|Intro||German aristocrat and general|
|Birth||10 October 1875 (Starnberg)|
|Death||25 January 1957 (Starnberg)|
Prince Franz of Bavaria (German: Franz Maria Luitpold Prinz von Bayern) (10 October 1875 – 25 January 1957) was a member of the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach and a Major General in the Bavarian Army.
Early life and Military career
Franz was born at Schloss Leutstetten, Starnberg, Bavaria. He was the third son of King Ludwig III of Bavaria and his wife Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria-Este. Initially, Franz served as a commander of the 2. Infanterie-Regiments König, but shortly before the outbreak of World War I, he was given command of the 3. bayerische Infanteriebrigade, which was later renamed and became the 4. Infanterie-Brigade. Prince Franz led this brigade through its victories at Fort Douaumont, Passchendaele and Kemmelberg.
For his exemplary leadership during these operations he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Max Joseph on 25 May 1916 and on 28 October 1916 was given command of the entire 4. Bayerische Infanterie-Division. In Spring 1918, Prince Franz was also awarded the Commander's Cross of the Military Order of Max Joseph and the prestigious Pour le Mérite, Prussia's highest military decoration, on 16 May 1918. However, during the summer 1918, the 4. Bayerische Infanterie-Division suffered severe loses during the Battle of the Somme and was transferred to Italian Front on border protection duties, where he stayed for the remainder of the war.
On 12 July 1912 Prince Franz married Princess Isabella Antonie of Croÿ, the daughter of Duke Karl Alfred of Croÿ and Princess Ludmilla of Arenberg. The wedding took place at the Schloss Weilburg in Baden near Vienna, Austria-Hungary. The couple had six children:
- Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (1913–2008); married Princess Irmingard of Bavaria (1923–2010).
- Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria (1914–2011); married Prince Pedro Henrique of Orléans-Braganza (1909–1981).
- Princess Adelgunde Maria of Bavaria (1917–2004); married Baron Zdenko von Hoenning-O'Carroll (1906–1996).
- Princess Eleonore Marie of Bavaria (1918–2009); married Count Konstantin of Waldburg-Zeil (1909–1972).
- Princess Dorothea Therese of Bavaria (1920–2015); married Archduke Gottfried of Austria (1902–1984).
- Prince Rasso of Bavaria (1926–2011); married Princess Theresa of Bavaria (b. 1931).
Prince Franz of Bavaria died on 25 January 1957 at Schloss Leutstetten in Starnberg, Bavaria and is buried in the Colombarium in the Michaelskirche in Munich, Bavaria.
Decorations and honors
- Order of St. Hubertus
- Military Order of Max Joseph, Knight's Cross (1816) and Commander's Cross (1918)
- Military Merit Order, Star to 2nd Class with Swords
- Military Merit Order, 2nd Class with Swords
- Military Merit Order, 3rd Class with Crown
- Jubilee Medal
- Service Distinction Cross 2nd Class, for 25 years' service
- Order of the Black Eagle
- 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class
- 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class
- 1918 Wound Badge in Black
- Pour le Mérite
- Order of the Crown, 2nd Class with Star with Swords
- Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Honor Cross 1st Class with Swords
- Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Honor Cross 1st Class
Other German states
- Baden: House Order of Fidelity
- Brunswick: War Merit Cross, 2nd. Class
- Hesse-Darmstadt: Ludewig Order
- Lippe-Detmold: War Honor Cross for Heroic Deeds
- Saxony: Order of the Rue Crown
- Duchies of Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Saxe-Meiningen: Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Grand Cross
- Württemberg: Order of the Württemberg Crown, Grand Cross
- Austria-Hungary: Order of the Golden Fleece
- Austria-Hungary: Royal Hungarian Order of St. Stephen, Grand Cross
- Austria-Hungary: Military Merit Cross, 2nd Class with War Decoration
- Ottoman Empire: Imtiaz Medal in Gold with Swords
- Ottoman Empire: Turkish War Medal (so-called "Gallipoli Star")
- Ottoman Empire: Order of Osminieh, 1st Class