Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Italian diplomatic passport, 1939
Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Italian diplomatic passport, 1939. Copyright: Bassi Anzola

Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, born Maria Theresa Cristina Amelia on June 6, 1867, was a prominent member of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and a fascinating figure in European royalty. Her life, spanning from the late 19th to the early 20th century, was marked by a combination of traditional royal duties and a commitment to philanthropy and social causes.

In this article, we will explore the life, achievements, and impact of Princess Maria Theresa, shedding light on her role in the history of the Bourbon-Two Sicilies family and her contributions to society, including her connection to the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. And finally, we will display her Italian diplomatic passport from 1939.

Early Life and Royal Lineage (1867-1889) Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Maria Theresa was born into a family with a rich and illustrious history in 1867. She was the second daughter of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies and Queen Maria Theresa of Savoy.

Her lineage can be traced back through various European royal houses, including her connection to the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen through her maternal grandmother, Queen Maria Cristina of the Two Sicilies, who was the daughter of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Queen Maria Carolina of Austria, a Habsburg princess.


Education and Philanthropic Interests

Maria Theresa’s upbringing was marked by a strong emphasis on education and social responsibility. She received a well-rounded education, which included languages, history, and the arts. As she matured, she developed a keen interest in philanthropy and social causes, a passion that would define her adult life. Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Marriage and Family (1889-1923)

In 1889, Maria Theresa married Prince Wilhelm, Duke of Urach, a German nobleman and a member of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. This union brought together two prominent European families and further cemented her position in European royalty.

The couple had six children, and Maria Theresa devoted herself to raising her family with the same dedication and care she applied to her philanthropic work.

Philanthropic Work

Princess Maria Theresa’s commitment to philanthropy was unwavering throughout her life. She established several charitable organizations and foundations, focusing on a wide range of causes, from healthcare to education. Her efforts extended to the welfare of children, the elderly, and the disadvantaged, reflecting her deep empathy for the less fortunate.

She was especially dedicated to improving the lives of women and children, advocating for their rights and access to education.

World War I and Humanitarian Efforts (1914-1918) Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

During World War I, Maria Theresa’s philanthropic spirit shone brightly. The years from 1914 to 1918 were marked by her tireless dedication to providing aid and support to wounded soldiers and refugees. Her efforts earned her the nickname “The Angel of the Soldiers.”

She worked tirelessly in hospitals and organized relief efforts, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to humanity in a time of great crisis.

Legacy and Impact

Princess Maria Theresa’s legacy is one of compassion, dedication, and service to others. Her philanthropic work left a lasting impact on the communities she served. Her contributions to healthcare and education continue to benefit countless individuals to this day.

Furthermore, her advocacy for women’s and children’s rights during the tumultuous years of World War I was ahead of its time and paved the way for future generations to champion these causes.

Summary Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

In conclusion, Princess Maria Theresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies was a remarkable royal figure whose life and legacy spanned significant years from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Her dedication to philanthropy and social causes, especially during World War I, earned her a special place in the hearts of those she helped.

Princess Maria Theresa’s story serves as a testament to the enduring power of compassion, empathy, and the desire to make the world a better place, even in the most challenging times in history. Her marriage to Prince Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen further illustrates her connection to Europe’s royal dynasties, adding another layer to her remarkable life story.

To find her diplomatic passport is very fortunate. Congrats to Bassi Anzola!


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The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

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Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

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"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

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Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

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A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

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During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

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Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

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A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

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Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

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