About King Ludwig

King Ludwig II. of Bavaria is an exceptional persona of the 19th century

© Bayerische Schl√∂sserverwaltung


Born August 25th, 1845 in Nymphenburg Castle

King of Bavaria 1864-1886

Died June 13th, 1886 in Lake Starnberg


Prince Ludwig

Ludwig s birthday fell on the day of St. Louis or Ludwig IX., King of France and progenitor of the House of Bourbon. Ludwig s godfather and grandfather, Ludwig I. had had Louis XVI. of France as his godfather. Throughout his life this connection to the Royal House of Bourbon remained of great import to the prince.

Prince Ludwig and his brother Otto experienced a strict upbringing with great emphasis on fulfilment of one s duty. The father, Maximilian II. of Bavaria and the mother Marie of Prussia were rather distant.


The Young King

In 1864 Ludwig was crowned king at the tender age of 18: without political or life experience.

He stated in 1873 in retrospect: 'In general, I became king much too soon. I had not learnt enough. I had such a good start, learning constitutional law. Suddenly I was torn away and thrust upon the throne. Well, I continue to attempt to learn

Ludwig II. suffered the most significant defeat of his life in 1866. It was then that the expanding Prussia beat Austria and Bavaria during the German War. As a result, henceforth Prussia dominated Bavaria s foreign affairs and the Bavarian king was nothing more than avassalto his Prussian uncle.


Counter World

The king was haunted by the notion of divine royalty. He was a constitutional monarch, a head of state with rights and obligations andvery little leeway. Consequently, Ludwig created a counter world for himself far removed from his present, where he could embrace life as a true king. Beginning around 1875 he lived during the night and slept during the day.


King Of The Grail

Ludwig II. increasingly identified with Parsifal- the medieval legendary figure who thanks to a life distinguished by purity and faith becomes the king of the grail and the redeemer of his sinful predecessor. Neuschwanstein Castle, originally dedicated to the medieval tradition of minstrels, was newly interpreted as the grail s fortress and the throne room was decorated as the grail s hall - to foster a mystery of deliverance for the salvation of the world.


'The Lonesome One

In the long run, his self-determined 'ideal monarchic poetic lonesomeness could not be reconciled with the duties of a head of state. Likewise, the personal financial resources of the king could not support the continuously new backdrops. Ultimately, he was defeated by his desire to anchor illusion and fantasy in reality.


Foreign banks had been threatening garnishment since 1885. In 1886 the king was declared legally insane and removed from the throne due to the his lack of response to the threats. Ludwig II. was detained at Castle Berg (Starnberg). The following day, he and the psychiatrist who penned the medical insanity certificate lost their lives under mysterious circumstances in Lake Starnberg.