Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An interview with Princess Ursula of Bavaria

Princess Ursula of Bavaria recently sat down with  Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, and spoke of how she met her husband, Prince Leopold of Bavaria, of her children, including her daughter, Princess Pilar, who suffers from autism, and her life as  ... Cinderella!

She said she first met Prince Leopold at a traffic light, where the prince made comments about her driving skills, and offered to teach her.  They met shortly before Prince Leopold's father, Prince Konstantin, was killed in an airplane crash in 1969.   This was a "difficult time" for Prince Leopold.

There were married eight years later.  "We did not want a big celebration."

The couple were married at Aufkirchen on Lake Starnberg, near their home.  The bride was dressed in a white dirndl.

Princess Ursula was raised in a deeply religious middle class family in Velbert, Nordhein-Westfalen.  Her father was an engineer and her mother a housewife.   She remembers getting into trouble with her parents when she and her sister played hooky from church and used the collection money to buy ice cream.  Her parents were furious, especially her father.

She wanted to be a baby nurse, but her parents insisted she become a medical technician.  At the age of 20, she moved to Munich, where she shared an apartment with television presenter, Petra Schürmann.

"We met at a boutique in Schwabing and liked each other right away."

The princess said that marriages between commoners and nobility is accepted.   "Whether it is fully accepted, I do not know.  Sure there are traditionalists, who would prefer noble weddings, but we do live in the 21s Century." 

She also remarked on how aristocrats have behaved.  "Respect, decency, civility should be the basis of good behavior not only for the aristocracy.  When I was first introduced to my husband's mother, I was very touched by how caring and loving he was toward her.  He was raised with strictness and how to be obedient.  When he was with his grandfather, Friedrich Viktor of Hohenzollern, it was still usual to welcome him by kissing his ring. "

She also spoke of the "cohesion among nobles.  They care about each other, about others.  There are many family events ... I like that, being able to come together a lot and often."

She said she and her husband are very proud of their four children.  "It is important for them to stand on their own feet."    The children were educated in Munich, and then went to high school in Kempfenhausen."

Princess Felipa studied economics in London.   She accepted an internship at a day care center in Starnberg, where she now works.    Prince Manuel has a Ph.D., and now works as a biologist in Berlin.

Family history is important to the Princess and her family.   They live in the former summer residence of King Ludwig I.  "Some of our furniture comes from Schloss Nymphenburg.  On our walls are portraits of our children's ancestors.  It is important to pass on the family history to our children and grandchildren."

Princess Ursula will celebrate her 65th birthday on September 20.  She married Prince Leopold on October 21, 1977.  Their first child, Prince Manuel, was born on December 27, 1972.  He is married to Princess Anna of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.  They have two children, Prince Leopold (2007) and Princess Alva (2010).  Princess Pilar was born on May 3, 1978.  Princess Felipa was married in May to Christian Dienst.  She was born on February 1, 1981.  The youngest child, Prince Konstantin, was born on November 8, 1986.  He is studying in London.

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