11 March 2015

Today's Princess: Duchess Amalie in Bavaria

By Rudolf Krziwanek via Wikimedia Commons
Amalie in Bavaria (1865-1912) started life sadly and ended it in a sadly similar way. The only child of Empress Elisabeth "Sissi" of Austria's beloved brother Duke Karl-Theodor and his wife Sophie of Saxony, Amalie had struggled to come into the world. Sophie developed respiratory issues during her pregnancy. The baby was born safely, but Sophie had become so weakened that she could not fight off a bout of influenza a year later. Baby Amalie lost her mom when she was 14 months old.

Seven years later, Karl Theodor married Infanta Maria Josepha of Portugal, providing Amalie with a stepmother and very soon with a growing number of half-siblings. One half-sister became the Crown Princess of Bavaria and another became Queen of the Belgians.

Amalie never got a crown, but not for lack of her husband's trying. In fact, when she married Wilhelm 2nd Duke of Urach and Count of Wurttemberg, he was the rightful heir of the Prince of Monaco. France, however, did not like the idea of German prince inheriting the Monagesque throne--albeit Wilhelm grew up in Monaco and was a native French speaker. In 1911, France strongly encouraged Monaco to change its succession laws enabling the Prince to pass the throne to his illegitimate granddaughter Charlotte, grandmother of the current Prince of Monaco.

By that time, Amalie and Wilhelm had eight children. They soon discovered that they were expecting a ninth. It had been five years since her last child and Amalie was 47 years old when she went into a labor. Little Princess Mecthilde made her way into the world, as Amalie made her way out.

Now widowed, Wilhelm was still aiming for a throne. First, he tried to become King of Albania. In the waning months of World War I, he was offered the crown of the newly independent Lithuania, based in part on his late wife's descent from a long-ago Lithuanian princess. However, when it became clear that Germany would lose the way, Lithuania changed its mind. A few years later, upon the death of King of Wurttemburg, that throne too slipped through his hands, even though he was the senior male heir--his parents' morganatic marriage six decades earlier had made him ineligible.

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