Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Princess enters convent

August 16, 1915

Princess Francesca of Bourbon-Parma, a sister of Archduchess Zita of Austria, "made her profession as a nun" yesterday at St. Cecilia, a Benedictine convent at Ryde, Isle of Wight.  The profession was made in the presence of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth.

Two of Francesca's brothers, Prince Sixte and Prince Xavier, who are serving officers with the Belgian Army in Flanders, were able to travel to Ryde to attend the ceremony, reports the New York Times.  Francesca is joining her older sister, Princess Adelaide, who is now known as Sister Maria Benedicta.

Four years ago, Princess Zita, then only nineteen years old married, married Archduke Karl Franz Joseph of Austria, the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

The new young novice has six brothers and six sisters, three half brothers and three half sisters.  Another half sister, Princess Maria Immacolata, died "a little over a year ago."   She is the daughter of the late Duke Roberto  of Bourbon-Parma and his second wife, Princess Maria Antonia of Portugal.  His first wife was Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, who died in 1882.  She left her husband with three sons and five daughters, only "one of whom is said to be normal."  

Archduchess Zita is the only child of the Dowager Duchess of Bourbon-Parma who has married.

Princess Francesca was born April 22, 1890.  She is two years older than Archduchess Zita.

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