Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria

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Rupprecht von Bayern
Rupprecht von Bayern.jpg
Rupprecht wearing all his pre-war Prussian awards, including his large Grand Cross of the Red Eagle (neck), the Star of his Black Eagle Order, the Grand Commander Cross of the House Order of Hohenzollern (below the Red Eagle Order), and the Commemorative Badge for the Silver Wedding Anniversary of 1906 underneath the Black Eagle Order.
Birth name Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand von Wittelsbach
Birth date 18 May 1869(1869-05-18)
Place of birth Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria
Death date 2 August 1955 (aged 86)
Place of death Schloß Leutstetten, Starnberg, Free State of Bavaria, West Germany
Resting place Theatine Church, Munich
Allegiance Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bavaria.jpg Kingdom of Bavaria
 German Empire
Service/branch Fahne der Bayerischen Armee.png Royal Bavarian Army
Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
Years of service 1886–1914
Rank Generalfeldmarschall
Commands held – k. u. k. Infanterie-Regiment „Rupprecht Kronprinz von Bayern“ Nr. 43 (Colonel-in-Chief)
– Königlich Bayerisches 2. Infanterie Regiment „Kronprinz“ (Colonel-in-Chief since 5 November 1913)
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Order of Saint Hubert (Grand Master)
Black Eagle Order
Red Eagle Order
Bavarian Military Merit Order
Iron Cross
Pour le Mérite
Military Order of Max Joseph
Relations ∞ 1900 Marie Gabriele Herzogin in Bayern
∞ 1921 Antonia von Nassau-Weilburg, Prinzessin von Luxemburg

Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria, Duke of Bavaria, Franconia and in Swabia, Count Palatine by (the) Rhine (German: Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand Kronprinz von Bayern, Herzog von Bayern, Franken und in Schwaben, Pfalzgraf bei Rhein; 18 May 1869 – 2 August 1955) was the heir-apparent to the Bavarian throne. During the first half of the First World War he commanded the 6th Army on the Western Front. From August 1916, he commanded Army Group Rupprecht of Bavaria, which occupied the sector of the front opposite the British Expeditionary Force.

Rupprecht, as head of the House of Wittelsbach (from 18 October 1921 to 2 August 1955), drafted plans for a federalist reorganization of Germany in memoranda (1941–43) durin his exile in Italy and continued to advocate the restoration of the Bavarian monarchy before as well as after WWII, but naturally found no support from the USA occupation authorities. Later in the FRG, of the 170 members of the Bavarian parliament, 70 declared themselves to be monarchists in September 1954, a clear sign of support for the Crown Prince.


Rupprecht Kronprinz von Bayern I.jpg
Rupprecht Kronprinz von Bayern VI.jpg
GFM Kronprinz Rupprecht von Bayern 1916 - Franz Grainer.jpg
Prinzregent Luitpold (top), Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria (I. Armee-Korps, left), Karl Freiherr von Horn (Minister of War, right), Alfred Graf Eckbrecht von Dürckheim-Montmartin (II. Armee-Korps, center) and Luitpold Freiher von der Tann-Rathsamhausen (III. Armee-Korps, bottom)
Generalfeldmarscahll August von Mackensen and Rupprecht Kronprinz von Bayern
Generalfeldmarschall a. D. Dr. iur. utr. h. c. Dr. phil. h. c. Rupprecht of Bavaria with family, 1935
Militär-Handbuch des Königsreich Bayern, 1905
Militär-Handbuch des Königsreich Bayern, 1911
Militär-Handbuch des Königsreich Bayern, 1914
Preußische Rangliste, 1914, p. 46
Rangliste der Offiziere der Königlich Bayerischen Armee, 1918
Rupprecht was Crown Prince of Bavaria from 1913 until the end of the Bavarian monarchy in 1918. From his father’s death in 1921, he became pretender to the former Bavarian throne, and Head of the House of Wittelsbach. Through his direct descent from King Charles I of England, he also became heir to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland in the Jacobite Succession. Rupprecht grew up at Schloss Leutstetten in Starnberg, and the family’s villa near Lindau, at Lake Constance. Initially educated at home, he became the first member of the Bavarian royal family to study at a public school, attending the Maximilian-Gymnasium in Munich. He began his military career serving in the Lifeguards Regiment of the Bavarian Army, quickly rising to the rank of Colonel and was given command of the 2nd Crown Prince’s Regiment. During this time, he also studied at the Universities of Berlin and Munich. When Rupprecht was just 17, his future changed when his father was named Regent of Bavaria for both King Ludwig II and King Otto who had been declared insane and unable to reign. From that point, it was likely that he would someday succeed to the throne himself. When his grandfather died in 1912, Rupprecht’s father assumed the Regency, and the following year was formally named King of Bavaria as Ludwig III. Rupprecht formally became Crown Prince at that time. After the outbreak of World War I, Rupprecht was given command of the German Sixth Army, serving on the Western front, and rose to the rank of Field Marshal by 1916. He then took command of Army Group Rupprecht, which consisted of the 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 7th armies. Despite the losses at the end of the war, Rupprecht had proven himself to be a skilled military leader. He resigned from his military positions on November 11, 1918 – Armistice Day. The following day, the Bavarian monarchy was abolished.[1]

