THE Jacobite claim to Scotland's throne has been forever laid to rest, at a quiet German cemetery.

Gathered round the graveside of Prince Albrecht in a monastery south of Munich were representatives of Europe's royalty.

They were there to bid their farewells to the last great pretender.

He might never have sat on a throne but in his time Prince Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria, laid claim to some of the most powerful kingdoms of Europe, including England, Scotland, Ireland, and France.

Prince Albrecht, who died last week aged 91, represented the last living link with the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty's reign which spanned eight centuries.

Their British aspirations were all too real.

Prince Albrecht was representative and heir-general of King Charles I, or the senior descendant of King James VI of Scotland, James I of England, and lineal heir of the Royal House of Stuart, making him the Stuart claimant to the British throne.

Between 1180 and 1918, the Wittelbachs reigned in Bavaria without so much as a hint of opposition.

Their idealistic rulership of a country in peace is evident in the architecture of some of the turreted castles scattered round the countryside. None is more stylised than those designed by Ludwig II, known as the Fairy-tale King, whose 22-year reign in the late 1800s represented the pinnacle of Bavarian progress.

Albrecht had just turned 13 when, in 1918, his grandfather, King Ludwig III, was ousted in what was to be a short-lived communist revolution.

Forced with his family to live in exile in Austria for three years, they returned only to discover that the Weimar Republic was as opposed to a Kingdom of Bavaria as the communists had been.

The Wittelsbach estates were seized, leaving only two castles and a palace in family hands.

Albrecht, a student at Munich University where he studied forestry, was unable to graduate because of his defiance in joining the Nazis.

German troops deported the family to Dachau in 1944, from where they were eventually rescued by American soldiers.

It was in 1946 that they made their final bid to restore the monarchy and, helped by the Roman Catholic Church, monarchists set up the Bavarian Homeland and Royalty Party.

No sooner had it been started than it was outlawed by the occupying US administration but the Wittelbachs never discarded their title.

Crown Prince Rupprecht, Albrecht's father and the son of Ludwig III, was known to have insisted on forcing the family's dubious claims to other royal titles.

Until his death in 1955, Rupprecht, who was a direct descendant of the Stuarts, repeatedly claimed his family were heirs to the titles appropriated by the Windsors as well as the then empty French throne.

A wreath was laid every year by Rupprecht at the foot of the statue of James I in Munich.

Uninterested in his father's foreign rulings, Albrecht, who had inherited the title, became a recluse and spent much of his time fishing and hunting.