Eternal Hearts—History of Heart Burial in Europe
11. Bavarian Hearts
The very first Wittelsbach emperor, Ludwig the Bavarian (†1347), wanted his heart brought to his father Louis the Strict, in the monastery church of Fürstenfeld.
The heart of the first wife of Louis the Bearded, Johanna of Bourbon (†1406), as well as the heart and entrails of duke George the Rich rest in simple metal containers in the small Wittelsbach vault in the Munster, cathedral of Ingolstadt.
< The hearts of Joanna of Bourbon and George the Rich in the Munster of Ingolstadt (Armin Dietz)
Maximilian I, the first elector of the Wittelsbachs, ally of the Habsburg Ferdinand II in the Thirty Years War, agreed eventually to the burial of the heart of his most faithful servant Johann Graf Tserclaes von Tilly, who was a commander in chief of the catholic league and a passionate admirer of the Virgin Mary, in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image in Altötting. Tilly himself actually wished for his body as a whole to be laid to rest next to his patron saint. The holy chapel was probably built in the 7 th or 8 th century, and together with the 14th century statue of the Black Madonna became the heart grave of the Wittelsbach dynasty until well into the 20th century, containing fifteen heart vessels, mostly ornate, in alcoves, and a further thirteen urns in the wall and floor of the chapel.
More of the Wittelsbach heart graves, their noblemen and high clergy, can be found in and beyond Bavaria, for example the heart of the duke William in the convent at Banz, of the counts of Deym and Closen in Arnstorf, of Wilhelmina of Thurn and Taxis in Regensburg and of the cleric Megenburg in Constance.
< Hearts of the Wittelsbach dynasty in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image (Pollety Hildegard, Altötting, Germany)
Maximilian I Joseph, by Napoleon's grace first king of Bavaria, ceded the landgraviate Leuchtenberg and the diocese of Eichstätt to his son-in-law Eugene de Beauharnais, who was the stepson of the French emperor. The family and all their descendants were allowed to call themselves princes and princesses of Leuchtenberg.
The six children of Eugene and Augusta married into important royal houses such as the family of the Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro, the Russian aristocracy, and the Swedish and Portuguese royal families. Of this family seven hearts were brought to the chapel of the family palace in Munich (built by Klenze and called the Leuchtenberg Palace), i.e. the hearts of Eugene (†1824), his wife Augusta (†1851) and their sons August (†1835) and Maximilian von Leuchtenberg (†1852), and of their daughters Eugenie (†1847), Theodolinde (†1857) and Caroline (†1869). After the palace was destroyed in the Second World War the urns, some of which were magnificent, were brought to a Columbarium not open to the public, next to the royal vault in St. Michael's Church in Munich.
^ Golden heart vessel of the Prince of Leuchtenberg, Eugene Napoleon, in St. Michael's church in Munich (Armin Dietz)