Chronology (military career until 1914)

  • 7.8.1875 Portepee-Fähnrich (traditional for royal 6-year-olds)
  • 8.8.1886 Königlich Bayerisches Infanterie-Leibregiment in München
  • 8.6.1888 Königlich Bayerisches 3. Feldartillerie-Regiment "Prinz Leopold" in Grafenwöhr
  • 1.11.1889 University Studies in München and Berlin
  • 1.10.1890 Bayerische Kriegsakademie in München (sporadic attendance)
  • 1.8.1891 Königlich Bayerisches 3. Feldartillerie-Regiment "Prinz Leopold" in Grafenwöhr
  • 1.10.1891 Königlich Bayerisches 1. schweres Reiter-Regiment "Prinz Karl von Bayern" in München
  • 30.9.1895 Company Commander in the Königlich Bayerisches Infanterie-Leibregiment in München
  • 20.6.1896 Battalion Commander in the Königlich Bayerisches Infanterie-Leibregiment in München
    • à la suite[2] of the Prussian Leib-Kürassier-Regiment „Großer Kurfürst“ (Schlesisches) Nr. 1
    • later also à la suite of the II. See-Bataillon (naval infantry) of the Kaiserliche Marine
    • even later also à la suite of the 2. Württembergisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr. 29 Prinz Regent Luitpold von Bayern
  • 1.11.1899 Commander of the Königlich Bayerisches 2. Infanterie-Regiment "Kronprinz" in München
  • 10.10.1900 Commander of the 7. Bayerische Infanterie-Brigade (subordinated to the 4. Infanterie-Division) in Bamberg
  • 11.6.1903 Offizier von der Armee (temporarily inactive)
  • 27.1.1904 Commander of the 1. Königlich Bayerische Infanterie-Division in München
  • 19.4.1906 Commander of the I. Königlich Bayerisches Armeekorps in München
  • 27.3.1913 Inspector General of the IV. Armee-Inspektion in München


  • 2 August 1914 – 27 August 1916 Commander-in-chief of the 6. Armee
  • 28 August 1916 – 11 November 1918 Commander-in-chief of the Heeresgruppe „Kronprinz Rupprecht“


Rupprecht was born in Munich, the eldest of the thirteen children of Ludwig III, the last King of Bavaria, and of Marie Therese Henriette Dorothea Erzherzogin von Österreich-Este, Prinzessin von Modena, a niece of Duke Francis V of Modena.[3] He was a member of the lineage of both Louis XIV of France and William the Conqueror. As a direct descendant of Henrietta of England, daughter of Charles I of England, he was claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland in the Jacobite succession.


Rupprecht married twice and had children with both of his wives. His first wife was Marie Gabriele Mathilde Isabella Therese Antoinette Sabina Herzogin in Bayern (9 October 1878 – 24 October 1912), daughter of Carl Theodor Herzog in Bayern in Bavaria, married on 10 July 1900 in Munich. They had five children:

  • Luitpold Maximilian Ludwig Karl, Hereditary Prince of Bavaria (8 May 1901 – 27 August 1914); died of polio.
  • Princess Irmingard Maria Theresia José Cäcilia Adelhaide Miguela Antonia Adelgunde of Bavaria (21 September 1902 – 21 April 1903); died of diphtheria.
  • Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria (3 May 1905 – 8 July 1996). Two of his sons are still living: Franz, Duke of Bavaria, and Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria.
  • Stillborn daughter (6 December 1906).
  • Prince Rudolf Friedrich Rupprecht of Bavaria (30 May 1909 – 26 June 1912); died of diabetes.

His second wife was Antonia Roberte Sophie Wilhelmine von Nassau-Weilburg, Prinzessin von Luxemburg (7 October 1899 – 31 July 1954), daughter of William IV, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, married on 7 April 1921 in Lenggries. They had six children.

