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The king

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The kings life

Until today life history of king Ludwig IITH of Bavaria fascinates many humans in the whole world. The monarch, who hardly went into action with independent policy, ranks with his his romantic dreams, which he let  become reality, among the most unusual personalities in 19th Century.

Very young, at the age of 18 years, the Crown Prince mounted at 10th of March 1864 the Bavarian throne, after his father, king Maximilian II. had surprisingly died with only 53 years. The sympathy of its subjects was certain to him: The young, attractive Ludwig was considered as the most beautiful and from the women mostly demanded king of his time.

Ludwig was born on 25 August 1845 in the castle Nymphenburg in Munich. The Crown Prince did not enjoy however an unencumbered childhood by any means.


He and his around 2 years younger brother Otto should early be accustomed to the burden of royal obligations. Handling other children was forbidden to them and the contact to parents was limited to a minimum. After conviction of aristocratic teachers at that time, a distance from parents should promote the independence of the growing up.

The prince brothers spent a majority of their childhood far from the capital Munich on Hohenschwangau castle in the Allgäu. Separated from parents, educated of sober and correct officials, who were considered above all, to make the Crown Princes with the reality of the world familiar, Ludwig lived however here in an environment far from the large state politics.


A fantastic natural landscape and a castle like out of the middle ages, filled out with romantic wall painting of German fairy tales and hero legends and the pervasive motives of swans, shaped the fantasy and sensitively assessed Ludwig.

Secretly the growing up began to be occupied at night with, which particularly interested him: Theatre, Opernlibretti and literature.


The young Bavaria king governed in one epoch of the change in Europe. In a time of fast industrialization, in which workers fought for their rights and liberties and liberalism and middle class continued to increase, Ludwig found orientation in the past time with the absolutist French Bourbonenkings of the 17. Century. His regency should be celebrated like a religious ritual. Thus for instance, the throne hall of Neuschwanstein castle resembles very much more the inside of a church than the representation room of a lay ruler.


Politics forced him to lead wars, although he wanted to dedicate its life alone to the eternal beauty and truth of the art. Into its regency falls the time of the agreement war against Prussia and later against France as well as the establishment of the German Reich under the emperor power of the Hohenzollern. The defeat of Bavaria in the year 1866 together with Austria against Prussia introduced a loss of souverenity of Bavaria during the establishment of realm four years later. Ludwigs conflict between a life for the artistic world and the obligation of the politics drove him almost to resignation - nevertheless he continued his government.


A very close, personal relationship connected king Ludwig II. to his cousin and Austrian empress Elisabeth, called Sissi. They had many things in common and felt soul related: Ludwig and Sissi gave themselves gladly unorthodox, loved the isolation, hated aristocratic obligation, were education eager and very well read, above all which concerned classical literature. Both were against war and force, had a very self-confident relationship in relation to the church and looked for sincere friendship to humans, who could give them unselfishly a hold. But both  remained disappointments.


Since his youth Ludwig loved the ingenious composer Richard Wagner and its romantic operas. A few weeks after he became king, the Bavarian king got the musician troubled by fears of existence to Munich and did not only free him from his material concerns, but made a so complex life-style possible for him, that he pushed thereby on lack of understanding and refusal both on the part of the Ministers and its people. The king however wanted that the master could dedicate itself without restrictions to his art and implement his sketched works. The premiere of “Tristan and Isolde” in the national theatre in the year 1865, was praised of Ludwig as the perhaps greatest days in the music history of the Bavarian state capital. But due to the objection of the protesting Ministers, Wagner, Ludwig's “dearest friend”, had again to leave Munich in the same year. Thus also this friendship had broken, although the king helped the musician later, to carry out his dream of an own theatre in Bayreuth.

In the coming years Ludwig, from its Ministers often specified as king out of touch with reality, withdrew himself ever more into the fantastic dream worlds of his castles and into savages mountain isolation. In only two decades on the throne, he developed always new and ever bolder plans. Some - e.g. the castle Falkenstein - were not realized. Others became reality and are today admired by visitors from all world:

The Rococo jewel Linderhof castle, Herrenchiemsee castle after the model, built in the French style, of Versailles and fairy tale Neuschwanstein castle.In the royal buildings perpetuated king Ludwig its longing for artistic Paradise. The perfect fitting into landscape of the castles was intended thereby. Neuschwanstein castle for example was sketched by a theatre painter, who could produce the desired raised effect without consideration for style or function.


In opinion of the royal Ministers, the three splendourful and expensive castles should convince the Bavarian people of the irresponsibility of the king. Bavaria, they maintained, could only protected from the financial ruin by his joggle.

Until today millions visitors from the whole world prove the opposite. After Ludwig's death the castles became popular visitor goals in short time. In addition, the large building projects strengthened the remote, structure-weak regions. Also therefore humans admired their king.


Beloved by his people, but hated by his Ministers, Ludwig II. was explained crazy and set off in the year 1886. A few days later, on June 13th, he died in mysteriöse way in the lake of Starnberg. The circumstances of his death give until today reasons for various speculations. Was it an accident, during an escape attempt, a suicide or a murder by his political opponents? The documents of the secret royal archivs, which would know the secret perhaps, are still locked. The legend of the fairy tale king lives on, for Bavaria and for the guests from all of the world.