Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why did Princess Clara take the veil?

Interesting question. Clara was a member of the Bavarian royal family, a deeply devout Roman Catholic family. But it was unusual for a Bavarian princess to give up the worldly life and become a cloistered nun. Clara was the fifth and youngest child of Prince and Princess Adalbert of Bavaria. She was born at Nymphenberg in 1874, and grew up into a young woman, who was expected to marry and marry well. Her mother, Infanta Amelia of Spain, was the eleventh child of Infante Francisco de Paulo of Spain, Duke of Cadiz, and Princess Luisa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (who was also his niece). In 1856, Amelia married Prince Adalbert of Bavaria, the ninth child of King Maximilian II of Bavaria.
Adalbert and Amalia (as Amelia was known in Bavaria)'s eldest son, Ludwig Ferdinand also made a Spanish marriage. In 1883, he married Infanta Maria de la Paz of Spain, who was one of the daughters of Isabel II. The second son, Alfons, also made a grand marriage, when he married Princess Louise of Orleans in 1891.
The two sons were followed by three daughters, Isabella, who married Prince Tomasso of Savoy, Duke of Genoa, Elvira, and Clara.
Elvira's marriage also a bit of family consernation. Count Rudolf von Wrbna-Kaunitz-Rietberg-Questenberg. Prince Luitpold, the Prince Regent, reluctantly agreed to the consent of Elvira's marriage, which took place in 1891. Count von Wrbna was not a member of a reigning royal house or even a mediatized princely family. He was, however, a very wealthy man, as Count Rudolf was the principal heir to the fortune of Prince Kaunitz, who had served as Empress Maria Theresia of Austria's chancellor.
Princess Clara was not to be so lucky. It was said that she had fallen in love with a very wealthy man, Baron Theodor von Cramer-Clett. He was a multi-millionaire, and a Lutheran, who made substantial donations to Benedictine orders and other Catholic charities. Princess Clara is said "to have lost her heart," to the Bavarian nobleman. More "amiable than comely," Princess Clara was considered as a bride for the Count of Turin, but "he absolutely refused to marry her in consequences of her looks."
Yet, now, here Clara had a true suitor, someone who loved her for herself. But it was not meant to be. The Prince Regent would not permit the marriage. Baron von Cramer-Klett's father began his career in journalism before turning to manufacturing where he made his money. He apparently went insane, and died in an asylum from cancer of the throat. Thus, two strikes against the young Baron. A plebian ancestry, and insanity, which is something that the Prince Regent knew about. He was the regent for his nephew, King Otto, who was insane.
There would be no husband for Clara. Her home life "can scarely be agreeable," and she is "doomed to be the companionship of her eccentric mother," who the Marquise de Fontenoy described as "the craziest of royal personages in Europe that are outside the bars of a lunatic asylum."
Perhaps Clara saw a cloister as a way to escape from such a empty life. No husband, no children, just the deary existence of providing companionship to her mother.
In 1903, a year after his engagement to Clara ended, Baron Theodor married Anna von Würtzburg. He converted to the Roman Catholic church, and became one of Bavaria's most prominent Catholic laymenm and served as a Papal Chamberlain. He died in January 1938, several months after he had hosted Charles Lindbergh at his castle in Bavaria.

Princess Clara died in 1941.


aurelie said...

Marlene,do you have a photo of Clara,please ?

Anonymous said...

Love these articles of obscure cadet branches. Many thanks and more please !

Kathleen Leonard said...

Marriage was the only way out and then sometimes it was jumping from the pot to the fire