: September 16, 2010, a charity gala in Munich
: in support of the World Childhood
: Also present were Francis' nieces Marie
: Caroline (with her husband Duke Philipp of
: Württemberg) and Elizabeth, as well as
: Francis' cousin Prince Leopold of Bavaria (a
: childhood friend of Silvia's husband Carl
Thanks. I had been wondering, for some time, about the opera star's possible connections to the Bavarian royals, since he was born in Munich (where Queen Silvia met her future husband) -- although his family originated from elsewhere in Germany (he's Protestant, not Catholic).
The reason is a recent event in his native town, attended by Prince Leopold and his wife, Princess Ursula. At first, those names didn't ring any bells in me -- and no wonder: they're only fringe members of the House of Wittelsbach. I found out who they were only by doing an extensive search on Google and Wikipedia: agnatically, Leopold belongs to the most junior line of the royal branch (the ducal branch, as I understand, will eventually expire), since he is descended from King Ludwig I through his fourth and youngest son (Prince Adalbert). Hence, his low position in the dynasty (currently 15th in the line of succession to the defunct throne).
So he is only a distant relative of the current head of the house; but he evidently claims another line of descent from Ludwig I (from whom all the current Bavarian royals descend, since King Maximilian I has no other dynastic line surviving). It would be through Countess Auguste von Seefried, whose maternal grandfather (Prince Leopold) was the second son of Prince Regent Luitpold, and hence a younger brother of Ludwig III, the last king (great-grandfather of Franz). That wouldn't necessarily make him much closer to the Duke (who would be sovereign, if the kingdom of Bavaria were still reigning). But it certainly fortifies his ties to the Wittelsbachs.
As well as to the Bernadottes, since his maternal uncle (the late Prince Johann George of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen) was the Swedish king's brother-in-law (husband of his second oldest sister). So that would make him a nephew by marriage of Princess Birgitta -- although not much younger than herself. I understand that this Leopold, despite being a Roman Catholic, is a godfather to Carl XVI's only son, Prince Philip (yes, by now I've learned that inter-denominational godparents among Christians are possible).
Also, the 2005 wedding of his elder son (Prince Manuel) and Princess Anna of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was a great society event attended by many guests, including King Carl. BTW: how exactly is Princess Anna of Bavaria connected to Princess Benedikte of Denmark and her family? What exactly is her religious background? The reason for my asking is that the late Prince Richard was (I believe) a Lutheran, as are his children. But Anna herself married into a Catholic royal family ...
Anyhow, it seems that Prince Leopold, in addition to being a former race car driving champion, is also an avid opera buff ... at least his wife is. When I asked about him on a Jonas Kaufmann fan forum on Facebook, I was told that Princess Ursula and her husband even have their own special box at the Bavarian opera house, in Munich.
I don't know about the other members of the royal family of Bavaria. But it's a well-known fact that many royals throughout history have been great opera lovers. Just look at Queen Victoria of Great Britain, for one ...