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Duchess Helene in Bavaria
History's Helena Von Grossberg
Biographical Information
Real Name: Helene Caroline Therese, Duchess in Bavaria
Title: Duchess Helene in Bavaria

Princess Helene

Reign: Roman Catholic
Born: 4 April 1834
Death: 16 May 1890
Age: 56
Religion: Roman Catholic
Originally From: Kingdom of Bavariad
Parents: Duke Maximilian (Father)

Ludovika of Bavaria (Mother)

Siblings: Duke Ludwig Wilhelm (Brother)

Duke Wilhelm Kar (Brother)
Empess Sissi (Sister)
Duke Karl Theodor (Brother)
Queen Marie Sophie (Sister)
Countess Mathilde (Sister)
Duke Maximilian (Brother)
Duchess Sophie (Sister)
Duke Maximilian (Brother)

Husband: Maximilian Anton
Children: Princess Louise

Duchess Elisabeth of Braganza
Prince Maximilian Maria
Prince Albert of Thurn & Taxis

Burial: Gruftkapelle, Saint Emmeram's Abbey, Regensburg
TV Character Information
First appearance: Sissi Gets Her Way
Portrays: Helena Von Grossberg


Helene who was most famously know as Duchess Helene in Bavaria was the sister of the Queen of Austria, Sisi when she 16 years old. She ruled for 44 years, until her death.

LifeEdit

In 1853 she traveled with her mother Ludovika of Bavaria and her younger sister Sisi to the resort of Bad Ischl, Upper Austria with the hopes that she would become the bride of their cousin Emporer Franz Joseph, then the emperor of Austria. He decided that he preferred Elisabeth instead. Helene was unusually pious, and would have fit into the Habsburg court well. She had one quality, though, that would not have been accepted: she was habitually late, and often missed trains and appointments.

After the failed engagement, she became depressed and Ludovika became concerned that Helene would take the veil and join a convent. Helene, however did not bear any ill will towards Elisabeth and had almost come to terms with remaining single. At 22 years old she was considered to be an "old maid," but her mother arranged for her to meet the wealthy Maximilian Anton Lamoral, Hereditary Prince of Thurn and Taxis. Duke Maximilian in Bavaria, Helene's father, invited the Thurn and Taxis family to Possenhofen for a hunting party, at which Prince Maximilian was introduced to Helene.

While the prince was vacationing at Possenhofen, he brought his marriage plans to his parents, who immediately agreed. The only difficulty involved was that although the Thurn and Taxis family were counted among the richest in the land, they were not considered social equals for a princess of royal blood and a member of the House of Wittelsbach. Because of this, King Maximilian II of Bavaria did not at first agree to a marriage between the two, but through Elisabeth's influence on the king, the marriage took place nevertheless. The wedding ceremony was held on 24 August 1858 at Possenhofen. To mark the occasion, the in-laws gave the bride a necklace worth 160,000 Gulden. Ironically, in spite of the earlier objections to the match, Helene is considered to have had the only happy marriage among the five Wittelsbach sisters.

Her daughter Louise was born in 1859, followed by a second daughter, Elisabeth, in 1860. Shortly after the birth of her second child she traveled to Corfu to visit her sister Elisabeth, who was very ill due to her constant pregnancies in the preceding years. She returned by way of Vienna, where she reported to Franz Josef on the poor state of his wife.

She gave birth to the much-desired son in 1862, named Maximilian Maria, and in 1867 had another son named Albert.

Even though the couple had a happy marriage, it was overshadowed by the severe illness of her husband Maximilian, who had chronic kidney disease. Neither a course of treatment in Karlsbad nor the best doctors could save him. He died in 1867 at only 36 years of age.

Later in lifeEdit

Helene took her mind off her sorrows with charitable activities. She received the guardianship of her children from the Austrian emperor. Her father-in-law began to include her in the business affairs of the House of Thurn and Taxis, seeing in her a support and successor. In this way she became the head of the family until her oldest son reached his majority.

In 1877 her youngest daughter Elisabeth married Prince Miguel of Braganza, the Miguelist claimant to the throne of Portugal. Elisabeth's health deteriorated after the birth of her first child, and she eventually died in 1881.

In 1879 Helene's oldest daughter Louise married the young Prince Frederick of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. The couple had no children.

In 1883, her son Maximilian took over the leadership of the family business, but the well-trained young man fell ill. His heart had been weakened by scarlet fever in childhood, and he suffered from severe heart spasms. In 1885, he died of a pulmonary embolism. This left Helene the family head again, until 1888 when her son Albert reached his majority and took over the family businesses. Helene then retired and dedicated herself to her religious devotions.

She became very ill with stomach cancer in 1890, and her sister Empress Sisi hurried to her side. Elisabeth was the last person to speak with Helene. Elisabeth's daughter Marie Valerie related in her diary, "Aunt Néné ... was glad to see Mama and said to her, 'Old Sisi' -- she and Mama almost always spoke English together. 'We two have had hard puffs in our lives,' said Mama. 'Yes, but we had hearts,' replied Aunt Néné."

NotesEdit

  • In real life Helena was Empress Sissi's younger sister, making her real parents out to be Duke Max and Princess Ludovica.
  • In real life Sisi had an older sister named Helena who was supposed to be betrothed to Emperor Franz Joseph as desired by Archduchess Sophie, however upon laying eyes on Sisi, Franz Joseph feel madly in love with her and demanded to marry her over Helene.
  • Helena frequently refers to Sisi as a peasant. In fact, Sisi was the grand-daughter of the King of Bavaria and her mother Ludovika was actually the sister of Archduchess Sophie of Austria (Empress Sophia in the series). Therefore Sisi was the cousin of Franz and of much higher rank than the Viscountess Helena.

TV ComparisonEdit

Family TreeEdit

   
   
   
   
   
   
Duke Maximilian Joseph
   
   
Princess Ludovika
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Duke Ludwig
   
   
Helena Von Grossberg
   
   
Maximilian Anton
   
   
Franz Joseph
   
   
Princess Sissi
   
   
Karl Theodor
   
   
Maria Sophie
   
   
Duchess Mathilde
   
   
Duchess Sophie
   
   
Duke Maximilian
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Princess Louise
   
   
Princess Elisabeth
   
   
Maximilian Maria
   
   
Prince Albert
   
   
   
   
Archduchess Sophie
   
   
Archduchess Gisela
   
   
Archduke Rudolf
   
   
Archduchess Marie-Valerie
   
   

References Edit

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