his third wife Maria Dorothea of Württemberg (1797–1855).
Archduchess Maria-Theresa of Austria-Este
Her father Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este was the second son of Francesco IV Duke of Modena and his niece-consort Maria-Beatrice of Savoy. His paternal grandmother had been heiress to the Duchy of Modena, because her father Ercole III d’Este had no sons.
On February 20, 1868 she married Prince Ludwig of Bavaria eldest son of Bavaria’s Prince Regent Luitpold, in the Augustinerkirche in Vienna. Ludwig III (Ludwig Luitpold Josef Maria Aloys Alfried; 1845-1921) was the last king of Bavaria, reigning from 1913 to 1918. He served as regent and de facto head of state from 1912 to 1913, ruling for his cousin, Otto.
He was the son of Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and of his wife, Archduchess Augusta of Austria (daughter of Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany). He was a descendant of both Louis XIV of France and William the Conqueror. Hailing from Florence, Augusta always spoke in Italian to her four children. Ludwig was named after his grandfather, King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
The couple had fallen in love during a visit of Ludwig at Pfingsten in Austria to attend the burial of Archduchess Mathilda and their decision to marry initially angered the Emperor Franz-Joseph, who had wished for her to marry Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The chief witness was Count Antonius Schaffgotsch.
Leopold III, King of Bavaria
The family mostly lived on their farms at Leutstetten south of Munich, where Maria-Theresa cultivated rose gardens.
Maria-Theresa became queen consort of Bavaria in 1913 when her husband the reigning Prince Regent proclaimed himself king 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 festivities during the royal Bavarian jubilee. She appeared with her husband when war was announced. During World War I, she visited wounded soldiers and encouraged the women of Bavaria to support the troops by providing food and clothes, including with the donations references to legendary heroines.
On November 7, 1918 Ludwig III was forced to abdicate the Bavarian throne, and Maria-Theresa fled Munich with her family to Wildenwart Castle near Frasdorf, in order to escape from the Bolsheviks. The health of the Queen soon declined and she died there on February 3, 1919, being 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.
The Jacobite succession
Upon the extinction of the Royal Stuart line with the death of Henry, Cardinal of York, and applying male-preference primogeniture unaltered by the Act of Settlement 1701, the succession would have passed to the individuals named in the table below. However, unlike the Stuart pretenders, none of them has claimed the British throne (or the thrones of England, Scotland or Ireland) or incorporated the arms of these countries in their coats-of-arms. Nevertheless, since the 19th century, there have been small groups advocating the restoration of the Jacobite succession to the throne.
As a granddaughter of Maria Beatrice of Savoy who was known as Queen Mary III-II to the Jacobite supporters and niece of Francesco V, Duke of Modena (King Francis I. to the Jacobites) she was recognised by the Jacobites as “Princess of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland”.
Since Maria-Theresa was the niece and heir of the childless Francesco V, Duke of Modena who had been, at the time of his death, the Jacobite heir-general to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland; as such, she became the heir after his death in 1875. Neither she, nor any of her Jacobite forebears since 1807, ever seriously pursued this claim. To Jacobites Maria-Theresa was Queen Mary IV-III England, Scotland, France, and Ireland.
Maria-Theresa was the first Jacobite heir-general since James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766) who could (but for her religion) also have claimed to be a natural-born citizen of Great Britain. While she was not born on British soil, as James had been, Maria-Theresa was a descendant of the Electress Sophia of Hanover.
Under the terms of the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705, the Electress Sophia and all “issue of her body” were declared to be natural-born British subjects, regardless of the actual place of their birth, unless they were Roman Catholics. The 1705 Act was not repealed until 1948 and, consequently, Maria-Theresa would have been covered by its provisions.
Following her death in 1919, Maria-Theresa’s son Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria inherited the Jacobite claim. Like his mother, he and his descendants have not pursued a claim to the British thrones.