  • Prince Heinrich Franz Wilhelm of Bavaria (28 March 1922 – 14 February 1958). Married non-dynastically Anne Marie de Lustrac (1927–1999). No issue. Heinrich was killed in a car accident in Argentina. His wife Anne was killed in a similar accident in Milan forty years later.
  • Princess Irmingard Marie Josefa of Bavaria (29 May 1923 – 23 October 2010). Married her first cousin Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (1913–2008) and had issue.
  • Princess Editha Marie Gabriele Anna of Bavaria (16 September 1924 – 4 May 2013). Married first Tito Tommaso Maria Brunetti (1905–1954) and second Prof. Gustav Christian Schimert (1910–1990). Had issue by both.
  • Princess Hilda Hildegard Marie Gabriele of Bavaria (24 March 1926 – 5 May 2002). Married Juan Bradstock Edgar Lockett de Loayza (1912–1987) and had issue.
  • Princess Gabriele Adelgunde Marie Theresia Antonia of Bavaria (10 May 1927 – 19 April 2019). Married Carl, Duke of Croÿ (1914–2011), and had issue.
  • Princess Sophie Marie Therese of Bavaria (b. 20 June 1935). Married Prince Jean-Engelbert, 12th Duke of Arenberg (1921–2011), and has issue.


  • Sekondlieutenant (2nd Lieutenant): 8 August 1886
  • Premierlieutenant (1st Lieutenant): 1 November 1891
  • Rittmeister: 17 May 1893
  • Major: 4 June 1896
  • Oberstleutenant (Lieutenant Colonel): skipped (übersprungen)
  • Oberst (Colonel): 28 October 1899
  • Generalmajor: 7 October 1900
  • Generalleutnant: 11 June 1903
  • General der Infanterie: 19 April 1906
  • Generaloberst: 4 February 1913
  • Generalfeldmarschall of Bavaria: 25 July 1916
  • Generalfeldmarschall of Prussia: 1 August 1916
    • The newly promoted Field Marshal Rupprecht clashed often with von Moltke's replacement, Erich von Falkenhayn (de), and later became a bitter adversary of Erich Ludendorff's due to their differences over ultimate war objectives.[4]


  • Reiseerinnerungen aus Ostasien. München: Josef Kösel & Friedrich Pustet, 1906.
  • Reiseerinnerungen aus Indien. München: Josef Kösel & Friedrich Pustet, 1922.
  • Reiseerinnerungen aus dem Südosten Europas und dem Orient. München: Josef Kösel & Friedrich Pustet, 1923.
  • In Treue fest – Mein Kriegstagebuch. München: Deutscher National Verlag, 3 Volumes, 1928–29.

Awards, decorations and honours

German states

  • Knight of the Bavarian (Wittelsbach) Order of Saint Hubert (BH)
  • Baden House Order of Fidelity (BdT/BT) in 1887[5]
  • Order of Berthold the First (Orden Berthold des Ersten), Grand Cross (BdBI1/BBI.1/BZLBI) in 1887[6]
    • This Berthold-Orden would be worn as a neck decoration and without breast star, just like his Prussian RAO Grand Cross that was awarded additionally to the Black Eagle Order.
  • Royal Bavarian House Knight Order of Saint George, Grand Prior (BStG1/BG1) in 1889[7]
  • Medal of Saint George (St. Georgs-Medaille; BStGM/BG.M)
    • The St. George Medal or St.-Georgs-Jubiläumsmedaille was donated by Grand Master Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria on 15 December 1889 to commemorate his acceptance into the Order of St. George fifty years earlier.
  • Black Eagle Order "with the Chain" ("mit der Kette")
  • Red Eagle Order (Roter Adlerorden), Grand Cross (neck order for Knight's of the Black Eagle Order)
  • Hesse Ludwig (Ludewig) Order, Grand Cross (HL1/GHL1) on 22 March 1893
  • Saxon Order of the Rue Crown (SR/SRK)
  • Württemberg Order of the Crown, Grand Cross (WK1)
  • Prussian Centenary Medal 1897 (Zentenarmedaille)
  • Military Merit Order (Bavaria), Knight's Cross II. Class (BMV3b)
  • Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Grand Cross (SEH1/HSEH1/HSH1)
  • Bavarian Military Merit Order, Commander's Cross (BMV2b)
  • Jubiläumsmedaille für die Armee
    • Jubiläumsmedaille in 1905
    • Militär-Jubiläumsmedaille in 1909
    • Crown to his Jubiläumsmedaille in 1911
  • Bavarian Military Merit Order, Commander 2nd Class (BMV2a)
    • as of Rangliste 1906 declared as 2nd Class (BMV2)
  • Erinnerungszeichen zur Silbernen Hochzeit 1906 (PEZ)
  • Southwest Africa Commemorative Medal (Südwest-Afrika Denkmünze) in Steel for non-combatants
  • Princely House Order of Hohenzollern (Fürstlich Hohenzollern'sches Ehrenzeichen), Cross of Honour I. Class (HE1/HEK1)
  • Star to his Bavarian Military Merit Order 2nd Class (BMV2mSt)
  • Bavarian Military Merit Order, 1st Class (BMV1)
  • Duchy of Brunswick Order of Henry the Lion, Grand Cross (BrsL1a/BrH.G.Kr.)
  • Oldenburg House and Merit Order of Duke Peter Frederick Louis (Oldenburgischer Haus- und Verdienstorden des Herzogs Peter Friedrich Ludwig), Grand Cross of Honour (Ehren-Großkreuz) with the Chain (OP1m.K/OV1mK)
  • Bavarian Military Merit Order, Grand Cross (BMV.G.Kr)
  • Bavarian Long Service Award (Bayerische Dienstauszeichnung), 2nd Class for 24 years (BDK2)
  • House Order of the Wendish Crown, Grand Cross with the Crown in Ore (MWK1m.Kr.i.E/MK1a)
  • House Order of Hohenzollern, Grand Commander (Großkomturkreuz; PH1; as of Bavarian Rangliste 1911)


  • Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary, Grand Cross (ÖSt1/UngSt1/USt1) in 1893
  • Austrian Order of the Golden Fleece (Orden vom Goldenen Vlies; ÖGV) in 1900
  • Austrian 1908 Jubilee Cross (ÖMJK)

Foreign (pre-WWI)

  • Tuscany Order of Saint Joseph, Knight Grand Cross (TJ1)
  • Ottoman Osmanie-Orden (Osmanije), 1st Class with Diamonds (TO1mBr/TürkO1m.Br)
  • Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medal in Gold (GJMg)
    • The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was officially celebrated on 22 June 1897 to mark the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria's accession on 20 June 1837. Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria took part representing Luitpold, the Prince Regent of Bavaria.
  • Belgian Order of Leopold, Grand Cordon (BelgL1/BL1) in 1897
  • Swedish Knight of the Seraphim (SSer/SchwSer) on 18 September 1897
  • King Oscar II's Jubilee Commemorative Medal (SJM/SchwJM) on 18 September 1897
  • Order of the Star of Romania, Grand Cross (RmSt1/RumSt1)
  • Illustrious Royal Order of Saint Ferdinand and Merit of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Knight Grand Cross (ScFd1/Sic.F1)
  • Chinese Order of the Double Dragon, First Class, Second Grade (ChDDI2/CDI.2)
  • Japanese Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum (JpCh/JKd) on 16 May 1905
  • Order of the Gold Lion of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (LgL)
  • Spanish Order of Charles III, Grand Cross with Collar/Chain (SpK1m.K/SC1mK)
  • Royal Victorian Order, Honorary Grand Cross (GV1)
  • King George V Coronation Medal (GKrM) on 22 June 1911
  • Crown of Italy, Grand Cross in 1914


"VOB" refers to the date of publication in the Verordnungs-Blatt des Königlich Bayerischen Kriegsministeriums, generally for those awards where the actual award date is unknown. There are also minor discrepancies in some of the award dates in different sources.

