The tomb of Queen Therese at St Boniface’s Abbey

st boniface abbey
Photo by Moniek Bloks

During the last years of the life of Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, Queen of Bavaria, her family had been the focal point. She and her husband, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, had eight living children and several grandchildren. Their wedding had become known as the first Oktoberfest.

But now, her life was coming to an end. She had stopped travelling because of her health and spent most of her time with her young grandchildren. Following the death of her brother Eduard in 1852, Therese became seriously unwell. She managed to write just one letter to her daughter Mathilde and asked her to pass it along to the rest of the siblings. She managed to recover this time, but her health was never quite good again. Her daughters lovingly took care of her.

queen therese
(public domain)

On 12 March 1853, she managed to attend her son Luitpold’s 32nd birthday celebrations, but she later wrote of her fatigue. Later that spring, she travelled with her daughter-in-law, Auguste Ferdinande, to see an ophthalmologist, and she visited several family members along the way. She returned home at the beginning of July with a lung complaint. During the summer, cholera broke out in Munich. Theresa and Ludwig were in Aschaffenburg and only returned home when it was deemed safe. Nevertheless, Therese fell ill and died later that same day, on 26 October 1853.

Her husband wrote, “Within 12 hours from no danger to life to death! […] Her death was gentle, like your mother’s life; she fell asleep painlessly. If the doctor hadn’t said it, I wouldn’t have believed it. Her sons Luitpoild and Adalbert were also by her side, but Mathilde arrived too late. She later wrote, “The previous evening, I came and found only the soulless shell but with the expression of an angel.”1

The funeral took place on 31 October in the Theatine church, and she was temporarily interred in the crypt there. Ludwig had already decided that they should both rest in a side chapel of the St Boniface’s Abbey. He wrote, “If only I could be reunited with her immediately after death! Her life was pure; mine was not.”2 During the night of 9/10 March 1857, Therese’s body was transferred to St Boniface Abbey, where her body was initially placed directly under Ludwig’s intended sarcophagus. Following his death in 1868, Ludwid was interred there in March.

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It wasn’t until 2002 that Therese’s remains were removed from the crypt and placed in a wall tomb next to her husband’s sarcophagus so that they now finally lie side by side.

  1. Therese von Bayern by Carolin Philipps p.371
  2. Therese von Bayern by Carolin Philipps p.372

About Moniek Bloks 2763 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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