|all four images are from my personal collection|
Princess Maria of Orléans and Braganca died in her apartment at the Jardim Botanico in Rio di Janeiro on May 13 , 2011. According to an official family announcement, Princess Maria died "after a long and happy life" in Brazil. She was 96 years old.
She was born Princess Maria Elisabeth Franziska Josepha Therese of Bavaria on September 9, 1914 at Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich. She was the second of six children Prince Franz of Bavaria and his wife, Princess Isabella of Croy.
For several years after the first world war, the princess and her family lived at Sarvar, in Hungary, an estated owned by her grandmother, Queen Maria Theresa of Bavaria, who was born an Archduchess of Austria. The family returned to Bavaria in 1930.
Maria's older brother, Prince Ludwig, who died in 2008, married his cousin, Princess Irmingard of Bavaria. Their son, Prince Luitpold, is the future head of the Bavarian Royal Family. Her younger siblings were Princess Adelgunde (1917-2004), who married Baron Zdenko von Hoenning-O'Carroll, Princess Eleonore (1918-2009, who married Count Konstantin von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchberg, Princess Dorothea (1920), the wife of Archduke Gottfried of Austria, and Prince Rasso (1926).
On August 19, 1937, she married Prince Pedro Henriques of Orléans and Braganca, the pretender to the Brazilian throne. The ceremony took place at Schloss Nympenberg, where the guests included the exiled King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg.
The couple lived in France until the establishmnnt of the Vichy government, which persecuted the couple. The prince and princess and their four children fled to Switzerland until the end of the war, when they were able to sail for Brazil and settle in Petropolis. In her final years, the princess, a devout Catholic who taught catechism to poor children, moved to her daughter, Isabel's apartment in the Jardim Botanico.
Princess Maria's funeral was held at the Igreja Matriz in Vassouras on May 14.. She is survived by 12 children, 29 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two siblings, Archduchess Dorothea of Austria and Prince Rasso of Bavaria.
The Princess's twelve children are Prince Luiz Gastao (1938), who is the head of the family and the de jure Emperor, Eudes (1939, Bertrand (1941), Isabel (1944), Pedro de Alcantara (1945), Fernando, (1948), Antonio (1950), Leonor (1953), Francisco (1955), Alberto (1957) and twin daughters, Maria Teresa and Maria Gabriela, who were born in 1959.
Princes Eudes, Pedro, Fernando, Francisco and Alberto have all married morganatically, and are not in the line of succession, Maria Teresa and Maria Gabriela's marriages were also morganatic. Thus, the third son, Prince Bertrand, who is unmarried, is heir to his brother, Luiz. Second in line is Antonio, who is married to Priness Christine de Ligne. Their eldest son, Prince Pedro Luiz, was killed in the Air France crash on June 1, 2009. They have three other children, Prince Rafael and Princesses Amelia and Maria Gabriela. Princess Leonor is married to Michel, the Prince of Ligne, the brother of Princess Christine.
The Princess was buried next to her husband, Dom Pedro Henriques, and her grandson, Pedro Luiz..
Princess Maria was the last surviving member of the Bavarian royal family who was born before 1918.
The princess was a gifted artist, and specialized in porcelain.