  • Military Order of Max Joseph, Grand Cross on 23 or 26 August 1914
  • Iron Cross (1914), 2nd and 1st Class on 16 October 1914
  • Saxon Military Order of St. Henry
    • Knight on 23 November 1914
    • Commander 2nd Class on 9 June 1915 (VOB 21 August 1915)
    • Commander 1st Class on 4 January 1917
    • Grand Cross on 7 May 1918
  • Württemberg Military Merit Order, Grand Cross (WMV1) on 2 December 1914
  • Baden Military Karl-Friedrich Merit Order, Grand Cross (BdV1/BV1) on 12 January 1915[10]
  • Swords to his Princely House Order of Hohenzollern (Fürstlich Hohenzollern'sches Ehrenzeichen) Cross of Honour I. Class (HE1⚔/HEK1⚔) on 20 January 1915
  • Swords to his Saxe-Ernestine House Order Grand Cross (SEH1⚔/HSEH1⚔/HSH1⚔) on 2 April 1915
  • War Honor Cross for Heroic Deeds (Kriegsehrenkreuz für heldenmütige Tat) on 7 June 1915
  • Lippe War Merit Cross (Lippe-Detmoldisches Kriegsverdienstkreuz) on 7 June 1915
  • Austria-Hungary Military Merit Cross, 1st Class with War Decoration (ÖMV1mKD/ÖM1K; VOB 6 June 1915)
  • Hesse General Honour Decoration "For Bravery" (VOB 21 August 1915)
  • War Merit Cross (Brunswick), 2nd Class (BrK2; VOB 21 August 1915)
  • Mecklenburg-Schwerin Military Merit Cross (Großherzoglich Mecklenburg-Schwerinsches Militärverdienstkreuz), 2nd and 1st Class (MMV1/MK1; VOB 21 August 1915)
  • Friedrich Cross (Friedrich-Kreuz; VOB 21 August 1915)
  • Order of Albert the Bear, Grand Cross with Swords (AAdB1⚔; VOB 21 August 1915)
  • Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves
    • Pour le Mérite on 22 August 1915
    • Oak Leaves on 20 December 1916
  • Saxe-Meiningen Cross for Merit in War (SMK) on 29 September 1915
  • Hamburg Hanseatic Cross (Hamburgisches Hanseatenkreuz; HH) on 19 October 1915
  • Lübeck Hanseatic Cross (Lübeckisches Hanseatenkreuz; LübH/LüH) on 2 November 1915
  • Bremen Hanseatic Cross (Bremisches Hanseatenkreuz; BremH/BH) on 9 November 1915
  • Ottoman Gallipoli Star (Eiserner Halbmond; TH; VOB 26 February 1916)
  • Ottoman Silver Imtiaz Medal with Swords (VOB 26 February 1916)
  • Ottoman Gold Imtiaz Medal with Swords (Imitazgefechtsmedaille; VOB 26 February 1916)
  • Order of the White Falcon (Hausorden vom Weißen Falken), Grand Cross with Swords (GSF1⚔) in 1917
  • Austria-Hungary Military Merit Medal, Grand Military Merit Medal (Große Militär-Verdienstmedaille) in Gold (ÖGrSL), also called the Grand Signum Laudis (Große Signum Laudis) on 22 August 1917
  • Swords to his Bavarian Military Merit Order Grand Cross (BMV.G.Kr⚔) on 10 December 1917
  • House Order of Lippe, Grand Cross (Fürstlich Lippischer Hausorden, Großkreuz) with Swords (LDH.G.Kr⚔) on 13 December 1917
  • Swords to his House Order of Hohenzollern Grand Commander on 23 December 1917
  • Star to his House Order of Hohenzollern Grand Commander with Swords on 23 March 1918


  • Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Bailiff Knight Grand Cross (Ehren-Bailli und Großkreuz des Souveränen Malteser-Ritter-Ordens), 1923
  • Jubilee Medal (Jubiläums-Medaille des 2. Königlich Bayerischen Infanterie Regiments „Kronprinz“), 1932
  • Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
  • Italian Knight of the Annunciation, 1948
  • Italian Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Grand Cross in 1948


  • Honorary doctorate (Dr. iur. utr. h. c.) of the University of Berlin in 1910
  • Honorary member of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1911
  • Honorary doctorate (Dr. phil. h. c.) of the University of Erlangen on 5 July 1925
  • Honorary citizen of the University of Munich, 1949
  • Honorary member of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nürnberg, 1952

Further memberships

  • Member of the Bavarian Reichsrat
  • Member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts
  • Member of the German Archaeological Institute
Orders (Großmeister)
  • Grand Master of the Order of Saint Hubert, 1921 to 1955
  • Grand Master of the Royal Bavarian House Knight Order of Saint George, 1921
  • Grand Master of the Military Order of Max Joseph, 1933




  1. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria
  2. À la suite was a military title given to those who were allotted to the army or a particular unit for honour's sake and were entitled to wear a regimental uniform but otherwise had no official position.
  3. Rupprecht,
  4. Rupprecht Kronprinz von Bayern, Prussian Machine
  5. Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Baden (1896), "Großherzogliche Orden", p. 63
  6. Hof- und Staats-Handbuch ... Baden (1896), "Großherzogliche Orden", p. 77
  7. Hof- und Staats-Handbuch ... Bayern (1908), "Königliche Orden", p. 11
  8. "Schwarzer Adler-orden", Königlich Preussische Ordensliste (supp.), 1, Berlin, 1886, p. 5, 
  9. Prussian Rangliste 1901, p. 336
  10. Erhard Roth's Verleihungen von militärischen Orden und Ehrenzeichen des Großherzogtums Baden im Ersten Weltkrieg 1914 – 1918, p. 1.